Vic govt working on way out of lockdown

·3-min read

The Victorian government is under pressure to release Melbourne's roadmap out of lockdown, as the state recorded 334 new locally-acquired COVID-19 cases and another death.

It is the highest daily tally of the outbreak to date, with 149 cases linked to known outbreaks and the source of the remaining 185 infections under investigation.

COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar confirmed the fatality was a Coburg man in his 70s, who died in hospital. He was not vaccinated.

It is the fourth death from the latest outbreak and takes the state toll to 824.

Melbourne's northern and western suburbs continue to drive the outbreak, with 190 and 109 of Friday's cases respectively. More than half of the state's vaccine allocation is being sent to the suburbs.

Mr Weimar said the state was well on its way to vaccinating 70 per cent of eligible people with at least one dose by September 23.

"We'll smash that by quite a few days," he said, noting almost 64 per cent of Victorians have already had their first jab.

At that point, residents will get an extra hour of outdoor activity and the five-kilometre travel radius will expand to 10km.

There is no indication, however, of what freedoms will be permitted when 70 and 80 per cent of Victorians are double-vaccinated.

NSW on Thursday released its plan out of lockdown, which involves retail and hospitality opening to fully-vaccinated people as soon as mid-October.

Victorian Roads Minister Ben Carroll, who fronted the daily coronavirus update on Friday, said the government was hard at work on its own plan.

"It's very important to get these decisions right. It can cost lives," he told reporters.

"We want to make sure that Victorians get vaccinated and that we come out safely. That's what the premier and lead ministers are focused on."

Mr Weimar said the current restrictions were stopping Melbourne from reaching the caseload seen in NSW.

"If we drop our heads and say 'well that's it, it's all too hard, just let go', then we will be in an even more dramatic situation than our neighbours in NSW," he said.

"We have it within us, if we grip this up, stick with those directions, stick with those difficult things we're being asked to do for a relatively short period of time."

Premier Daniel Andrews on Thursday said the government was awaiting detailed modelling from the Burnett Institute before releasing its plans.

The modelling will forecast the Victorian outbreak's peak and how the healthcare system will need to respond.

The opposition and businesses leaders have called for Victoria to emulate the NSW plan.

There has, however, been some reprieve for regional Victoria, which emerged from lockdown on Friday with the exception of Greater Shepparton.

Meanwhile, Victoria Police have now issued almost $60,000 in fines to 11 people who attended a gathering in Melbourne's inner south this week to celebrate the Jewish New Year.

A 72-year-old St Kilda man has also been charged after allegedly assaulting a news cameraman outside the Ripponlea property.

Police said they plan to issue fines to "all adults who attended the illegal gathering".

There are 2426 active cases in the state, 127 of which are in hospital, an increase of 16 since Thursday.

A V-Line trainee train driver is among the cases, with more than 100 other staff forced into isolation after being deemed close contacts, disrupting 100 services on Friday.

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