Australia’s COVID-19 death toll surpasses 800

Signs in store window advertise that they are closing in Sydney, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. Australia's economy has suffered its sharpest quarterly drop since the Great Depression because of the pandemic, with data released on Wednesday confirming the country is experiencing its first recession in 28 years. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

SYDNEY (AP) — Australia’s COVID-19 death toll has surpassed 800 after Victoria state reported six more deaths on Saturday and prepared to ease some of the tough restrictions.

Victoria, the hardest-hit by a viral resurgence in the country, also reported 37 more cases in the past 24 hours. The national death toll stands at 803, with 716 of those in Victoria.

It was Victoria’s ninth consecutive day of fewer than triple-digit cases, meaning some areas of the state can move closer to easing restrictions on travel and lifestyle.

State Premier Daniel Andrews says “we are poised to be able to take not just one, but potentially two, steps as early as next week.”

About 5 million Melbourne residents remain subject to a lockdown curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.