Melburnians could be locked down until Christmas – just as freedom beckons for millions of Sydneysiders.
While Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has dangled the carrot of some easing of restrictions for Victorians from September 23, the chance of that happening is quickly slipping out of reach.
The planned relaxation of restrictions depends entirely on 70 per cent of Victorians receiving the first jab.
Melbourne is fighting surging Covid-19 case numbers in the city’s northwest
Police check the details of drivers in the small regional town of Kilmore, some 60 kilometres north of Melbourne, on Friday to ensure the virus does not spread
A healthcare worker handles a Covid-19 vaccine dose at a pop-up Covid-19 vaccination clinic at the Australian Islamic Centre in Newport, which has been hit hard by active cases
A total of 39,027 vaccines were administered to Victorians on Thursday, with 42,998 test results received.
Victorian Covid-19 commander Jeroen Weimar continued to provide hope on Friday, claiming Victorians were ahead of schedule in reaching the target.
‘We think we’ll smash that by quite a few days,’ he said.
However, modelling across the country has provided mixed results, with one data analyst on Friday telling Daily Mail Australia Mr Weimar’s predictions may be ‘optimistic’.
‘Based on current levels of vaccinations, using Thursday as the guide, we will see people aged 16 and over at first dose vax at 70 per cent on November 7,’ he said.
The analyst said Victoria was not likely to reach 70 per cent of second-dose jabs until at least December 4 under current vaccination rates.
Without a rapid rise in the uptake and administration of vaccines, Victoria’s 6.5 million population cannot expect to reach 80 per cent double dose until almost Christmas, he said.
A Covid positive man faces off with Victorian health workers on Monday. He and his family had been caught getting about Hobsons Bay, west of Melbourne, while in home quarantine
Sydneysiders who are vaccinated will enjoy new freedom on Monday despite active cases in the thousands
While Victoria has fewer active cases than NSW, numbers are expected to surge amid lockdown fatigue
Victorians enjoy shopping at the Bridge Mall in Ballarat on Friday after restrictions in country Victoria were finally eased
’80 per cent second dose won’t be achieved until December 21. However, if you model in a drop off as vax levels increase, summer and Christmas arrive and the holiday period in between, the 80 per cent fully vaccinated targets won’t be achieved until at least January 2022,’ the analyst said.
‘Of course, a doubling of vaccination rates would see us at 80 per cent double vaccinated by November 2021. These are the windows, based on the current metrics, that we are playing in.’
Victorians have already spent an agonising 222 days in lockdown.
Under modelling being peddled by the State Government, Victorian businesses hope to be up and running as early as October 1.
New South Wales recorded 1,542 new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 on Friday as Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned cases would peak next week.
Fully-vaccinated NSW residents will be allowed to visit friends’ homes, gather in groups of up to 20 outdoors and head to restaurants, pubs, stores, cinemas and theatres on the Monday after they reached the 70 per cent jab target.
More than 42 per cent of NSW residents are now fully vaccinated, with the state on track to hit 80 per cent single doses on Monday and have restrictions eased by mid-October.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews refuses to tell Victorians how they might finally exit lockdown
Meanwhile, Mr Andrews refuses to reveal what Victoria’s road map out of lockdown might look like.
Victoria recorded 334 new Covid cases and one coronavirus death on Friday.
The City of Hume, northwest of Melbourne’s CBD, continues to record surging cases of the virus.
Comprising working-class suburbs such as Broadmeadows, Coolaroo and Dallas, numbers climbed overnight by 82 active cases to 734.
The City of Hume has the state’s second-lowest vaccination rate, despite having the most active Covid cases.
Moreland, which sits just across the highway from Hume, is also recording alarming numbers, climbing by 48 active cases to 325.
Down the road, in Wyndham, 238 active cases remain – up by 29.
The Newport cluster – in Hobsons Bay – was set off after the virus spread into Al-Taqwa College Islamic school, in Wyndham, via a teacher last month.
Hobsons Bay recorded 13 new cases overnight, bringing its active cases to 187 – the fourth largest hotspot in Victoria.
On Wednesday, Daily Mail Australia revealed a family living in Hobsons Bay had been actively getting about in the community for at least seven days while positive with the virus.
Victorian Covid Commander Jeroen Weimar told Victorians on Friday they were ahead of schedule in regards to meeting the jab target of 70 per cent
What freedom is expected to look like for NSW residents by mid-October when it is expected to reach its 70 per cent target
The revelations came as no surprise to many residents living in the area, who expressed fear of going outside.
New exposure sites in regional Victoria were listed on Friday, with alerts going out for Geelong and Lorne south-west of Melbourne, and in Daylesford, around 115km north-west of the capital.
Two tool shops and a pharmacy were caught up in the fresh scare in Geelong, with alerts also listed for a construction site in Lorne and two cafes and a medical clinic in Daylesford.
The news came on the same day all of regional Victoria except Shepparton was released from lockdown.
Mr Andrews has said Victoria would soon become a ‘vaccinated economy’, with those who chose not to be jabbed ‘locked out’.
‘When we get to those vaccination double-dose thresholds … the notion of a lockout of the whole community is far less relevant,’ he said last week.
‘What will become a bigger part of our response is a lockout of many venues for those who are not vaccinated.
‘I am not going to lock the whole state down to protect people who would not protect themselves. If you are not vaccinated, and you could be, the chances of you booking a ticket at a sporting event, going to a pub … will be very limited.’
Under the national plan, lockdowns will end almost entirely and international travel will resume when 80 per cent of eligible Australians are fully vaccinated.
But as Victoria heads into the September 23 target date, no-one is expecting freedom anytime soon.