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Victoria's Covid crisis rapidly accelerated again on Thursday with a further 176 new local cases.
It follows 120 cases on Wednesday and sees a big jump in daily infections by 100 in just 48 hours.
The Department of Health confirmed 93 of the latest cases are at this stage unlinked to previous cases. The state now has more than 1000 active cases.
On Wednesday Premier Daniel Andrews admitted Victoria could no longer pursue a Covid-zero strategy as daily cases surpassed 100 for the first time in a year.
Revealing elements of Victoria's roadmap out of lockdown, Mr Andrews told Melburnians they will have to wait for 70 per cent first-dose vaccine coverage - expected on September 23 - for significant easing.
Yet Melbourne newspaper The Age lashed out with a scathing editorial warning the state "can no longer live like this" and called on the premier to give further freedoms to those fully vaccinated.
"Wednesday’s announced “easing” was a harsh and cruel blow," it said.
"The Age is not arguing that we should throw out restrictions, but instead that we need to work out those that could be lifted at minimal risk to health but with maximum benefit to Victorians."
On Wednesday, University of Melbourne epidemiologist Tony Blakely predicted Victoria's daily cases could reach 2000 by October.
The only immediate easing Mr Andrews delivered to Victorians will be the scrapping of the controversial playground ban from midnight tonight.
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