Victoria hits 70 per cent vaccinated but records its second-most new Covid cases ever with 2,232 and 12 deaths just HOURS before the state finally ends its sixth lockdown
- Victoria hit its 70 per cent Covid vaccination double dose target on Thursday
- The state will open up at midnight after 262 days of stay at home orders
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison cheers the state hitting key milestone
Victoria has recorded 2,232 new Covid-19 cases and 12 deaths on the same day it was revealed 70 per cent of the state have now been fully vaccinated.
The vaccination target was reached on Thursday as the state prepares to open up at midnight after suffering through 262 days of lockdown in total.
The latest case numbers are the second highest daily total recorded in the state and came from 79,544 tests.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed 70.51 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 have received both doses, a key reopening milestone in the state’s roadmap.
The state government had already pledged Melbourne would emerge from lockdown at 11.59pm on Thursday, five days earlier than planned.
‘The longest road has been journeyed in Victoria and that long road really starts to open up tonight,’ Mr Morrison told Seven Network on Thursday.
‘But as always, all states and territories, are coming from a different starting point. They’ll all cautiously find their way back. This is not a big opening in that first step.’
Victoria will open up at midnight after 262 days of lockdown and six separate stay at home orders
When stay-at-home orders are wound back, Melburnians will have endured 77 full days in their current lockdown and 263 total days since the beginning of the pandemic – a record for any city across the globe.
Under the new rules, people will be able to leave their homes for any reason and travel anywhere within metropolitan Melbourne.
The curfew will be scrapped, home gatherings of up to 10 will be allowed, and hairdressers and hospitality businesses will reopen for the fully vaccinated.
However, in a last-minute change to reopening plans, all hospitality staff must be fully vaccinated to work.
Premier Daniel Andrews has mandated authorised workers have had one vaccine dose by tomorrow
This is despite online health directions stating authorised workers, including those in hospitality, must have had one vaccine dose by October 22 and a second by November 26.
Australian Hotels Association Victoria chief executive Paddy O’Sullivan said the government had ‘moved the goalposts’ on the sector and has asked for a grace period to allow staff time to get vaccinated.
But Victoria’s COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said ‘there is no wriggle room’ on the mandate.
With some pubs in the city to reopen at midnight, staff at hospitality venues will be allowed to go into work after the curfew kicks in at 9pm to get their venues ready, but patrons will need to wait until 11:59pm to leave home.
Victoria recorded 1841 local COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths on Wednesday, taking the toll from the latest outbreak to 175.
MELBOURNE’S 263 DAYS OF LOCKDOWNS:
– Statewide, March 30 to May 12, 2020, 43 days
– Ten Melbourne postcodes, July 1 to July 8, 2020, seven days (not counted in the overall citywide figure)
– Melbourne, July 8 to October 27, 2020, 112 days
– Statewide, February 12 to February 17, 2021, five days
– Melbourne, May 27 to June 10, 2021, 14 days
– Statewide, July 15 to July 27, 2021, 12 days
– Melbourne, August 5 and October 21, 77 days (not including four hours on August 5 when lockdown started)