Treasurer considers income support for Victorians as more COVID cases reported
An empty Melbourne laneway during the COVID-19 lockdown. Source: Reuters/Sandra Sanders
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  • Victoria recorded three new locally acquired COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the lowest number in more than a week
  • The results come from a record 57,519 test results received
  • Vaccination rates also reached a record in Australia's second most populous state
  • As the lockdown continues, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is considering JobKeeper-style income support for Victorians left without income due to the lockdown
  • The lockdown will continue in Melbourne until June 10, but restrictions may ease in regional Victoria from midnight tonight, depending on health advice

Australia's second-most populous state, Victoria, reported its lowest rise in new COVID-19 cases in more than a week this morning as Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg considers assistance for Victorians left without income.

Victoria reported three new locally acquired cases on Thursday, down from six a day earlier, bringing the total number of infections in the latest outbreak to 63.

The results were detected among 57,519 test results received on Wednesday, a record for the state, as 23,921 vaccination doses were administered at state-run vaccination sites — also a record.

It was announced yesterday that Victoria's snap lockdown will now run until June 10 as health officials scramble to contain the latest outbreak from a highly contagious virus variant first detected in India.

Subject to public health advice, restrictions in regional Victoria will be eased after 11:59 pm tonight, while metropolitan Melbourne will remain in lockdown for another week.

Contact tracers are still trying to identify a number of transmission points in the outbreak, including how the virus jumped from a Wollert man infected in South Australian hotel quarantine on May 4 to early cases in the outbreak.

The infection sources also remain unclear for an Arcare aged care worker and a family of four whose travel to New South Wales resulted in several exposure sites along the Hume Freeway and into New South Wales.

Meanwhile calls are mounting for the reintroduction of a JobKeeper-style scheme or pandemic payments.

After the Morrison Government was criticised for refusing to offer JobKeeper-style support for thousands of casual workers without pay this week, it's been widely reported that Frydenberg has been examining assistance options.

Frydenberg hinted in a Facebook post on Sunday that, if the situation changed, the Federal Government would review its income assistance policy.

Additionally, Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy has revealed in Senate estimates today that Frydenberg had requested advice about the current Victorian lockdown including what assistance the state government has offered.

JobKeeper ended in March after more than $28 million was paid to Victorian employers in wage subsidies.

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