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Victoria records 705 new COVID-19 cases and one death as residents await eased restrictions

Victoria has reported 705 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and one death, bringing the number of active cases in the state to 8,538.

The number is down slightly from the 779 cases reported on Sunday, when authorities also announced two further deaths.

Restrictions, including a return to golf and tennis, will ease slightly across the state on Wednesday, with Victoria expected to pass 80 per cent single dose vaccination coverage on Tuesday.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday that while the changes were “modest”, the state is getting closer to the end of lockdown.

Residents of locked down areas will be able to travel 15km from home, up from 10, while patron caps in regional venues will increase from 20 to 30.

There was also good news for the city of Geelong, which will be released from lockdown at midnight, despite the diagnosis of six new cases on Saturday.

All cases were linked.

A series of “vaccinated economy” trials were also announced on Sunday, to begin across some regional Victorian businesses from 11 October.

Select businesses in Buloke, Pyrenees, Bass Coast, Bendigo, East Gippsland and Warrnambool will test systems in the fortnight before Victoria is due to hit the 70 per cent double dose vaccination mark.

The 20 trial sites will be selected based on vaccination rates and case numbers.

Among the issues to be explored during the trials are vaccine status verification and how to help businesses safely deal with aggressive customers who are denied service.

V/Line train services return to a full timetable for all services on all lines on Monday after a COVID-19 outbreak that limited services and saw buses replace trains on some lines.

More than 77 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over have now had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while more than 47 per cent have had two doses.