Victoria’s Covid cases surge to disturbing new record

  • Victoria records 2297 new coronavirus cases, 11 deaths

  • Victoria considers re-opening ahead of schedule

Victoria's coronavirus cases have surged as the state considers re-opening early.

The health department recorded 2297 new cases of Covid-19 and 11 deaths on Thursday.

The state recorded 1571 new locally acquired infections and 13 deaths on Wednesday, the state's deadliest day of its third wave. There were hopes Victoria's case numbers were beginning to fall.

But Thursday's total is a national record suggesting numbers in Victoria may not have peaked.

People are seen crossing a quiet Flinders Street in Melbourne, Australia. Source: Getty Images
Victoria's Covid cases have surged to a new high. Source: Getty Images

Earlier, epidemiology chair at Deakin University Professor Catherine Bennett said the state was starting to see a turnaround in its daily number of new infections.

Before more than 1500 infections announced on Wednesday, Tuesday's total was 1466. Dr Bennett said it was believed numbers were declining.

"Yesterday we celebrated our first day with that reproductive number under one, which is great to see that, so we are expecting to see our case numbers drop over the next little while," Dr Bennett told the Nine Network.

"The trouble is, I suppose, whether we are going to get below 1000".

'Geez, that's a huge jump'

The huge spike prompted a shock response from ABC host Joe O'Brien on live TV.

"That's a huge increase on yesterday," a stunned O'Brien said as the numbers were announced.

"There had been a slight increase yesterday but geez, that's a huge jump up into the 2,200 - nearly 2,300 new cases.

"And 11 more deaths in the latest reporting period. Gee, that's a bit of a shock to have that number of cases in Victoria and very sad to report 11 more deaths."

Victoria considers re-opening ahead of schedule

Victoria's health boss is open to throwing off the shackles of Melbourne's Covid-19 lockdown before next weekend and possibly jettisoning a ban on home visits.

The state is on pace to reach its 70 per cent double vaccination target ahead of the indicative date of October 26, triggering the end of Melbourne's long-running sixth lockdown.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton confirmed a decision could be announced as early as this weekend based on firmer vaccination projections as well as intensive care and hospital case numbers.

Under the state's Covid-19 roadmap, home visits were set to be banned until 80 per cent of its 16-plus population received both vaccine doses.

But Professor Sutton said he was open to tweaking home gathering restrictions at the 70 per cent mark.

"We've always said, if we can do more, we will do more," he told ABC Radio on Wednesday afternoon.

"We're acutely aware of home gatherings leading to spikes and that was definitely a feature of (the AFL) grand final. They were people that didn't normally come together.

"It's different for families. If we can limit numbers, if we think the epidemiology looks okay, (I'm) absolutely open to that as well."

with AAP

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