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Covid-19 Australia: Victoria records 190 new cases as Dan Andrews discusses new freedoms for state

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The Covid-19 outbreak in Victoria continues to worsen after the state registered 190 new cases as Daniel Andrews considers giving vaccinated residents more freedoms.

49,548 tests and 35,464 vaccines were administered in the last 24 hours.

The cases come as Victorians get a glimpse of what life could be like once the state meets its Covid-19 vaccination targets.

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews is hatching plans to give vaccinated Victorians more freedom and ‘lock out’ others who refuse to get the shot from venues such as sports stadiums, cinemas and pubs.

Talks are underway with the industry to see how a ‘vaccinated economy’ would work, Mr Andrews confirmed, with the requisite technology to be trialled in regional Victoria after it leaves lockdown.

A digital passport system is being rolled out and linked to the Service Victoria app and the federal government’s vaccination certificate.

Victorians have glimpsed what life could be like once the state meets its COVID-19 vaccination targets

Victoria reported 208 new cases, the highest daily total since August 22, and another death on Friday

Victoria reported 208 new cases, the highest daily total since August 22, and another death on Friday

Andrews also confirmed that the government is working on a home quarantine program to bring home stranded Victorian residents of NSW.

Victoria reported 208 new cases, the highest daily total since Aug. 22, and another death on Friday.

There has been a marked shift in focus from virus case numbers to vaccine numbers in Victoria this week as authorities admitted the state cannot return to Covid zero.

“We’re not going to reduce this to zero. That doesn’t mean the rules don’t follow through. In a way, we need to try even harder,” Andrews said.

The Prime Minister continued to urge people to take 50,000 available AstraZeneca appointments, despite an additional four million Pfizer doses pouring into Australia this month as part of a barter deal with the UK.

As of Monday, an additional 50,000 priority vaccine appointments will also be available to high school students, with pop-up vaccination hubs at several schools.

Most state restrictions will remain in place until at least 70 percent of eligible Victorians have been fully vaccinated, although some reprieve will be granted when 70 percent have received their first dose.

The state was expected to reach that first figure on Sept. 23, but it has since been revised to Sept. 18.

As of Monday, a further 50,000 priority vaccine appointments are available for high school students, with pop-up vaccination hubs at several schools

As of Monday, a further 50,000 priority vaccine appointments are available for high school students, with pop-up vaccination hubs at several schools

“We're not going to reduce this to zero.  That doesn't mean the rules don't follow through.  In a way, we need to try even harder,

“We’re not going to reduce this to zero. That doesn’t mean the rules don’t follow through. In a way, we need to try even harder,” Andrews said

In a bid to raise jab rates, health officials have launched Australia’s first dedicated Covid-19 vaccine bus in regional Victoria.

Goulburn Valley Health has announced that the bus, a partnership with operator Dysons, will travel across the region from early September to deliver both Pfizer and AstraZeneca shots.

Greater Shepparton, Moira Shire, Benalla Shire, Strathbogie Shire, Mitchell Shire, Mansfield Shire, Murrindindi Shire and Campaspe Shire are among the areas frequented by ‘Jabba the Bus’.

The bus, which has three pods and is handicap accessible, will help break through the barriers faced by regional Victorians to get the coronavirus shot, including geographic distance and access to transport.

“The vaccination bus will help us reach isolated communities and enable people to get vaccinated close to where they live,” GV Health chief executive Matt Sharp said in a statement on Friday.

It comes after three more COVID-19 cases related to the Shepparton outbreak were reported Friday, bringing the cluster to 127 active infections.

Mr Andrews also confirmed that the government is working on a home quarantine program to bring home stranded Victorian residents of NSW

Andrews also confirmed that the government is working on a home quarantine program to bring home stranded Victorian residents of NSW

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews reiterated that regional Victoria - excluding Shepparton and environs - could be released from lockdown as early as next week

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews reiterated that regional Victoria – excluding Shepparton and environs – could be released from lockdown as early as next week

About 6,000 people showed up for the region’s 13 tests on Thursday, which is the expected peak for the outbreak.

By 12:30pm on Friday, over 2,000 results had come in and they were all negative.

“There is some work to be done in the coming days to complete that process,” COVID Commander Jeroen Weimar told reporters.

“But I hope to see a significant reduction in primary contacts in Shepparton over the next two days.”

Mr Weimar is confident that the Shepparton outbreak will be eradicated as long as the remaining infected cases and their close contacts continue to follow isolation orders.

“If people follow the rules, do what they’re asked to do, and get help when they need it, we can definitely get things under control,” he said.

The additional health and emergency resources sent to Shepparton to contain the outbreak will become a “template” for how officials tackle key regional clusters in the future, Mr Weimar added.

The additional health and emergency resources sent to Shepparton to contain the outbreak will become a

The additional health and emergency resources sent to Shepparton to contain the outbreak will become a “template” for how officials tackle key regional clusters in the future, Mr Weimar added.

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews reiterated that regional Victoria – excluding Shepparton and environs – could be released from lockdown as early as next week.

In addition, trials could be underway that allow vaccinated residents to enter hotels, pubs and restaurants when the regions open.

“We could do some of those pilots safely in regional Victoria, hopefully, because they’re out of lockdown,” Andrews said.

“Today is not the day for those announcements.”

Meanwhile, the state government has again tightened border restrictions, kicking six Victorian and two NSW local government areas out of the border bubble and banning crossings to use physical recreation facilities.

The list of authorized employees has also been shortened and their testing obligations expanded.

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