Victoria's Covid cases plummet to 4-week low as new freedoms arrive

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·News Reporter
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Victoria has reported 1355 locally acquired Covid-19 cases as the state wakes to its first morning of further-eased restrictions.

The Department of Health announced a further 11 deaths on Saturday morning, taking the Delta outbreak's death toll to 293.

Saturday's case total is the lowest since October 3 and nearly 1000 cases lower than the state's highest peak on October 14 just over two weeks ago.

From 6pm on Friday, Melburnians were allowed to leave the city into the regions and vice versa while masks are no longer needed outdoors.

Premier Daniel Andrews has defended his state's roadmap out of lockdown amid criticism from the federal government. Source: AAP
Premier Daniel Andrews has eased restrictions ahead of hitting the 80 per cent double dose target. Source: AAP

Indoor entertainment venues, gyms and retail can reopen for fully vaccinated patrons, and capacity limits have increased for restaurants, pubs and cafes.

The move came despite the state not yet hitting its 80 per cent double dose target, which is expected this weekend.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton called Friday a "very bright day".

Professor Sutton said the state was on track to be among the "top five" vaccinated jurisdictions in the world ahead of Israel and the US.

Saturday marks the last time health authorities will offer a daily Covid press conference with updates to be provided online instead. 

Premier Daniel Andrews' long stint of consecutive press conferences during Victoria's daunting second wave in 2020 became synonymous with the state's pandemic response and his briefings during Delta have been a key part of many Victorians' days in recent months.

Of eligible people aged 16 and above, 79 per cent have had two vaccine doses as of Saturday.

There were 68,484 tests reported in the previous 24-hour reporting period.

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