DIGEST

The Informer: A downward trend, a cold front and a covering of snow

From left: Barrington Tops, masks in Melbourne, and Mt Taylor. Photos: Mick Daunt, file and Jack Gane.
From left: Barrington Tops, masks in Melbourne, and Mt Taylor. Photos: Mick Daunt, file and Jack Gane.

Halfway through a six-week lockdown, Victoria looks to be making good progress on bringing its second deadly coronavirus wave under control.

The state recorded 182 new cases on Saturday, Thirteen deaths were also announced, bringing the national toll to 398. More than 480 have died nationally.

"Masks will need to be part and parcel of our lives for some time after stage four [restrictions]," Victorian chief health officer Dr Brett Sutton said.

The downward trend in daily infections has been welcomed, but restrictions would remain in the state until community transmission has been stopped.

"If we've got no community transmission whatsoever, then I'm not going to be recommending masks beyond that ... if we can get there," Dr Sutton said. "There are other levels that we can get to where maybe we don't require masks in all settings at all times, in the way that it's recommended at the moment."

But across the south-eastern part of Australia on Saturday, it was easy to stay in and remain socially distanced, with a cold front bringing snow and biting winds.

In Victoria, snow fell as low as Beechworth, with roofs, roads and gardens dusted with white powder.

There was also plenty in NSW's central west, with Bathurst among the places waking to a winter wonderland.

Some select suburbs of Canberra also got a dusting, as the city was on track for its coldest day in four years.

A vigorous cold front across NSW crossing the state on Saturday was driving the cold weather, following several cold fronts through the week, Bureau of Meteorologist forecaster Rebecca Boettger said.

"This is the final hurrah, if you like. This is the last one to come through, it's driving the coldest weather," Ms Boettger said.

In circumstances all too familiar to Australians, the US state is grappling with more than 560 blazes while nearly 12,000 lightning strikes have sparked fires.

Hannah Wilson-James told The San Francisco Chronicle her family had lost three houses on a property they had owned for 100 years in the Santa Cruz mountains.

"This is climate change and the escalation of what we always knew would be happening," Ms Wilson-James said. "It's apocalyptic, but we have to be prepared."

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