Victoria cases on track for 'COVID normal'

Metropolitan Melbourne's 14-day average of coronavirus cases is down to 36.2.
Metropolitan Melbourne's 14-day average of coronavirus cases is down to 36.2.

New coronavirus cases in Victoria have fallen to their lowest level since the start of the second wave, with Premier Daniel Andrews declaring the result a "cause for great optimism".

Victoria reported just 14 new infections on Sunday along with a further five deaths, taking the Victorian toll to 761 and the national count to 849.

Importantly, the 14 cases - the smallest number since June 19 - also pushed Metropolitan Melbourne's 14-day average down to 36.2, well below the state's target of 50 to lift some virus restrictions later this month.

"That is proof positive beyond any question that this strategy is working," Mr Andrews said on Sunday.

"Ultimately these numbers are a cause for great optimism and positivity right across metropolitan Melbourne."

The latest figures revealed no new virus cases in regional Victoria where the 14-day rolling average is now down to just 1.8 cases.

There are only 26 active infections across regional areas while the number of active cases in Melbourne has fallen to 743.

Mr Andrews said the path towards lifting virus restrictions would be constantly reviewed based on the latest data and the level of virus in the community.

But he said the science remained clear that a "safe and steady" approach to lock-in low numbers was the state's best chance to bring the second wave under control.

"There's no good opening up too early. There's no good letting our frustrations get the better of us," he said.

"All that will mean is that everything metropolitan Melbourne has given, everything that everyone has done to produce these low, but still not low enough, numbers will count for nothing.

"Because we'll be open, yes, but not open for very long."

The next phase of Melbourne's roadmap out of lockdown is from September 28 when some on-site work will return, child care will reopen and some school students will be allowed back into the classroom.

People will be able to meet outdoors for up to two hours with members of one other household, though the five-kilometre travel limit will remain.

On Sunday, the state government also announced $13 million in grants to more than 100 live music venues to help support on-stage and backstage jobs during the pandemic.

Creative Industries Minister Martin Foley said the grants would support closed venues to cover urgent overheads and to put COVID-19 safety measures in place.

They will also assist venues to reopen and host events when it is safe to do so, providing employment for artists, promoters, technicians and other workers.

"This support will protect our grassroots venues, save jobs and music businesses, and keep local music playing well beyond this pandemic," Mr Foley said on Sunday.

But Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien said the funding was "just a drop in the bucket".

"It's really not going to be enough to help those live music venues to survive," he said.

"We used to be the entertainment capital of the country but that status is very much at risk."

Meanwhile, there were a further two arrests and six fines on Sunday as anti-lockdown protests continued in Melbourne.

More than a dozen protesters illegally gathered at Chadstone Shopping Centre and belted out a rendition of John Farnham's You're The Voice before police intervened.

It followed up to 100 people rallying in Melbourne's inner beachside suburb of Elwood on Saturday, with 16 arrested and 21 slapped with hefty fines.

Australian Associated Press