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Victoria has reported another alarming spike in Covid-19 cases on Friday after the state was rocked 24 hours earlier by a terrifying surge in infections.
In a delayed update, the Department of Health confirmed 1,143 new locally acquired cases and follows a staggering 1,438 on Thursday – a record rise of nearly 500 cases from the previous day.
There were a further three deaths announced on Friday, taking the outbreak's toll to 44.
There were 62,883 tests processed and 34,935 vaccine doses administered at state hubs in the 24 hours to midnight on Thursday.
Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday the huge spike was partly down to "thousands" of partygoers who flouted rules to attend private grand final gatherings.
"Plenty of these cases were completely avoidable," he told reporters.
Yet experts say there are likely other causes, including transmission from last week's construction protests.
Epidemiologist Adrian Esterman, from the University of South Australia, said the combination of the protests and parties will likely push back the predicted date for the peak of the outbreak by up to two weeks.
Victoria's testing chief Jeoren Weimar said cases could now rise to nearly 3000.
He urged anyone who went to any gathering at the weekend to get tested, whether they or their companions are displaying symptoms or not.
Premier addresses lockdown extension concerns
Mr Andrews said the state would continue with its plan to get out of lockdown.
But he added there may need to be a pause if numbers reach an unsustainable level before October 26, when 70 per cent of the eligible population is expected to be fully vaccinated.
To help bring that target and the 80 per cent fully vaccinated benchmark forward, the time between Pfizer vaccine doses will be halved to three weeks in Victoria.
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