Daniel Andrews will finally announce Victoria’s roadmap to freedom on Sunday after abandoning his aim to eliminate Covid-19.
The premier will set out what freedoms will be restored to Melbourne residents in the coming weeks as the state’s vaccination rate steadily increases with 41.44 per cent fully jabbed so far.
But Mr Andrews warned that unlike in NSW which is reducing restrictions based on vaccination rates alone, Victoria will also take into account Covid-19 hospitalisation rates.
Daniel Andrews (pictured) will finally announce Victoria’s roadmap to freedom on Sunday after abandoning his aim to eliminate Covid-19
‘There will be a map that talks about what we are going to do for the rest of September, October and November,’ he told reporters on Tuesday.
‘It will be subject to all sorts of things like how many people are in hospital.’
Mr Andrews said the roadmap ‘will give people a clear sense of what we’re working towards.’
If the plan is similar to NSW’s roadmap then gyms and pubs will be allowed to re-open with distancing requirements when 70 per cent of the state is vaccinated.
It comes as Victoria’s Covid-19 outbreaks continues to grow despite one of the harshest lockdowns in the world.
The state had 445 new cases on bringing the total number of active infections to 3,799.
Of the new cases, only 129 are linked to the rest of the outbreak sparking fears infections will continue to rise as Melburnians endure their sixth week of the city’s gruelling lockdown.
The two deaths include a man in his 20s from Hume in Melbourne’s north, 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, of which 45 are in the ICU and 23 are on a ventilator.
While the latest tally 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 launched a crackdown on construction workers amid concerns the state’s Covid crisis has become a pandemic of the young and vaccinated, with alarming new data revealing the regions with the lowest jab numbers.
The latest federal data from September shows Melbourne City Council area has the lowest vaccination rate of any LGA with a first dose rate of 54.2 per cent followed by the Hume region at 55 per cent, according to Covid Live.
The state government is continuing to develop a roadmap out of lockdown, including a plan to return students to classrooms in term four (pictured, a local exercises in Southbank on Monday)
Statewide, only around 40 per cent of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated and around 65 per cent have had their first dose – after 36,615 vaccines were administered in the past 24 hours.
The lagging vaccination rate places Victoria more than three weeks behind NSW in reaching the 70 per cent double dose target, which the northern state expects to hit in mid-October.
Meanwhile, compliance and vaccination blitzes have been launched across the Victorian building industry, with the sector put on notice it could lose its ability to keep working during lockdowns.
Some 13 per cent of the state’s cases have been traced to building sites, with tradies lashed at Monday’s Covid briefing for regularly ignoring lockdown rules and spreading the virus 20km across Melbourne.
The industry will be subjected to an extraordinary ‘zero tolerance’ Covid crackdown with fifty compliance teams deployed to sites across the state to ensure workers are following mask orders and social distancing properly.
This graph shows the progression of Victoria’s Covid oubreaks as the state recorded 445 new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday
All but 38 of the new infections reside in Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs, which are subject to a three-week vaccination blitz (pictured, health workers at a vaccine hub in Melbourne on Monday)
From July 1, on-the-spot fines for authorised worker breaches increased to up to $1817 for individuals and up to $10,904 for businesses.
Covid-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said an increasing number of cases had been linked to the construction industry, which is also subject to a vaccination blitz and compliance crackdown from Monday.
He identified tearooms of essential workplaces as the ‘most dangerous place’ to contract the virus, given people drop their guard and their face mask to eat and drink.
Mr Weimar said there were six COVID-19 cases connected to an outbreak of V/Line staff, with transmission having occurred in the train driver’s break room.
The outbreak has all but shuttered the state’s regional train network, given 300 workers have been forced to isolate.
Coaches 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 carried out by the state government’s Industry Enforcement and Engagement Operation.
About 20,000 priority Pfizer appointments will made available to construction workers at all sites across Victoria from Monday until September 26.
The Ford Campbellfield site, the Heidelberg Repat, Eagle Stadium in Wyndham, and the former Bunnings in Melton will open for walk-ups for construction workers from 8am until 11am over the next fortnight.
Anyone who works at a site where civil works, building or construction activities take place will be eligible.
‘Our construction industry is critical to our state, but what is even more important is vaccinating each and every Victorian so we can slow the spread of the virus,’ state treasurer Tim Pallas said.
‘The construction sector’s ability to remain open is on a knife’s edge, and to ensure they can keep building, people need to get vaccinated and follow the rules.’
Authorities are also investigating an outbreak at the Fitzroy Community School in Fitzroy North.
Mr Weimar confirmed 31 students and staff have contracted the virus, while some 189 close contacts have been forced into self-isolation.
There are about 60 students enrolled at the school, which describes itself as an ‘independent, alternative primary school’.
The latest statistics show Melbourne City Council has the lowest vaccination rate of any local government area in Victoria, with just 54.2 per cent of residents having received a first dose. Pictured: A couple walk through Melbourne during anti-lockdown protests last month
A ‘zero tolerance’ Covid crackdown on Victoria’s construction industry was launched on Monday, with 13 per cent of the state’s outbreak linked to building sites. Pictured: Construction workers at a Melbourne site on September 3
Health Minister Martin Foley said 87 per cent of active cases were aged under 50, with 585 aged under 19 (pictured, a nearly deserted Bourke Street on Sunday)
Only children of permitted workers and those who are vulnerable are currently allowed to attend school in Melbourne, but the school has reportedly been inviting all parents to send their children to class.
School founder Faye Berryman told ABC News 24 primary-aged children had ‘a strong resilience to COVID’ and needed to be in class for the sake of their mental health.
Mr Foley said the school had been on the health department’s radar and it would take appropriate action once the outbreak was brought 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 put out a single plan. There’s no certainty. There’s no hope,’ he told reporters.
The state government is continuing to develop a roadmap out of lockdown, including a plan to return students to classrooms in term four.
Melburnians will get an extra hour of outdoor activity and the five-kilometre travel radius will be expanded to 10km when 70 per cent of eligible Victorians have had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
By Monday, 66.9 per cent of the eligible Victorian population had received at least a first dose.
There has been no indication of what freedoms will be permitted when more than 70 per cent of the population is double-vaccinated.
VICTORIA’S LGA VACCINATION RATES
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
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