With millions in New South Wales released from lockdown on Monday, Melbourne is continuing its mammoth stint under tough stay-at-home orders, with experts predicting Victoria is heading towards 3,00 Covid cases a day.
The city is spending its 253rd day in lockdown since the pandemic began in March 2020, with restrictions likely to last many more weeks as the state inches towards 70 per cent double-jabbed rates.
Department of Health deputy secretary Kate Matson warned Victoria could reach the soaring figures towards the end of October.
‘At this point in time, we are on track in terms of hospitalisations and new cases,’ she said.
‘But I will remind you there is a middle line and an upper and lower band, and we are still within that band.’
A health official has given a grim warning as Victoria enters its 253rd day in lockdown (pictured, Premier Dan Andrews)
On Saturday the state recorded 1,965 new cases, breaking the previous record three times in the last week.
The huge figure is the highest recorded since the start of the pandemic in Australia.
On Sunday, Victoria reported 1,890 new cases and five deaths as Premier Dan Andrews announced how many punters will be allowed to attend Melbourne Cup festivities.
Up to 10,000 fully-vaccinated punters will be allowed into Flemington Racecourse for the Melbourne Cup on November 2, with strict Covid protocols in place.
On Saturday, Victoria broke the record for the highest number of cases during the pandemic in Australia with 1,965 positive infections (pictured, dog walkers on Flinders Street in Melbourne)
Victoria recorded 1,890 new Covid-19 cases and five new deaths overnight on Sunday
Sunday’s cases were diagnosed from 74,105 tests, and 39,861 vaccine doses were administered.
More than 86 per cent of Victorians have now received at least one Covid jab and more than 58 per cent are fully-vaccinated.
Mr Andrews said the state is ‘well on track’ to hit the 70 per cent double vaccination target by October 26 – which will bring an eagerly-awaited easing of restrictions.
The five deaths reported overnight include a man in his 50s from Melbourne, a male in his 50s from Brimbank, two men in their 70s, one from Maribyrnong and one from Wyndham and a woman in her 80s from Yarra.
On Sunday case numbers dropped slightly as Victoria recorded 1,890 cases and five deaths (pictured, people exercising on St Kilda Beach)
There are currently 609 people hospitalised with Covid-19, with 126 in ICU and 88 breathing through a ventilator.
Less than seven per cent of the Victorians currently in hospital are fully-vaccinated.
Mr Andrews issued a blunt warning to Victorians who remained unvaccinated in the final weeks leading up to the reopening of the state.
‘If you are vaccinated, your chance of finishing up in hospital gravely ill are but a fraction, a tiny fraction of what an unvaccinated person’s risks are,’ he said.
‘Of course, it will change and become even more stark as we open up.
Premier Dan Andrews said the state was on track to hit the 70 per cent vaccination target by October 26 (pictured, a vaccination centre in Melton)
‘When we get to 80 per cent double dose … the virus will spread, especially among those who are not vaccinated … you are at a much higher risk.
‘I’m not pleased to say this, but it is the science of it. The data, the facts.’
NSW was released from lockdown measures on Monday, having surpassed the 70 per cent double-dose vaccination milestone early last week.
Gyms, cafes, restaurants, pools, shops, hairdressers and beauticians will reopen and residents will be able to travel more than 5km from their home – a goal Victoria will hopefully achieve later in October.
NSW on Friday tipped over 90 per cent first-dose vaccination coverage, while more than 73 per cent now fully-jabbed, soaring in comparison to Victoria’s vaccine uptake.
More than 86 per cent of Victorians have now received at least one Covid jab and more than 58 per cent are fully vaccinated (pictured, a vaccination centre in Melton)
NSW recorded 477 new Covid cases and six deaths as infections continue to trend down on Sunday
Half of the 1,890 new cases reported on Sunday were detected in six LGAs: Hume, Casey, Melton, Brimbank, Whittlesea and Wyndham.
Covid Commander Jeroen Weimar noted an increase in the number of infections in Melbourne’s southeast, with 164 cases emerging in Casey.
However, he warned Victorians the virus was now spreading everywhere, not just in the familiar Covid hotspots.
‘I would really stress again please do not rely on these case narratives that says it is only in a few locations, it is increasingly coming in the suburbs across Melbourne and regional Victoria,’ Mr Weimar said.
‘[We are seeing] a significant continual growth in the case numbers and we are seeing ongoing growth in case numbers across regional Victoria.’
Victoria’s roadmap out of lockdown
When the state hits 70 per cent double vaccination on October 26:
*No restrictions on leaving home and 9pm-5am curfew scrapped with the travel limit increased to 25km
*Masks will remain mandatory both indoors and outdoors
*Year 12 students will return to the classroom from the first week of October
*Kindergarten to Year 2 will then return to school followed by all remaining years which are due to be back by the end of the month
*Early childcare to reopen for children of fully vaccinated parents
*General retail will reopen for outdoor service only with click and collect services to remain available
*Hair salons will reopen for the fully-vaccinated with a limit on five patrons
*Hospitality will reopen for seated and outdoor service only for fully-vaccinated patrons and a capacity limit of 50
*Fully-vaccinated groups can gather outdoors in groups of ten while unvaccinated groups will be capped at five
*Entertainment venues will be reopened for 50 fully vaccinated people for outdoor services only
*Groups of 50 fully vaccinated or 10 unvaccinated people will be able to attend outdoor weddings
Groups of 50 fully vaccinated or 20 unvaccinated people will be able to attend outdoor funerals
When the state hits 80 per cent double vaccination on November 5:
*Ten people including dependents will be allowed inside homes with masks only to be required while indoors
*Pubs, restaurants and cafes can open for seated service only, with a cap of 150 fully vaccinated people inside and 500 outdoors
*Indoor dining will also be capped at 150 people while 30 people will be permitted to gather outside
*Gyms will reopen to the fully vaccinated with indoor community sport to be permitted for the minimum number required
*Victorians will still be asked to work from home if possible but will be allowed to travel to work if they are fully-vaccinated
*Hair salons, beauty and personal care services will be available to the double-jabbed and all retail stores can reopen
*Early childcare education will reopen with all students to return to school with additional safety measures in place
*Weddings, funerals and religious services will return for 150 double-dosed guests indoors and 500 outdoors