Coronavirus Australia: Victoria prepares for eased restrictions despite 1838 cases and seven deaths

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Victorians holed up in their sixth lockdown can look forward to eased restrictions within days, despite the state recording 1838 new cases and seven more deaths. 

New cases are on the decline, down from 1,993 on Saturday after infections jumped above 2,200 this week.

Almost 39,000 Victorians rolled up their sleeves for a jab on Saturday as the state ramps up its vaccination program. 

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The Victorian government is set to fast-track freedoms in its roadmap out of lockdown for those fully-vaccinated  once 70 per cent of the state’s eligible population aged over 16 have had both jabs. 

That critical milestone in Victoria’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to be achieved on Thursday with restrictions to be eased from October 25.

Fully vaccinated Melburnians are one week away from enjoying eased restrictions (pictured woman kicking a ball around at Carlton's Princes Park)

Fully vaccinated Melburnians are one week away from enjoying eased restrictions (pictured woman kicking a ball around at Carlton’s Princes Park)

The 15km travel limit is expected to be scrapped as part of the eased restrictions (pictured a surfer at Williamstown Beach on Saturday)

The 15km travel limit is expected to be scrapped as part of the eased restrictions (pictured a surfer at Williamstown Beach on Saturday)

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The move will come two weeks after millions of fully vaccinated NSW residents enjoyed their taste of freedom in 106 days, where the 80 per cent double dose rate was hit on Saturday. 

Around 73,501 Victorians came forward for testing on Saturday as jabs administrated surge towards the 4.165 million mark. 

The Victorians crisis cabinet met on Saturday night to finetune eased restrictions, which will include up to five fully-vaccinated visitors to homes while the Melbourne’s 15km travel limit will be scrapped, The Sunday Herald Sun reported.

Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to announce more details at Sunday’s daily Covid briefing. 

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Regional travel for Melburnians is expected to remain banned until the state hits the 80 per cent double-vaccination threshold. 

‘It’s something we have been looking at – visitors at the home at 70 [per cent],’ a Labor insider said.

Government officials in Victoria are meanwhile increasing efforts to get 80 per cent of the state to be fully vaccinated by the end of October.

To do so, health staff are contacting 100,000 Victorians to bring forward their second dose of the vaccine. 

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Freedoms at 70 per cent for fully vaccinated Victorians so far include non-essential retail opening with density limits wile the limit on outdoor social gatherings rising to 10 fully-vaccinated people.

Around 10,000 Victorians who have had their first jab will get a phone call this week to fast-track their second dose (pictured a pop up vaccination clinic in Melbourne on Saturday)

Around 10,000 Victorians who have had their first jab will get a phone call this week to fast-track their second dose (pictured a pop up vaccination clinic in Melbourne on Saturday)

Victorian health officials are ringing those with second dose bookings asking them to bring their appointments forward to October 25 to help reach these targets sooner

Victorian health officials are ringing those with second dose bookings asking them to bring their appointments forward to October 25 to help reach these targets sooner

Pubs, clubs and entertainment venues will reopen with density limits as well as intrastate travel with the exception of metropolitan Melbourne.

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Caps on funerals, weddings and religious ceremonies will also be increased.  

The state government has approved crowds at some large-scale events including Remembrance Day, with health officials confirming on Saturday night the state would be likely to hit 70 and 80 per cent targets within a week of each other if appointments for the second doses are brought forward.  

‘With regular supplies of Pfizer and Moderna now available, every eligible Victorian now has the opportunity to bring forward their Covid-19 vaccination and get protected sooner,’ a department statement said.

‘Up to 100,000 Victorians can expect to get a call from the Department of Health in coming days inviting them to bring forward their second doses of Pfizer.’

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Victorians are set to see each other sooner than expected due to a push for restrictions to end by the end of the month

Victorians are set to see each other sooner than expected due to a push for restrictions to end by the end of the month 

Freedoms at 70 per cent fully vaccinated targets include pubs, clubs and entertainment venues opening with density limits

Freedoms at 70 per cent fully vaccinated targets include pubs, clubs and entertainment venues opening with density limits

The coronavirus hotline is now ringing those with second dose bookings, asking them to move up their jabs to October 25 or earlier due to a serge in Pfizer and Moderna as one million doses arrive in Victoria next week. 

This campaign is set to save at least two days of lockdown and suggests Victoria will be able to reopen by October 31 according to analyst Anthony Macali of Covidlive.com.au. 

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Mr Macali said he was optimistic Victoria would achieve its vaccine targets before the proposed dates.  

‘There’s a small chance, a very best-case scenario that we get to 80 per cent by the 30th of October, but I’m calling the 31st of October,’ he said to The Herald Sun.

According to the department, Victoria needs 269,341 second doses to reach the 70 per cent target as the Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says Australia is now ahead of the EU and US for first dose numbers.    

According to the Department of Health, Victoria needs 269,341 second doses to reach the 70 per cent target and be able to experience these freedoms

According to the Department of Health, Victoria needs 269,341 second doses to reach the 70 per cent target and be able to experience these freedoms 

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