24 Sep, 2021 01:00 AM4 minutes to read
Wednesday marked the third consecutive day of protests in Melbourne, with protesters converging at the Shrine of Remembrance in a tense stand-off with police. Video / Sky News Australia
Victoria has recorded 733 new locally acquired cases as Melbourne’s sixth lockdown struggles to slow down the spread of the virus.
One new death was also announced by the health department, taking the death toll of the outbreak to 21.
Experts have warned that infections will continue to climb and Victoria will soon join NSW in recording daily increases above 1000.
University of Sydney Professor Robert Booy said he fears Victorian cases are heading out of control.
“It’s a worry, it’s not in control and it’s a real lesson to everyone else,” he told The Today Show on Friday.
“I can see this going to 1000 just as NSW did – peaking at a largish number and falling again.”
Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton has also warned infections haven’t peaked and will continue to rise.
“We haven’t peaked, unfortunately,” Sutton said last week.
“The risk of it getting to 1000 is real. The modelling and everything we know in relation to our current vaccination coverage would suggest that cases will continue to increase – vaccination alone won’t mean that there’s a peak at the 400s.”
The virus continues to spread rapidly through Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs with 83 per cent of new cases originating from those areas.
About 84 per cent of all active cases in Victoria are people under 50 years of age, while almost a quarter of cases are people in their 20s.
There are now 7160 active cases in the state.
By the time Melbourne’s lockdown ends on October 26 once it reaches its target of fully vaccinating 70 per cent of the eligible population, it will have spent 267 days in lockdown.
That isn’t just a long time by global standards. It’s the longest amount of time any city has spent under such stringent restrictions.
Victorian Police have arrested hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters in Melbourne over the past week. Photo / Getty ImagesNSWNew South Wales has recorded 1043 new local cases of Covid-19 and 11 deaths, taking the death toll in the current outbreak to 277.
There are currently 1186 cases admitted to hospital in NSW, with 232 people in intensive care, 110 of whom require ventilation.
As vaccination rates climb across the state, fully vaccinated residents could be enjoying eased restrictions sooner than expected.
NSW is now expected to hit its 70 per cent double dose vaccination target by October 7, with industry groups being briefed for an October 11 official reopening date, according to The Australian.
These revised dates put the state on track to reopen two weeks earlier than originally expected, with October 25 initially earmarked for reopening.
Under NSW’s roadmap to freedom, the lockdown will be lifted for fully vaccinated residents from the Monday after the vaccination target is hit.
Some of the eased restrictions will include:
• Having five fully vaccinated visitors in your home and being able to gather outdoors in groups of 20.
• The reopening of hospitality venues, retail stores, hairdressers, gyms and sporting facilities.
• The reopening of major outdoor recreation facilities, such as stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos.
• Allowing up to 50 guests at weddings and funerals. Places of worship will also be allowed to reopen.
• Domestic travel, including trips to regional NSW, will be permitted.
Almost two-thirds of people in NSW support the plan ease restrictions once the 70 per cent target is met, according to a survey for The Sydney Morning Herald by research company Resolve Strategic.
The polling reveals 65 per cent of people support opening up when vaccination rates hit 70 per cent. 17 per cent are opposed and 18 per cent are neutral or don’t know.
Resolve director Jim Reed said the polling showed a majority of NSW residents felt comfortable about coming out of lockdown.
“Voters in NSW certainly seem to be getting behind the plan to open up, perhaps because they have suffered the longest restrictions this time around and are the furthest down the vaccination path,” he said.