Victoria's COVID-19 case decline continues

·3-min read

Victoria's daily COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalisations are continuing to fall as the state's next vaccination milestone edges closer.

Another 860 coronavirus infections and five deaths were reported in the state on Monday.

It is the second consecutive day case numbers have dropped after 905 cases were reported on Sunday - more than 300 fewer than the previous day's tally.

The number of Victorians in hospital with the virus has dropped by 16 to 378, with 78 patients in ICU actively infected with COVID-19 and 48 on ventilators.

The seven-day hospitalisation average has also declined, dropping to 444 on Monday.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 vaccination rates are steadily climbing towards 90 per cent, with 87.3 per cent of over-12s fully vaccinated and 93.1 per cent single-dosed.

Once the 90 per cent mark is reached, predicted by November 24, Victorians are promised a return to normality with patron caps removed and masks only required on public transport and in high risk settings.

Deadlines requiring construction and residential aged care workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have both passed, while one million essential workers must have received two doses by November 26.

The state government has announced $2.5 million will go to helping vulnerable or disadvantaged Victorians get vaccinated, which will include arranging childcare to allow more parents to attend vaccine appointments.

Meanwhile, young children who become primary close contacts will be allowed to return to childcare after seven days, as long as they perform a rapid COVID-19 tests for 14 days.

From Monday, eligible kindergartens and long daycare services are invited to opt into a free rapid antigen testing program to receive at-home kits for children identified as primary close contacts.

This will halve quarantine for those children to seven days, with kids allowed to return to early childhood services after quarantine if they test negative to COVID-19 in a PCR test on day six.

They must then return negative rapid antigen tests each day they attend a childcare service, from days eight to 14, with families required to report the test results to their provider in the morning.

It comes as Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton criticised the national cabinet COVID-19 roadmap for failing to mention the pandemic's "recovery phase".

"Disappointingly, the (national cabinet) roadmap includes no explicit recovery phase... as if we could all soon heave a sigh of relief and simply move on," Professor Sutton and health economist Stephen Duckett wrote in the Medical Journal of Australia.

A recovery phase would include planning for workforce responses, preparations for worker burnout and lessons learned from the pandemic across governments and health systems to discover "what went well, what went badly", they said.

Prof Sutton and Dr Duckett called for the federal government to share in the pandemic's health costs and said decision makers should spend early 2022 "assessing and developing strategies" to respond to problems brought on by the pandemic.

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