The roadmap out of lockdown has been revealed as Victoria records 120 new local cases
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has today revealed that Victoria’s lockdown will be extended beyond midnight on Thursday as the state’s cases of COVID-19 continue to climb. The lockdown extension will remain until 11:59pm on Thursday 23 September however Andrews has also announced a very, very ‘modest’ easing of restrictions as promised and a road map out of the state’s sixth lockdown with the likelihood of easing major restrictions in regional Victoria next week.
This comes as Victoria records 120 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, 64 of which have been linked to existing outbreaks and 56 are under investigation by our public health team. Only 20 of today’s new cases were in isolation during their infectious period.
This is the first time the state’s daily cases have been in the triple digits since 110 cases were detected on September 2 last year at the tail end of Victoria’s devastating second wave. Alongside the rising case numbers, there were also two deaths that were reported late yesterday and included in today’s numbers. These are the first deaths in the state this year.
In identifying these cases, Victoria processed 56,501 test results on Tuesday, when 33,455 doses of vaccine were delivered at state-run sites.
“That’s close to 2.5 million doses being administered through our state-run centres and more than 5 million doses delivered across Victoria,” Andrews said.
“We’re now more than halfway through our target of 1 million vaccinations over five weeks.”
The key takeaways
- Playgrounds to reopen and changes to childcare from midnight tomorrow night
- The roadmap out of lockdown has been revealed as Victoria records 120 new local cases
- Regional Victoria to see easing of restrictions next week
From midnight tomorrow night, Wednesday, September 2, playgrounds in Victoria will reopen and changes will be made to childcare. Playgrounds will be for children under 12 with only one parent or carer, and adults should not remove their masks to eat or drink. Playgrounds will also have QR codes for checking in. In-home care – like babysitters – will also be expanded to school-aged children but only if both parents are authorised workers.
“So, firstly, from midnight tomorrow night, the chief health officer has advised that playgrounds can reopen,” Andrews revealed.
“Also the chief health officer has advised that from midnight tomorrow night, some of the in-home child care arrangements that had been disrupted by rule changes will be able to tidy that up and have some of those what are principally long-standing arrangements reinstated where families have authorised workers in their household.”
That’s all to report in terms of changes effective from midnight tomorrow night. Everything else has to stay in place until on or about the 23rd of September when we get first dose 70 per cent across our state, which is when more significant changes will be made.
“That’s a significant milestone. And it’s at that point that the chief health officer had advised that it will be safe for us to do the following: Expand the 5km radius to 10km for shopping and for exercise.
“It will also be it safe for us to extend the time to exercise from 2 hours to three hours per day.
“It will also be safe for outdoor communal gym equipment and skate parks and things of that nature to reopen.
“Outdoor personal training will also be allowed with up to 2 people plus the trainer.
“Child-minding for school-aged children will be permitted in terms of some further changes there, real estate, private inspections of unoccupied premises for a new purchase or end of a lease will be permitted.
“There’ll be rules applied to that. Construction sites will be able to increase to 50% of their capacity where 90% of their workforce have received at least one vaccine dose.”
As for schools, Year 12 exams have been moved to October 5. The General Achievement Test (GAT) will be held on October 5.
From Tuesday 7 September until Friday 17 September we will put in place a priority vaccination program. By that time, it’s expected all Year 12 students will have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Face to face learning is out for Victorian students for the rest of term three though. Next week, there should be some guidance on what term four looks like.
In some good news for regional Victoria, Andrews says it is very possible the lockdown (possibly with the exception of Shepparton) could end in most regional areas next week.
“If we put Shepparton to one side for one moment and think about the rest of regional Victoria, we think we will be able to end the lockdown in the rest of regional Victoria next week.
“Exactly when, we’ll confirm as soon as we can.”
However, he says there’s going to be “substantial” and “significant” restrictions in place once that lockdown lifts. Melburnians won’t be able to go regional unless they have to.
Andrews has made it clear that COVID zero will not be possible in Victoria, and this is now a race to 80 per cent.
“We have thrown everything at this, but it is now clear to us that we here not going to drive these numbers down, they’re instead going to increase.
“Now it’s up to us to make sure they don’t increase too fast and they don’t increase too much relative to the number of people who are getting vaccinated every single day every single week. I much prefer to be here to announce that we’re opening up. There’ll be a time for that, but it simply can’t be before we get to 70% first dose and 80% double dose.
“There are some things we can do along the way. I have announced some of them today.
“We will look very carefully at whether there is more that we can do and if we can do that safely, then that will add to the list for the 22nd or 23rd of September.
“Until then, please get tested as soon as you have symptoms. Please follow these rules, they’re about your safety as much as anyone else’s.
“They’re about making sure our nurses and doctors don’t have more work to do and, please, go online and book a vaccination appointment, talk to your pharmacist, talk to your GP. There’s vaccines there available. Let’s use up all those appointments.
“This is a race to 80.”
Andrews says right now there are more than 70,000 AstraZeneca appointments available in state clinics.
“2.6 million doses of AstraZeneca have been administered in our state over the last few months. This is a choice that literally millions of Victorians are making,” he says.
“It is a safe vaccine, it is an effective vaccine. It is the vaccine that is available now and that means for the vast majority of people, it is the best vaccine right now.”
There are now 900 active coronavirus cases across Victoria.
You can read the Premier’s statement here.
If you suspect you may have coronavirus (COVID-19) call the dedicated hotline 1800 675 398 – open 24 hours, 7 days – and get tested.