Victoria to allow more outdoor gatherings as state reports 514 new COVID-19 cases

The 514 new COVID-19 cases is Victoria's highest daily tally since the peak of its 2020 second wave.

People are seen exercising in St Kilda, Melbourne, Monday, September 13, 202

People are seen exercising in St Kilda, Melbourne, Monday, September 13, 2021 Source: AAP

Victorians will be able to gather outdoors in small groups from this weekend as part of the state's latest easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Thursday announced the easing of restrictions for metropolitan Melbourne and Ballarat, given the state is set to reach its 70 per cent first dose vaccination target on Friday.

Under the changes from 11.59pm on Friday, two people from different households may meet for a picnic, a walk, or another outdoor activity.

For those who are fully vaccinated, five adults from two households plus their dependents will be able to gather outdoors.

People will be able to exercise for an extra two hours, the travel limit will be expanded from five kilometres to 10, outdoor gym equipment and skate parks will reopen, and personal training will be allowed for two people.

In addition, the state government has moved to make it compulsory for construction site workers to have had their first vaccination dose from 11.59pm next Thursday, after widespread transmission across the industry.

They will also be banned from crossing back and forth over the regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne boundary for work.

"This is what we must do to try and limit the number of cases," Mr Andrews told reporters.

Victoria eases restrictions after first dose rate hits 70 per cent

"I don't want to see with a situation where there are more Ballarats and Shepparton. Albury, for instance, the NSW government has had to have a lockdown there."

The government's roadmap out of lockdown, outlining the state's restrictions through to November, will be released on Sunday.

It comes as Victoria recorded 514 new locally-acquired cases on Thursday, with 148 infections linked to existing outbreaks and the source of 366 still under investigation.

It is the state's highest daily tally since the peak of the state's second wave in August 2020 and the new infections bring the total number of active cases in the current outbreak to 4370.

There are 182 people in hospital, with 51 in intensive care and 29 of those on ventilators.

The Australian Medical Association's Victorian branch has said it is "reckless" for restrictions to ease until two weeks after 80 per cent of people over 12 are fully vaccinated.

"COVID-19 is putting unprecedented strain on Victoria's healthcare system and now is not the time to open up," Victorian AMA President Dr Roderick McRae said in a statement.

"AMA Victoria understands the implications of its policy but there are no simple solutions related to the management of COVID-19.

"This is simply the least bad option."


Share
Published 16 September 2021 at 6:12am, updated 16 September 2021 at 2:08pm
Source: AAP - SBS