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Dan Andrews brings in new rules meaning ALL essential workers must get Covid jab in TWO weeks 

Victoria has brought in unprecedented mandatory vaccine rules for hundreds of thousands of the state’s essential workers – including cleaners, farmers, civil servants and personal trainers.

The state earlier recorded 1,143 new Covid-19 cases and three deaths overnight with the surge in cases raising fears that the reopening of the state could be delayed.

The new cases come after the state reported a pandemic record 1,438 infections on Thursday – the largest one-day jump ever recorded in Victoria. 

The grim figures has residents concerned that premier Daniel Andrews will have to revise his roadmap to freedom and even extend lockdown until numbers fall. 

‘Yesterday’s cases took a lot of people by surprise,’ Mr Andrews said during a press conference on Friday.

Victoria has recorded 1,143 new Covid-19 cases and three deaths overnight with the surge in cases raising fears that the reopening of the state could be delayed 

Victoria's Covid-19 outbreak continues to surge (pictured, healthcare workers at a vaccination centre in Melbourne)

Victoria’s Covid-19 outbreak continues to surge (pictured, healthcare workers at a vaccination centre in Melbourne)

‘Many people would have been quite concerned, scared to even see a number as high as that. 

‘Today obviously is less than that and we are pleased, although we shouldn’t underestimate the challenge that 1,143 Covid patients presents.’ 

There were 34,935 vaccines administered and 62,883 Covid-19 tests conducted in the last 24 hours. 

Victoria’s record number of cases was nearly equal to the NSW peak, which was 1,599 new Covid-19 cases on September 11.

The steep rise in case numbers – a 51 per cent increase in one day – is in line with forecasts that the state could reach 3,000 cases a day by late October.

Almost 79 per cent of Victorians have received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while more than 48 per cent are fully vaccinated. 

The astronomical spike in cases has been blamed on illegal AFL gatherings over the weekend with warnings from one doctor that case numbers could spike up to 6,000 a day. 

Melbourne GP Mukesh Haikerwal warned case numbers would ‘double and double again’.

‘I’ll say it again,’ he told The Today Show on Friday. ‘They will probably double and double again.’

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said it would be ‘devastating’ if the plans to reopen the state were delayed. 

‘For the rules to change at this stage would be devastating for so many people,’ Ms Capp said.

‘They really want to know that if we do the right thing and hit the restrictions, if we get vaccinated, that we can still open.’

The announcement comes amid warnings Victoria’s overcrowded hospitals are turning into ‘apocalyptic war zones’ as the Delta outbreak threatens to overwhelm its healthcare system.

An anonymous official said the state’s health watchdog Safer Care Victoria had urged the state government to brace for a Covid-related surge in its hospitals when lockdown measures are relaxed.

‘They basically told us to prepare psychologically because most of Victoria’s going to think ‘this is great’… as a healthcare worker, it’ll feel like a war zone,’ the official told The Age.

‘I just can’t fathom it. Some of the hospitals in Melbourne are already apocalyptic.’ 

The Australian Medical Association’s Victorian President Dr Roderick McRae on Thursday morning said the state’s hospitals were now in crisis mode.

The announcement comes amid warnings Victoria's overcrowded hospitals are turning into 'apocalyptic war zones' as the Delta outbreak threatens to overwhelm its healthcare system (pictured, ambulances queued outside a Melbourne hospital)

The announcement comes amid warnings Victoria’s overcrowded hospitals are turning into ‘apocalyptic war zones’ as the Delta outbreak threatens to overwhelm its healthcare system (pictured, ambulances queued outside a Melbourne hospital)

Almost 79 per cent of Victorians have received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while more than 48 per cent are fully vaccinated

Almost 79 per cent of Victorians have received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while more than 48 per cent are fully vaccinated

As of Wednesday, there are 371 Covid-19 patients in hospitals across Victoria, of which 81 are in the ICU.  

‘Everybody at every stage of the Victorian healthcare system is using the word ‘crisis’,’ he told the Today show. 

‘The system is under extreme strain and it’s on the back of decades of under-investment.’ 

He said the already long ambulance and emergency room waiting times in Victoria would be made even worse by rising Covid-19 admissions when the state starts to open up at a 70 per cent double-dose vaccination rate.

‘Think of your bathtub – the pipe is blocked and we still are adding more water and as we open up, it’s like we are looking to jump in as well and expect the floor to stay dry,’ Dr McRae said.

People are seen exercising along the Tan walking track in Melbourne on Sunday, September 19.  Victoria recorded 950 new locally-acquired Covid-19 cases on Wednesday

People are seen exercising along the Tan walking track in Melbourne on Sunday, September 19.  Victoria recorded 950 new locally-acquired Covid-19 cases on Wednesday

‘We knew that this was going to happen when we did eventually open up. Why wasn’t the system better prepared? We’ve had time.’ 

Deakin University epidemiology chair Professor Catherine Bennett on Wednesday predicted the outbreak was still a month away from peaking before infections start to drop in late October. 

Professor Peter Collignon told the Herald Sun that predictions of 3,000 cases per day in the coming weeks is a ‘a bit too pessimistic’.

The Australian Medical Association's Victorian President Dr Roderick McRae on Thursday morning said the state's hospitals were now in crisis mode

The Australian Medical Association’s Victorian President Dr Roderick McRae on Thursday morning said the state’s hospitals were now in crisis mode

He said the forecast didn’t take into account that Australia was heading into warmer weather – when respiratory illnesses abate – and that vaccination rates were steadily climbing.  

He said the forecast didn’t take into account that Australia was heading into warmer weather – when respiratory illnesses abate – and that vaccination rates were steadily climbing.

Victorian acting chief health officer Ben Cowie said on Wednesday the state’s outbreak was likely still some time away from reaching its peak.

‘We know from both modelling and experience in NSW our case numbers will continue to climb,’ he said.

‘But it is absolutely with in our power to slow the spread and to prevent thousands of cases and hundreds of people from becoming seriously ill and some people losing their lives.’ 

Victoria meanwhile has opened the door for residents stranded in Sydney to come home after the state’s construction union headquarters were officially listed as a top-level Covid-19 exposure site.

From Thursday, Victorian residents in extreme risk zones such as Greater Sydney can apply for a permit if they are fully vaccinated, test negative within 72 hours of departure and isolate at home for 14 days.

A healthcare worker speaks to a patient before administering a Covid-19 test at a facility in Ballarat in regional Victoria.

A healthcare worker speaks to a patient before administering a Covid-19 test at a facility in Ballarat in regional Victoria.  

Those who have been to an exposure site, are close contacts of a COVID-19 case or with symptoms will be knocked back, while non-Victorians are not eligible. 

It comes as the CFMEU’s Melbourne headquarters were listed as a COVID-19 exposure site on Wednesday, a week after it was the scene of anti-vaccination protests.

The Elizabeth Street office was named by the Department of Health as a tier-one site for September 20, forcing union staff and officials into isolation for two weeks.

The outside of the building has also been classed as a tier-two venue, with protesters asked to get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result.

Four positive cases have been linked to the office so far, and CFMEU state secretary John Setka blamed the ‘disgusting behaviour of selfish and reckless’ protesters for the outbreak.

Some of about 500 demonstrators threw bottles at Mr Setka and smashed the office’s door down on September 20, igniting days of protests that culminated in mobs taking over the West Gate Bridge and Shrine of Remembrance. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk