Vic COVID-19 outbreak claims two lives

·3-min read

Victoria's latest COVID-19 outbreak has claimed the lives of two women, with both dying at home.

The health department on Tuesday afternoon announced it had been notified of the deaths of a woman in her 40s from the Darebin local government area and another woman in her 60s from the Hume local government area.

They died at home and are the first COVID-related deaths recorded in Victoria this year, taking the state's overall tally across the pandemic to 822.

The deaths will be included in Wednesday's figures.

It comes as Victorians wait to be given "modest" freedoms based on coronavirus case targets under a state government plan to ease restrictions out of lockdown.

The state is in its fourth week under lockdown six, as it recorded 76 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday.

Premier Daniel Andrews says the government is working with the chief health officer to finalise a "detailed plan", to be released on Wednesday.

It will include thresholds such as reaching a specific number of cases before allowing people more freedom.

But he warns the plan will only outline small changes to the state's current public health restrictions, including "as much economic activity" as possible.

"This will not be freedom day. It will not be an opening-up type day. It will be modest changes that hopefully can be meaningful in people's lives," Mr Andrews said.

The premier said he would sit down with Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton on Tuesday for a "lengthy meeting" to determine how many cases the community can tolerate per day.

"We think there may be a number - that is not zero, but is low - that we can contain," he said.

If Victoria cannot achieve zero cases again, then "it will need to be a low number" before restrictions can be eased.

"If you don't chase zero, you end up with many zeros," he said.

"It cannot be in the hundreds because it won't be in the hundreds for long. It will race and get away from us."

It is the second road map for the state, after a four-step plan to return to normality was unveiled on September 6 last year.

Once Victoria reaches the 80 per cent vaccine target set by national cabinet, Mr Andrews says the national plan will kick in "and we will be much less focused on case numbers".

He says more information on access to the vaccine for Victoria's senior high school students will also be announced on Wednesday.

Following news that Singapore will send half a million Pfizer vaccine doses, he expects Victoria will get one quarter "or slightly more" of those doses after speaking to the prime minister over the weekend.

Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien said the plan should prioritise getting children back in schools, reopening playgrounds and scrapping the curfew.

"The premier has been pursuing this COVID-zero fantasy for weeks and weeks now. He's been keeping us under the harshest lockdown in the country ... chasing a doughnut which is never going to come back," he said.

Whatever the plan is on Wednesday, it will not include crowds at the AFL Grand Final at the MCG, because it was officially moved to Perth on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the number of Victorians in hospital with coronavirus has grown by another three to 52, up from 49 on Monday, with the median age of those hospitalised 49 years.

Sixteen are in intensive care, with 15 on a ventilator.

Up to 40 of the 76 new cases were infectious while in the community, and the source of 31 cases is under investigation.

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