Victoria's Covid cases bounce again after week of protests

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·News Reporter
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Victoria’s coronavirus cases have jumped following a week of protests as the state government proposed a pandemic bill.

The health department reported 1,275 new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday morning – a slight jump from the 1,166 on Saturday and on par with the 1,273 cases announced on Friday.

Another four people have died with Covid in the state while 56 remain in the intensive care unit. More than 89 per cent of Victorian residents over 12 are fully vaccinated.

It comes after Victoria recorded the nation's youngest Covid death with the health department revealing Saturday a child under the age of 10 had died with the virus

People hold up placards during a rally against Covid-19 lockdown and vaccination measures in Melbourne.
Demonstrators protest vaccination measures in Melbourne on Saturday. Source: Getty Images

On Saturday, thousands of demonstrators marched from Victoria's parliament before midday and walked to Flagstaff Gardens.

The demonstrators loosely comprised groups who oppose the Covid-19 vaccines, vaccination mandates and the state's proposed pandemic laws.

The Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Pandemic Management) Bill, which gives the premier and health minister the power to declare a pandemic and issue health orders, has become a lightning rod for anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination groups.

Watched on by police, they chanted "kill the bill" and yelled "sack Dan Andrews" while carrying placards featuring a range of anti-government and anti-vaccine mandate slogans.

People hold up placards during a rally against Covid-19 lockdown and vaccination measures in Melbourne.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has been in the crosshairs of many anti-lockdown protesters. Source: Getty Images

The crowd grew to several thousand at the gardens, where a band played John Farnham's You're the Voice.

In a statement on Saturday night, Victoria Police said they responded to protest activity but "despite significant numbers in attendance, the protest was peaceful with only one arrest made".

It was one of many protests attended in Melbourne last week including one on Monday night which saw demonstrators carrying a gallows.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who's been the target of many protesters throughout the pandemic, called them "a small, ugly mob".

"I wouldn't want the appalling, the disgusting and the potentially criminal behaviour of a small number of people to detract away from the amazing job that so many Victorians have done," he said.

Mr Andrews butted heads with Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week over protesters and the pandemic bill.

The PM called for state premiers to allow people to "move forward" — whether they were vaccinated or not — and drop vaccine mandates once 80 per cent of the eligible population were fully vaccinated.

“Over the last couple of years, governments have been telling Australians what to do,” Mr Morrison said.

“Now there has been a need for that as we have gone through the pandemic, but the time is now to start rolling all of that back."

However, the PM did condemn the behaviour of protesters using "threats and intimidation" in their messaging.

with AAP

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