Daniel Andrews will finally announce Victoria’s roadmap to freedom on Sunday after abandoning his goal of eliminating Covid-19.
The Prime Minister will outline what freedoms will be restored to Melbourne residents in the coming weeks as the state’s vaccination rate rises steadily with 41.44 percent fully pricked so far.
But Mr Andrews warned that unlike in NSW, which is lowering restrictions based on vaccination coverage alone, Victoria will also take Covid-19 hospitalization figures into account.
Daniel Andrews (pictured) will finally announce Victoria’s roadmap to freedom on Sunday after abandoning his goal of eliminating Covid-19
“There’s going to be a map that says what we’re going to do for the rest of September, October and November,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
‘It depends on all sorts of things, such as how many people are in the hospital.’
Andrews said the roadmap “will give people a clear idea of what we are working towards.”
If the plan is similar to NSW’s roadmap, gyms and pubs will be allowed to reopen with waiver requirements when 70 percent of the state is vaccinated.
It comes as Victoria’s Covid-19 outbreaks continue to grow, despite one of the toughest lockdowns in the world.
The state had 445 new cases and brought the total number of active infections to 3,799.
Of the new cases, only 129 have been linked to the rest of the outbreak, raising fears that the number of infections will continue to rise as the Melburnians make it through their sixth week of the city’s grueling lockdown.
The two dead include a man in his 20s from Hume in northern Melbourne, who died at home, and a woman in her 80s from the western suburb of Brimbank.
There are now 158 Victorians in hospital with the virus, 45 of them in the ICU and 23 on a ventilator.
While the latest number is a slight drop from Monday’s 473 infections – the highest daily total in this outbreak – authorities have warned Victorians to remain vigilant, as tearooms in essential workplaces pose the greatest risk of transmission.
Officials have cracked down on construction workers amid concerns that the Covid crisis in the state has turned into a pandemic of youth and vaccinees, with alarming new data revealing the regions with the lowest vaccination rates.
The latest federal data from September shows that the Melbourne City Council area has the lowest vaccination coverage of all LGAs with an initial dose of 54.2 percent, followed by the Hume region at 55 percent, according to Covid Live.
The state government continues to develop a roadmap to get out of lockdown, including a plan to return students to fourth-grade classrooms (pictured, a local exercise in Southbank on Monday)
Statewide, only about 40 percent of eligible Victorians have been fully vaccinated and about 65 percent have had their first dose — after having administered 36,615 vaccines in the past 24 hours.
Falling vaccination rates have left Victoria more than three weeks behind NSW in meeting the 70 percent double dose target, which the northern state expects to reach by mid-October.
Meanwhile, compliance and vaccination blitzes have been launched across the Victorian construction industry, with the industry being informed that it could lose its ability to continue working during lockdowns.
About 13 percent of the state’s cases can be traced back to construction sites, with traditions being tied up during 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.
This chart shows the progression of Victoria’s Covid outbreaks as the state registered 445 new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm Monday
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)
As of July 1, onsite fines for violations by authorized employees have increased to $1817 for individuals and to $10,904 for businesses.
Covid-19 commander Jeroen Weimar said an increasing number of cases have been linked to the construction sector, 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.
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.
VICTORIA’S CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY COMPLIANCE BLITZ
A four-week compliance blitz will be conducted by the state government’s Industry Enforcement and Engagement Operation.
From Monday to September 26, approximately 20,000 Pfizer priority appointments will be made available to construction workers at all locations in Victoria.
The Ford Campbellfield site, the Heidelberg Repat, Eagle Stadium in Wyndham and the former Bunnings in Melton will open from 8am to 11am for construction workers over the next two weeks.
Anyone who works in a location where civil, building or construction work takes place is eligible.
“Our construction industry is critical to our state, but more importantly vaccinate every Victorian so we can slow the spread of the virus,” said state treasurer Tim Pallas.
“The construction industry’s ability to stay open is at the cutting edge and to ensure they can keep building, people need to get vaccinated and abide by the rules.”
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’.
The latest statistics show that Melbourne City Council has the lowest vaccination coverage of any local government area in Victoria, with just 54.2 per cent of residents receiving a first dose. Pictured: A couple walks through Melbourne last month during anti-lockdown protests
A ‘zero tolerance’ Covid crackdown on the construction industry in Victoria was launched on Monday, with 13 percent of the outbreak in the state linked to construction sites. Pictured: Construction workers at a Melbourne site on September 3
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)
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.
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.
VICTORIA’S LGA VACCINATION PRICES
The 10 LGAs with the lowest rates
First dose Fully vaccinated
The 10 LGAs with the Highest Rates
First dose Fully vaccinated
Source: Covid Live