A 15-year-old girl is among Victoria's latest COVID-19 deaths

It comes as the state government comes under fire over a COVID-19 restriction "anomaly" that will let fully vaccinated people from NSW travel across the state before Melbourne residents.

Victorian COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar speaks to the media during a press conference in Melbourne.

Victorian COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar speaks to the media during a press conference in Melbourne. Source: AAP

A 15-year-old girl is among seven new coronavirus-related deaths in Victoria, authorities have revealed, as the state reports 1,993 new locally acquired cases.

Victoria's COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar on Saturday said the girl had "a number of conditions" when she died but had also tested positive for coronavirus.

"That is a sad and tragic case," he told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday.

"We won't be making any more comments on her but we will send our best wishes to her family and the family of all those who have lost their lives with COVID, particularly in the last 24 hours."

The other deaths reported on Friday included a man in his 80s and woman in her 60s from the Darebin local government area, a woman in her 70s from Whittlesea, a man in his 80s from Moonee Valley, a woman in her 60s from Casey, and a man in his 50s from Hume.

They bring Victoria's death toll during the current outbreak to 138.

Friday’s 1,993 cases came from a total of 79,214 test results and marks a decrease from the 2,179 new infections found on Thursday.

Around a third of the new cases - 642 - were in Melbourne's western suburbs, while 602 were detected in the city's southeast.

Another 457 cases were recorded in Melbourne's northern suburbs, and 111 in the city's east.

Some 168 cases were detected across regional Victoria, including 16 in locked-down Mildura in the state's northwest.

Victoria is now managing more than 21,600 active cases. 

People are seen crossing Bourke Street in Melbourne.
People are seen crossing Bourke Street in Melbourne. Source: AAP

There has been a "significant jump" in coronavirus-related hospitalisations in Victoria in the past 24 hours, Mr Weimar said.

There are 798 people with COVID-19 in hospital, of which 163 are in intensive care and 106 are on a ventilator.

"If I look at the increase today in hospital admissions, about 100 more than this time yesterday, and we put that down to the significant rise in numbers we saw a week or 10 days ago, that is typically how long it takes for the numbers to feed through," Mr Weimar said.

"There is a huge amount of work going [into preparing] the hospital system for the growing caseload, the caseload that we expect to see in the weeks ahead."

He said more than 89 per cent of those hospitalised were not fully vaccinated.

Restrictions 'anomaly' criticised

Meanwhile, the Victorian government has been criticised over a COVID-19 restriction "anomaly" that will let fully vaccinated people from NSW travel across the state before Melbourne residents.

Doubled-dosed Victorians and non-residents from "red zones" such as Greater Sydney will be able to enter Victoria without quarantining for 14 days from 11.59pm on 19 October. They must still return a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours before arrival in Victoria, and then isolate, get tested again within 72 hours and remain in isolation until they receive a negative result.

Fully vaccinated travellers from "orange zones" will also no longer be required to get tested or isolate upon arrival.

The permit changes, which do not apply to unvaccinated or partially vaccinated people, open the door for Victorians to reunite with family and friends from NSW weeks before those in the state's regions.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who represents the Victorian seat of Kooyong, said the rules don't make sense.

"We have this ludicrous and unacceptable situation where somebody in Sydney can travel nearly a thousand kilometres to Victoria and go to the pub in Lorne, whereas someone in Melbourne can't even go and visit their family in the same place," he told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday.

"Victorians are scratching their heads, saying 'Why not us? Why can't we get these same freedoms as the people of New South Wales?'"

Melburnians are currently subject to a 15 kilometre travel limit, which will expand to 25 kilometres when 70 per cent of people aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated, and regional travel is banned until it hits 80 per cent coverage under the state's roadmap.

Mr Weimar said the main motivation behind the change in border restrictions was to get Victorians who've been stuck in NSW home more easily.

"We've had a long time where it's been very hard for Victorians who've been in New South Wales for many months to come back," Mr Weimar said.

"I think the Chief Health Officer's reflected on that and revised those conditions so that we don't need to go through the full complexity, recognising that anybody who's coming back into the state has to be double vaccinated, has to have tested negative."

"So at the point at which they come in, they present no greater threat than the rest of us do with the level of cases we have circulating in Melbourne at the moment."

The curfew in Melbourne will also lift at 70 per cent double dose vaccination, outdoor retail and hospitality will be able to reopen, and up to 10 fully vaccinated people will be able to meet outdoors.

In regional areas not subject to lockdown, the limit on fully vaccinated people able to meet outdoors will rise to 20 and the number of fully vaccinated people allowed to dine both indoors and outdoors at hospitality venues will also increase.

The latest data shows 88.5 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 64.3 per cent are fully inoculated.

Premier Daniel Andrews is expected on Sunday to announce the exact date Melbourne's sixth lockdown will lift, with the state projected to hit 70 per cent full vaccination ahead of schedule next week.

With AAP

6 min read
Published 16 October 2021 at 9:03am
By Amy Hall
Source: SBS News