Victoria: Covid cases surge to new outbreak record

·News Reporter
·2-min read

Victoria's coronavirus cases have surged to a new outbreak record.

The health department said on Thursday 514 community-transmitted cases of Covid-19 had been recorded with 148 linked to known outbreaks. It's the highest number of cases in Victoria's current outbreak.

No new deaths were recorded. The number of active cases in Victoria is now 4,370.

Residents of one regional Victorian town have joined Melburnians in lockdown, as locals of another are released after snuffing out a Covid-19 outbreak.

With the exception of a curfew, Ballarat residents are waking up under the same restrictions as Melburnians on Thursday after four new cases were detected in the region.

A man is seen walking through the O’Donnell gardens in St Kilda, Melbourne.
A man walks through O’Donnell gardens in St Kilda, Melbourne during lockdown. Victoria has its worst day of the current outbreak on Thursday. Source: AAP

Testing is being ramped up in Ballarat to combat the cluster, while thousands of additional vaccine doses will also be sent to the Victorian gold rush town.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the planned seven-day lockdown would give the city "the best chance of opening up again in the shortest time possible". 

In stark contrast, the city of Shepparton to Melbourne's north has come out of lockdown after a local outbreak of the Delta variant was brought under control.

Despite Victoria reporting its third straight day of cases in the 400s on Wednesday, Professor Sutton said modelling indicated the state's outbreak had not peaked and daily infections could rise to 1000.

"We have to press on with vaccinations at the fastest possible rate," Professor Sutton said.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is pictured.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to reporters. Source: AAP

Melburnians promised more freedoms

The government has pledged to give Melburnians more freedoms, including an extra hour of exercise and an expanded travel limit, once 70 per cent of those eligible have received their first dose.

This was initially forecast to happen on September 23, but the state's soaring vaccination rate has brought the date forward.

Mr Andrews foreshadowed some rules might be relaxed as early as Thursday night but also raised the prospect they could be "rolled into" Sunday's roadmap announcement, which will outline the state's restrictions through to November.

The Australian Medical Association's Victorian branch has urged the government to keep the current restrictions in place until two weeks after 80 per cent of people aged above 12 are fully vaccinated. 

"Covid-19 is putting unprecedented strain on Victoria's health care system and now is not the time to open up," it said in a statement. 

Meanwhile, public transport to and from Melbourne's CBD will be suspended for six hours on Saturday to thwart an anti-lockdown protest.

with AAP

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