Victoria edges closer to its 70% double-dose target - as the state records 1,993 cases and 7 deaths 1

Victoria edges closer to its 70% double-dose target – as the state records 1,993 cases and 7 deaths

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Victoria’s Covid cases have dropped below 2,000 cases after record high numbers. 

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There were 1,993 cases and seven deaths announced on Saturday.

Melburnians are currently subject to a 15 kilometre travel limit, which will expand to 25km when 70 per cent of people over 16 are fully vaccinated, and regional travel is banned until it hits 80 per cent coverage under the state’s roadmap. 

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Victoria reported 2,179 new cases on Friday and six deaths, taking the toll from the current outbreak to 131.  

Victoria recorded 1,993 cases and seven deaths on Saturday, as infections drop below 2,000 (pictured Melbourne residents exercise along the Yarra River)

Victoria recorded 1,993 cases and seven deaths on Saturday, as infections drop below 2,000 (pictured Melbourne residents exercise along the Yarra River)

Victoria is edging closer to the 70 per cent vaccination coverage milestone which could be reached as early as next Thursday

Victoria is edging closer to the 70 per cent vaccination coverage milestone which could be reached as early as next Thursday

The state is on track to hit the first 70 per cent vaccination coverage milestone as early as next Thursday which will trigger the end of Melbourne’s sixth lockdown.

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The data website Covid Live also suggest the next 80 per cent target would be hit on October 31. 

Deputy Chief Health Officer Ben Cowie reiterated the roadmap out of lockdown was tied to vaccination targets and pressure on the health system, not case numbers.

‘There is no way I could possibly look at one day’s numbers and think of what it means for the roadmap. The roadmap is there, the progress is agreed,’ he said.   

Deputy Chief Health Officer Ben Cowie reiterated the roadmap out of lockdown was tied to vaccination targets and pressure on the health system, not case numbers

Deputy Chief Health Officer Ben Cowie reiterated the roadmap out of lockdown was tied to vaccination targets and pressure on the health system, not case numbers

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Melburnians have been rolling up their sleeves this week in the hopes the weekend will be their last at home with just over 63 per cent double jabbed

Melburnians have been rolling up their sleeves this week in the hopes the weekend will be their last at home with just over 63 per cent double jabbed

Melburnians have been rolling up their sleeves this week in the hopes the weekend will be their last at home with just over 63 per cent double jabbed.   

A string of freedoms will be brought in once the first target is reached including lifting the curfew and allowing outdoor gatherings of 10 people.  

Guests won’t be allowed at other people’s houses but hairdressers and beauty parlours can reopen for five fully vaccinated customers. 

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A string of freedoms will be brought in once the first target is reached including lifting the curfew and allowing outdoor gatherings of 10 people (Pictured: A woman walks the Tan track with her dog)

A string of freedoms will be brought in once the first target is reached including lifting the curfew and allowing outdoor gatherings of 10 people (Pictured: A woman walks the Tan track with her dog) 

Guests won't be allowed at other people's houses but hairdressers and beauty parlours can reopen for five fully vaccinated customers (pictured: Two women walk the Tan in Melbourne)

Guests won’t be allowed at other people’s houses but hairdressers and beauty parlours can reopen for five fully vaccinated customers (pictured: Two women walk the Tan in Melbourne)

Pubs, clubs and other entertainment venues can also welcome back double jabbed patrons. 

Those venues will be able to hold 50 fully vaccinated people outdoors. 

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All school students will return to on-site learning at least part time. 

While funerals will be allowed for 20 fully vaccinated people indoors and 50 double jabbed individuals in an outdoor setting, and weddings will be allowed to go ahead with 50 double vaccinated attendees outdoors.  

In regional Victoria, Pubs, clubs and entertainment venues will be open to 30 fully vaccinated people indoors once the 70% vaccination target is reached. 

All school students will be able to return onsite at least part time, and funerals and weddings will be allowed for 30 fully vaccinated people indoors and 100 fully vaccinated outdoors.

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NSW residents who have been fully vaccinated will also soon be allowed to travel to Victoria without having to go into quarantine for 14 days.

From October 19, double-jabbed residents arriving from ‘red zones’ will be required to get tested for Covid-19 three days before travelling to Victoria. They must then get tested when they enter Victoria and isolate until they receive a negative result.

Residents travelling from ‘orange zones’ will no longer be required to get a test or isolate.

Minister for Health Martin Foley said it was time to start rewarding fully-vaccinated travellers.

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NSW residents who have been fully vaccinated will also soon be allowed to travel to Victoria without having to go into quarantine for 14 days (Pictured: A pedestrian walks along Princes Bridge in Melbourne)

NSW residents who have been fully vaccinated will also soon be allowed to travel to Victoria without having to go into quarantine for 14 days (Pictured: A pedestrian walks along Princes Bridge in Melbourne)

Minister for Health Martin Foley said it was time to start rewarding fully-vaccinated travellers (pictured: Melbourne residents enjoy a sunny day as they exercise along the Yarra River)

Minister for Health Martin Foley said it was time to start rewarding fully-vaccinated travellers (pictured: Melbourne residents enjoy a sunny day as they exercise along the Yarra River)

‘Our border settings are changing as we move towards a managed easing of restrictions – and people who are fully vaccinated have a right to reduced requirements because they present reduced risk,’ he said.

‘Victoria and New South Wales have been through so much over the last few months, and we’re pleased that more families will now be able to reunite and more people will be able to travel in a safe way.’

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Children under the age of 12, who are too young for the vaccine, will be allowed to enter the state under their parent’s permit. 

While the state recorded a drop in the number of Covid cases, Professor Cowie said undetected transmission in the community was now “coming to the surface”. 

Prof Cowie warned case numbers would climb as the state reopened.

‘As we do have increased mixing in the community, increased freedoms and people moving around, we will see this sort of bumpy road, there’s no question about it,’ he said.

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Despite escalating cases, he said the proportion of people being admitted to hospital was less than five per cent of new cases, compared with almost 10 per cent in 2020.

Epidemiologist Adrian Esterman predicts the third wave’s peak is two to three weeks away.

He said Thursday’s spike had “virtually no impact” on the effective reproduction rate of the virus, which had risen slightly from 0.99 to 1.02.

Women are seen struggling with racks of clothing as they maneuver them through the streets

Women are seen struggling with racks of clothing as they maneuver them through the streets 

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A woman in a green dress is seen in Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne CBD on Thursday

A woman in a green dress is seen in Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne CBD on Thursday

‘I wouldn’t get overly concerned about today’s high numbers, unless we’ve started seeing a trend,’ the University of SA professor told AAP.

‘At the moment, the trend is for there to be a peak coming if not reached, but it would still take another three or four days to make that judgment call.

‘Victoria will get to a peak, it’s just a matter of when will it get to the peak, and how bad will things get before it gets to the peak.’ 

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He said the state would be recording ‘9000 to 10,000 cases a day’ if it was not for vaccination.

Prof Esterman attributed NSW’s low case numbers to its high vaccine rates and the impact of that state opening up would not be seen until next week.

Burnet Institute modelling, released in September, predicts daily cases may reach 1400 to 2900 from October 19 to 31, with a second peak predicted in mid-December.   

Two women seen happily walking along Bourke Street Mall

Two women seen happily walking along Bourke Street Mall 

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A man seen crossing the tram tracks along Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne's CBD

A man seen crossing the tram tracks along Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne’s CBD

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