Victoria reaches its 70 per cent vaccination milestone
Victoria has reached its first vaccination milestone with over 70 per cent of its eligible population partially vaccinated.
After a record day of 43,993 jabs being delivered at state-run hubs, Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed that the state has reached its target of 70 per cent of eligible Victorians who are vaccinated with at least one dose.
However, authorities are increasingly concerned about the rising cases across Melbourne’s southern and eastern suburbs.
The Victorian Government has recorded 510 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and one death this Friday, bringing the death toll of the current outbreak to nine.
Despite 95 per cent of new cases being in Melbourne’s north and western suburbs, Minister Foley remained concerned about the increase of cases.
“A particular focus of concern has been the steady growth in cases in both the eastern and southeastern suburbs, with 38 new cases today and some 329 active cases across that wider region,” he told reporters.
“We want to make sure that everyone in those areas gets tested at the first signs of symptoms.”
The Victorian Government will be establishing pop-up vaccination hubs at Palm Plaza in Dandenong and Hallam mosque. Another new vaccination site at Eastland Shopping Centre will soon be giving to 1200 jabs a day.
Friday’s new infections have brought the state’s total number of active cases to 4,697.
Authorities have linked 124 of the new cases to existing outbreaks. However, the source of the other 386 infections is under investigation, with 55,476 tests currently being processed.
COVID Commander Jeroen Weimar said 85 per cent of new cases are from those under the age of 50, with one-quarter of the group in their 20s.
“This continues to be an outbreak of young and active people,” he said.
276 of the new cases are located in Melbourne’s north and 185 cases were located in the west. Nine new regional cases were recorded as well, including three cases found in the locked-down city of Ballarat after a “strong day of testing” on Thursday.
“I ask the community in Ballarat to continue to come forward and get tested,” COVID Commander Weimar said.
About 120,000 doctors, nurses, paramedics, and allied health workers have issued a joint call through their unions, urging the Victorian Government to prioritise the health system and its workforce over easing restrictions.
The group called for “accurate modelling” on expected ambulance demand, hospitalisations, intensive care patients and deaths as they are already burnt out and are afraid of the rising cases of COVID-19 patients in hospitals.
Health workers are concerned that the state’s hospitals will be full of COVID-19 patients once restrictions ease, limiting access to beds for other non-COVID patients.
Following Victoria’s 70 per cent vaccination milestone, modest changes to lockdown restrictions for Melbourne and Ballarat will come into effect at 11.59 pm tonight.
The changes will allow Victorians to meet one person from another household for a walk or picnic, double outdoor exercise time and expand the travel limit to 10 kilometres.
Fully vaccinated adults will also be permitted to see five people from two households, plus dependents.
With news from AAP.