Victoria records 510 new cases as some freedoms will take effect in hours

Victoria has recorded 510 new coronavirus infections and one further death in the past 24 hours as a raft of freedoms are due to take effect across parts of the state tonight.

The death is a woman in her 50s. 

Just 124 of today’s new cases have so far been linked to known outbreaks.

There are 308 people in hospital, including 49 in intensive care and 32 on ventilators. 

Only two patients in Victorian hospitals are fully vaccinated.

People exercising at Albert Park Lake  in Melbourne
People exercising at Albert Park Lake in Melbourne. (Getty)

Of Victoria’s new cases, 95 per cent are in Melbourne’s north and west, with 276 infections located across the northern suburbs of Craigieburn, Roxburgh Park and Broadmeadows. 

There are 185 new cases in the western suburbs, including Truganina and Hoppers Crossing. 

While 38 cases are in Melbourne’s south and east, including in Cranbourne North, Pakenham and Dandenong. 

“There is a significant response underway with local partners in those areas,” COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said.

Breakdown of cases in regional Victoria

  • Two new cases in Geelong – one of those is an employee at a call centre in Melbourne, the other is a mystery infection
  • One mystery case in rural western Victoria in the East Wimmera
  • Two new cases in Mitchell Shire – of those is a construction worker in Melbourne and the other is under investigation. There are now 11 active cases in Mitchell Shire.
  • One case from the Latrobe Valley – a person who works at a fast-food restaurant 
  • Three cases in Ballarat – known primary close contacts across households

Restrictions to ease in Melbourne and Ballarat

Melbourne and Ballarat’s lockdown restrictions will ease from 11.59pm after the state reached its 70 per cent first-dose vaccination target.

Those who are fully vaccinated will tonight be able to enjoy more benefits than those who are not.

By the end of today there will be a sixth reason for Victorians in lockdown to leave home – for outdoor social interaction.

The state’s path out of COVID-19 lockdown relies on residents following public health guidelines, an infectious diseases expert says.

Professor Robert Booy told Today he welcomed the easing of some restrictions across Melbourne and Ballarat as the move was good for people’s mental health, but rising case numbers remained a worry.

“Melbourne struggled, Victoria to a lesser extent has too … The numbers keep going up.

A crowded Edinburgh Gardens, Fitzroy , Melbourne.
A crowded Edinburgh Gardens, Fitzroy , Melbourne. (Photograph by Chris Hopkins)

“The lockdowns have been as strict as they could make them. It comes down now to people’s compliance.”

Professor Booy said the high transmissibility of the virus among frontline workers was driving cases up in Victoria.

“It’s a real struggle. Maybe the compliance of front-line workers can be improved.”

Victoria yesterday recorded its largest daily COVID-19 tally of the current outbreak with 514 new local cases.

Construction workers lose tea rooms

Mr Weimar said tea rooms for construction workers had to close as they posed a “significant risk of transmission”. 

It comes as angry construction workers blocked major roads with tables and chairs across Melbourne this morning, in protest against the new rules. 

Trams and buses are stopped from going through Collins Street in Melbourne's CBD.
Trams and buses are stopped from going through Collins Street in Melbourne’s CBD. (Twitter)

A number of CBD streets were blocked, including King, Lonsdale and Collins streets, as well as roads in Brunswick and Kew. 

Mr Weimar said the closure of tea rooms should not be a big deal to workers.

“If it means you can’t sit next to your mates while you’re having a sandwich, that doesn’t seem a huge burden to bear.”

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