Victoria to emerge from lockdown this week as state records 1,838 new COVID-19 cases

Victoria will end its sixth long-running lockdown five days earlier than planned, as the state races to its 70 per cent fully vaccinated target.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to the media outside Parliament House in Melbourne

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to the media outside Parliament House in Melbourne Source: AAP

Victorians will emerge from lockdown at midnight on Thursday when the state is expected to have reached the 70 per cent double dose COVID-19 vaccination target.

The state announced 1,838 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and seven deaths on Sunday, with 88.05 per cent of Victoria's over-16 population having had one vaccine dose and 65.02 per cent both.

Voicing his pride on Sunday of the five million Victorians who have had at least one vaccine dose, Premier Daniel Andrews said there will be no more restrictions on double-vaccinated Melburnians leaving their home, no more curfew, and no travel limit within metropolitan Melbourne from midnight on Thursday.

However, people in Melbourne will still not be able to visit regional Victoria.

Under the new roadmap, people will be able to welcome 10 people to their home per day, including children, provided everyone aged 12 and above is fully vaccinated.

As many as 15 fully vaccinated people can gather outside.

Indoor venues will be able to welcome 20 people inside and 50 outside, according to density limits.

From 11:59pm Thursday in regional Victoria, people will also be able to welcome 10 people to their home, including children, provided everyone 12 or above is vaccinated. Indoor venues will be able to welcome 30 fully vaccinated people, while outdoor settings will be able to host 100 people.

All students in Melbourne and regional Victoria will return to school on Friday 22 October.

"I could not be more proud of our community coming forward, making these decisions to protect themselves, to protect the people they love, and to protect all of us against this global pandemic," Mr Andrews said on Sunday.

"Today is a great day. Today is a day when Victorians can be proud of what they have achieved."

The expected hitting of the 70 per cent milestone comes four days ahead of schedule thanks to soaring second-dose rates.

The premier said he also expects Victoria to reach its 80 per cent double dose vaccination target earlier than expected, on around 2 November.

"We are predicting that we will be able to get to 80 per cent double dose on or about Melbourne Cup Day. It could even be a few days before then," he said.

At the 80 per cent mark, Mr Andrews said he intended to deliver the roadmap as previously outlined.

This week's easing of restrictions was possible and brought forward because of high levels of vaccinations, which means fewer positive cases will be hospitalised, he said.

There are 777 people currently in hospital, with 151 in intensive care and 94 are on a ventilator.

Approximately 90 per cent of those in hospital and 97 per cent of those in intensive care were not fully vaccinated, Mr Andrews said.

"Nothing tells the story of the power and the protection of vaccination more than those stats," he said.

"And they are not numbers, they are people that are very, very unwell. Some of whom are gravely unwell, gasping for air, they are not vaccinated, not fully vaccinated, almost all of them."

It was revealed on Saturday had become the youngest victim of Victoria's third wave.

Police also squashed another would-be anti-lockdown, anti-vaccine protest in Melbourne on Saturday.

Officers significantly outnumbered the wannabe demonstrators, several of whom were arrested as they attempted to gather at Princes Park in Carlton North.

Organisers flagged other meeting locations using an encrypted social media channel before calling it quits.

With AAP.

4 min read
Published 17 October 2021 at 9:01am
By Caroline Riches
Source: SBS News