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Covid Australia: Two Victorians die as the state records 445 new cases

Victoria has recorded two deaths and 445 new Covid-19 cases bringing the total number of active infections to 3799 as the state’s Delta outbreak continues to spiral out of control.

Of the new cases, only 129 are linked to the rest of the outbreak sparking fears infections will continue to rise as Melburnians endure their sixth week of the city’s gruelling lockdown.  

The latest daily tally is a slight reprieve from the 473 cases reported on Monday, with authorities warning tearooms in essential workplaces pose the greatest risk of transmission.   

Compliance and vaccination blitzes have been launched across the Victorian building industry, with the sector put on notice it could lose its ability to keep working during lockdowns.  

It comes as tradies were lashed at Monday’s Covid briefing for regularly ignoring lockdown rules and spreading the virus 20km across Melbourne, with 13 per cent of the state’s cases linked to building sites.

The industry will be subjected to an extraordinary ‘zero tolerance’ Covid crackdown, with fifty compliance teams deployed to sites across the state to ensure workers are following mask orders and social distancing properly. 

The state government is continuing to develop a roadmap out of lockdown, including a plan to return students to classrooms in term four (pictured, a local exercises in St Kilda on Monday)

From July 1, on-the-spot fines for authorised worker breaches increased to up to $1817 for individuals and up to $10,904 for businesses. 

Meanwhile, officials are growing concerned as Victoria’s outbreak becomes a pandemic of the young and the unvaccinated, with just 30,032 vaccine doses administered on Monday. 

All but 38 of the infections recorded on Monday reside in Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs, which are subject to a three-week vaccination blitz.   

Health Minister Martin Foley said 87 per cent of active cases were aged under 50, with 585 aged under 19.

‘This continues to be a pandemic of the young and the unvaccinated,’ he told reporters on Monday.

Mr Foley said 89 per cent of the 157 Victorians fighting COVID-19 in hospital were unvaccinated, while 11 per cent had received one dose. 

COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said an increasing number of cases had been linked to the construction industry, which is also subject to a vaccination blitz and compliance crackdown from Monday.

He identified tearooms of essential workplaces as the ‘most dangerous place’ to contract the virus, given people drop their guard and their face mask to eat and drink.

All but 38 of the new infections reside in Melbourne's northern and western suburbs, which are subject to a three-week vaccination blitz (pictured, health workers at a vaccine hub in Melbourne on Monday)

All but 38 of the new infections reside in Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs, which are subject to a three-week vaccination blitz (pictured, health workers at a vaccine hub in Melbourne on Monday)

Mr Weimar said there were six COVID-19 cases connected to an outbreak of V/Line staff, with transmission having occurred in the train driver’s break room.

The outbreak has all but shuttered the state’s regional train network, given 300 workers have been forced to isolate.

Coaches will continue to replace the majority of V/Line services on Tuesday.

Authorities are also investigating an outbreak at the Fitzroy Community School in Fitzroy North.

Mr Weimar confirmed 31 students and staff have contracted the virus, while some 189 close contacts have been forced into self-isolation.

There are about 60 students enrolled at the school, which describes itself as an ‘independent, alternative primary school’.

Only children of permitted workers and those who are vulnerable are currently allowed to attend school in Melbourne, but the school has reportedly been inviting all parents to send their children to class.

School founder Faye Berryman told ABC News 24 primary-aged children had ‘a strong resilience to COVID’ and needed to be in class for the sake of their mental health.

Mr Foley said the school had been on the health department’s radar and it would take appropriate action once the outbreak was brought under control.

He would not be drawn on whether the school should be fined or deregistered.

Health Minister Martin Foley said 87 per cent of active cases were aged under 50, with 585 aged under 19 (pictured, a nearly deserted Bourke Street on Sunday)

Health Minister Martin Foley said 87 per cent of active cases were aged under 50, with 585 aged under 19 (pictured, a nearly deserted Bourke Street on Sunday) 

Opposition education spokesman David Hodgett said he did not support breaking the rules but understood the school’s actions

‘The government has not put out a single plan. There’s no certainty. There’s no hope,’ he told reporters.

The state government is continuing to develop a roadmap out of lockdown,  including a plan to return students to classrooms in term four.

Melburnians will get an extra hour of outdoor activity and the five-kilometre travel radius will be expanded to 10km when 70 per cent of eligible Victorians have had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

By Monday, 66.9 per cent of the eligible Victorian population had received at least a first dose.

There has been no indication of what freedoms will be permitted when more than 70 per cent of the population is double-vaccinated.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk