There was two Covid-related deaths on Sunday, the Victorian health department has confirmed with four people aged in their 20s currently battling the virus in ICU.
Premier Dan Andrews announced Victoria would hit its first vaccination target on Tuesday, with 80 per cent of the eligible population single-dosed with a vaccine.
Victoria recorded 779 new cases of Covid-19 and two deaths on Sunday (pictured, protesters marching at the ‘Millions March for Freedom’ rally on St Kilda Beach on Saturday)
Face masks and restrictions on household numbers are predicted to stay in Victoria even at an 80 per cent full vaccination rate (pictured, two women walking in St Kilda in Melbourne)
Mr Andrews announced Victoria would hit its first vaccination target on Tuesday with 80 per cent of residents to be single-dosed.
A modest easing of restrictions will take effect from 11:59pm on October 28 with Victorians to enjoy a few extra freedoms from Wednesday.
‘That is a fantastic achievement, and as we announced some time ago, that makes some things possible,’ the premier said.
‘I am not overselling this, they are modest things. Not Freedom Day, not the end of the lockdown.’
About 47 per cent of Victorians have had two doses of a Covid vaccine compared to NSW, where 57.8 per cent of over-16s are fully vaccinated.
In regional Victoria, the outdoor venue cap will increase from 20 to 30 with masks allowed to be removed if the service requires it in hair and beauty salons, so facials and beard trimmings can recommence.
Mr Andrews announced Victoria would hit its first vaccination target on Tuesday with 80 per cent of residents to be single-dosed (pictured, a healthcare worker administers a Covid-19 vaccine in Melbourne)
In Metropolitan Melbourne residents will be able to enjoy ‘contactless’ sports in outdoor facilities with the 10km rule to be extended to 15km. The low-risk sports permitted include golf, boating and tennis.
The gathering size outdoors has been increased to five fully vaccinated adults from two households.
Personal training for a group of five people plus a trainer is permitted as long as all parties are fully vaccinated.
Playgrounds will reopen to children and parents from Wednesday with masks permitted to be removed for eating and drinking purposes.
The next round of easing restrictions will be focused on the return of students to onsite learning scheduled for October 5.
A plan for a series of vaccinated economy trials in regional Victoria has been scheduled to begin on October 11, with six LGAs chosen to take part.
From Tuesday, Victorians can enjoy ‘contactless’ sports like boating, tennis and golf (pictured, people exercising in Melbourne last week)
Fully vaccinated residents in Buloke, Pyrenees, Bass Coast, Greater Bendigo, East Gippsland and Warrnambool can enjoy a drink in the pub in just over a fortnight.
The trial will test hospitality venues by using higher patron numbers and crowds to understand what kind of support is required of the government by business owners.
The city of Greater Geelong will be released from lockdown at 11:59pm on Sunday night and will enjoy the same freedoms as residents in the Surf Coast LGA.
There were six Covid cases reported in Geelong yesterday and one case in Surf Coast however health officials are confident the new infections can be managed.
Health officials remain concerned for the Mitchell Shire LGA which is currently reporting twice the number of active cases as Geelong.
There are 325 people currently hospitalised with Covid-19 across the state, with 73 of those in ICU and 54 are on a ventilator.
There were 34,280 vaccine doses administered across the state on Saturday with the new cases of the virus detected from 46,322 Covid tests.
The premier revealed there is currently four people aged in his 20s are in ICU with Covid-19 and are all using a ventilator to breathe (pictured, a woman is tested for Covid)
The two people that died with Covid-19 were a man in his 80s from Moreland and a man in his 70s from Hume, both of whom were not vaccinated.
Mr Andrews revealed there are four people aged in their 20s currently in intensive care, all using ventilators to breathe. There are eight people in their 30s in ICU.
Unvaccinated Victorians have been encouraged to get the jab with 600,000 doses a week due to be available at primary care clinics from October.
Mr Andrews said the state government had significant supply of both Moderna and AstraZeneca for residents to take advantage of.
Vaccination hubs are set to be stocked with 265,000 doses a week by the end of October, with health officials reviewing if it has enough Pfizer doses to cut the spacing between jabs from six to three weeks.
The move would boost efforts to reach the eagerly-anticipated 80 per cent double dose rate, a date earmarked for November 5.
Health officials have warned against any illegal events on AFL Grand Final Day on Sunday, due to fears the public gatherings could cause a surge in case numbers.
About 47 per cent of Victorians are fully vaccinated, according to the state government (pictured, a woman getting vaccinated at a pop-up clinic)
Victoria narrowly missed out on having 80 per cent of the eligible population single-dosed by AFL Grand Final Day on Sunday (pictured, a woman at a vaccination centre in Melbourne)
It comes as Victorians are warned mask mandates and limits on home gatherings to be a part of daily life even after 80 per cent of the population are fully vaccinated, a health expert has warned.
Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley said on Saturday it would be a ‘challenge’ to keep case numbers down when the 80 per cent double dose target was met.
Deakin University epidemiologist Catherine Bennett has warned strict restrictions may be needed even at 80 per cent to prevent surging rates of transmission.
‘The key is getting case numbers down before we ease restrictions and that’s going to take some work,’ she told the The Age.
‘We know the virus will be in the community, the question is how much we can live with it?’
She said mask mandates indoors may still be enforced even at that threshold, while caps on gatherings in the home could be enforced and relaxed intermittently to stem outbreaks.
Victorian health minister Martin Foley said Victoria’s roadmap to freedom isn’t a ‘set and forget’ plan
Mr Foley hinted his government may take that approach, noting that Victoria’s roadmap to freedom isn’t a ‘set and forget’ plan.
‘It [the roadmap] was always made on the basis we would continue to review where cases were at,’ he said.
According the the roadmap, when the 80 per cent single dose milestone is reached Melburnians who are fully vaccinated can gather in groups of up to five and the city’s travel limit will be expanded from 10km to 15km.
But Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the initial roadmap target was ‘ambitious’ and he would consider a day-by-day ‘countdown’ for future 70 and 80 per cent double dose goals based on updated data.
‘We would expect that, certainly by mid to late next week, we’ll hit that [single dose target],’ Mr Foley said on Friday.
Vaccination numbers were initially tipped to be at 80 per cent in Victoria by September 26 – but the state has fallen short of that projected target (pictured, testing in Ballarat, in regional Victoria this week)
‘These projections bounce around based on all sorts of measures. Let’s all redouble our efforts over this weekend.’
There are more than 600 current exposure sites across Victoria, including in regional towns Wodonga, Warrnambool, Bendigo and Shepparton.
Jeroen Weimar, Victoria’s Covid-19 testing chief, said while contact tracers in regional Victoria are monitoring rings of containment, contact tracers in city areas are focused on ‘the highest-risk settings.’
‘We are getting to the heart of the matter more quickly, focusing on those high-risk primary close contacts and focusing on those high-risk exposure sites,’ he said.
Mr Weimar said several hundred of the 847 cases recorded on Saturday had come from ‘social interactions between households’, which are illegal during lockdown.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the initial roadmap target was ‘ambitious’ and he would consider a day-by-day ‘countdown’ for future 70 and 80 per cent double dose goals based on updated data