Victoria has recorded two deaths and 445 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number of active infections to 3952 as the Delta outbreak spirals out of control in the state.
Of the new cases, 129 have been linked to the rest of the outbreak as Melburnians enter the sixth week of the city’s grueling lockdown.
The latest daily count is a slight reprieve from the 473 cases reported Monday, with authorities warning that tearooms in essential workplaces pose the greatest risk of transmission.
The construction industry in Victoria has been advised that it could lose its permitted worker status, with 13 percent of the state’s cases related to construction sites.
Traditions were flogged at Monday’s Covid briefing for regularly flouting lockdown rules and spreading the virus 20km across Melbourne.
The industry will be subject to an extraordinary ‘zero tolerance’ Covid crackdown, with 50 compliance teams deployed to locations across the state to ensure employees are following mask orders and social distancing appropriately.
The state government continues to develop a roadmap to get out of lockdown, including a plan to return students to classrooms in the fourth semester (pictured, a local exercise in St Kilda on Monday)
As of July 1, onsite fines for violations by authorized employees have increased to $1817 for individuals and to $10,904 for businesses.
Meanwhile, officials are concerned as the Victoria outbreak is turning into a pandemic of young people and the unvaccinated, with just 30,032 doses of vaccine delivered on Monday.
All but 38 infections are on Monday in Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs, which have been subject to a three-week vaccination blitz.
Health Secretary Martin Foley said 87 percent of the active cases were under the age of 50, of which 585 were under the age of 19.
“This remains a pandemic of young people and unvaccinated,” he told reporters on Monday.
Mr Foley said 89 percent of the 157 Victorians battling COVID-19 in hospital had not been vaccinated, while 11 percent had received one dose.
COVID-19 commander Jeroen Weimar said an increasing number of cases have been linked to the construction industry, which is also subject to a vaccination blitz and crackdown on compliance as of Monday.
He identified tearooms of essential workplaces as the ‘most dangerous place’ to contract the virus, as people drop their vigilance and face masks to eat and drink.
All but 38 new infections are in Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs, which have been subject to a three-week vaccination blitz (pictured, health workers at a vaccine hub in Melbourne on Monday)
Mr Weimar said there were six COVID-19 cases linked to an outbreak of V/Line personnel, with the transfer taking place in the driver’s break room.
The outbreak has nearly shut down the state’s regional train network as 300 workers have been forced to isolate themselves.
Buses will continue to replace the majority of V/Line services on Tuesday.
Authorities are also investigating an outbreak at Fitzroy Community School in Fitzroy North.
Mr Weimar confirmed that 31 students and staff have contracted the virus, while about 189 close contacts have been forced into self-isolation.
There are approximately 60 pupils enrolled at the school, which describes itself as an ‘independent, alternative primary school’.
Only children of permitted workers and the vulnerable are currently allowed to attend school in Melbourne, but the school has reportedly invited all parents to send their children to class.
The school’s founder, Faye Berryman, told ABC News that 24 elementary school children had “strong resistance to COVID” and needed to be in the classroom for their mental health.
Foley said the school had been on the health department’s radar and would take appropriate action once the outbreak was under control.
He would not be drawn on whether the school should be fined or deregistered.
Health Secretary Martin Foley said 87 percent of active cases were under 50, with 585 under 19 (pictured, a nearly deserted Bourke Street on Sunday)
Opposition education spokesman David Hodgett said he did not support breaking the rules but understood the school’s actions
“The government has not released any plans. There is no certainty. There is no hope,” he told reporters.
The state government continues to develop a roadmap to get out of lockdown, including a plan to return students to classrooms in the fourth semester.
Melburnians will get an extra hour of outdoor activity, and the three-mile travel radius will be expanded to 10 miles when 70 percent of eligible Victorians have had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
By Monday, 66.9 percent of the eligible Victorian population had received at least a first dose.
There is no indication of what freedoms are allowed if more than 70 percent of the population is being double vaccinated.