Victorian Covid outbreak explodes to 176 new cases as Dan Andrews unveils roadmap to get out of lockdown
Victoria’s dramatic rise in Covid infections reached new heights with 176 new cases registered just as Dan Andrews stops eliminating the virus.
The state’s massive 120 spike on Wednesday marks the most new cases it has recorded in a day since August 19 last year during the deadly second wave.
Only 83 cases have so far been linked to the rest of the outbreak, with a 2021 record 93 still being chased by overwhelmed contact tracers.
They were diagnosed on the basis of 48,372 tests and 33,720 doses of vaccine were administered on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Andrews finally admitted on Wednesday that Victoria would never reduce the outbreak to zero cases and joined NSW in relying on the vaccine.
He announced a roadmap to get out of lockdown that will liberate regional Victoria next week, but Melbourne won’t see any significant relief until September 23.
Playgrounds are finally reopening for long-suffering Victorians in their sixth lockdown, but nighttime curfews and mask-wearing are here to stay.
Many more restrictions will be eased once 70 percent of Victorians have had their first jab, including reopening state parks and outdoor gyms and construction sites to operate at 50 percent capacity.
Up to three hours of exercise is also allowed, while the dreaded 5km travel radius is doubled once the milestone is reached.
That goal is expected to be met in the next three weeks as a vaccination blitz for 12th-year students increases.
The curfew will remain in effect and Melburnians will remain in lockdown until at least September 23, which can be extended for another month until at least 70 percent of the state is fully vaccinated.
Victorians can look forward to relaxed restrictions in the coming weeks, despite 120 new cases on Wednesday (pictured woman in Melbourne)
“These will be the institutions we will all have to live with for a while until we reach not only the vaccination thresholds for the first dose, but also the vaccination thresholds for the second dose, as set out in the National Cabinet Plan,” Mr Andrews said on Wednesday.
“That’s the difficult but inevitable position we find ourselves in.”
Much of regional Victoria, with the exception of Shepparton, could be lifted from lockdown as early as next week.
Playgrounds will reopen on Friday for children under 12 with only one parent or guardian, and adults are not allowed to remove their masks to eat or drink.
Playgrounds will also have QR codes to check in.
Home care, such as babysitters and nannies, is expanded to include school-aged children, but only if both parents are authorized workers.
The five essential reasons to stay at home – grocery shopping for food and supplies, authorized work and study, care and informal care, exercise and vaccinations remain in effect.
The state’s dreaded 5km travel radius will be expanded to 10km and outdoor sports will be increased to three hours once 70 percent of eligible Victorians have had their first dose.
Outdoor recreation parks such as skate parks and gyms will reopen at that stage, while personal trainers will be allowed to exercise with two other people.
Playgrounds will reopen in Victoria from Friday, but strict rules remain (pictured closed playground in Melbourne)
Construction sites will be able to operate at 50 percent of capacity once 90 percent of workers have had the shot.
Private viewings of vacant homes for sale or rent are also permitted.
Only one household may be in the property at a time and the real estate agent must remain outside during the inspection.
Up to five employees can work on-site at entertainment venues to broadcast performances.
12th grade students, teachers and examiners will have priority booking from state-run clinics between September 7 and 17.
They must make an appointment online prior to their appointment.
The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education work directly with schools, and students and parents are advised on how to arrange a booking through their school.
Face-to-face learning in schools would not return this semester with a “detailed plan” for what the final semester will look like next week.
More restrictions are expected to be eased later in September (pictured Melburnians training in St Kilda)
Outdoor gyms (photo) in Victoria are expected to reopen later in September
Of the 120 new cases reported Wednesday, 64 have been linked to existing virus outbreaks, leaving 56 potential mystery cases.
Only 20 were in isolation for their entire contagious period.
The last time Victoria’s case number exceeded 100 was on September 2nd last year.
Two women, aged between 40 and 60, are also the state’s first COVID-19 victims this year and died in their homes on Tuesday.
With the number of cases and percentage of people not isolated as the infection continues to rise, most of the current restrictions will remain in place until about September 23, when 70 percent of the eligible population is expected to have received the first dose of vaccine. .
Of the 900 active cases in Victoria, 58 are in hospital, 21 of which are in intensive care and 14 on a ventilator.
Year 12 students like Padua and Lucca Beaves (pictured) will soon get priority booking for their Covid vaccine
Everything you need to know about Victoria’s latest restrictions
Thursday (September 2, 11:59 PM)
* Playgrounds will open again, but strict rules will continue to apply. Children under 12 must only be supervised by one adult/guardian who must wear a mask.
*Home carers, such as babysitters and nannies, are extended to include school-age children, but only if both parents are authorized employees.
The following restrictions will be eased once 70 percent of Victorians have had their first dose, expected on September 23
*Training limit is extended from two hours to three
*The radius of 5 km from leaving the house is extended to 10 km
*Outdoor recreation parks such as skate parks and gyms are reopening
* Private inspections of vacant properties for sale or rent are permitted. Only one household may be in the property at a time and the broker must remain outside during the inspection
*Construction sites can operate at 50 percent capacity once 90 percent of workers have received their first dose