Victoria has reached 70% first dose vaccination milestone with Dan Andrews revealing minor easing of restrictions

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Victoria has reached 70% first dose vaccination milestone with Dan Andrews revealing minor easing of restrictions

Changes have been made for both Melbourne and regional Victoria.

Premier Daniel Andrews has revealed that Victoria will hit its 70 per cent first dose vaccination target today, ahead of schedule, and has announced a minor easing of restrictions for Melburnians and regional Victoria from 11:59pm tonight and changes to the construction industry.

This news comes as 514 new local Covid-19 cases were detected overnight, 148 of which are currently linked to ongoing outbreaks. It brings active cases across the state to 4,370.

There have been three new cases in Ballarat since the local government area entered lockdown overnight, bringing the total number of active cases to six, with more cases expected to be detected in the coming days. 182 people are currently being treated in hospital, including 51 in intensive care and 29 on a ventilator. Of yesterday’s hospitalisations, 87% were not vaccinated, 12% were partially vaccinated and one person was fully vaccinated.

The key takeaways

  • Restrictions will be eased in Melbourne and regional Victoria
  • Victoria will hit their 70 per cent first dose target today
  • Construction workers will not be allowed to cross between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria

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Some restrictions will be eased for those in lockdown in Melbourne from 11:59pm on Friday, September 17, including:

  • Outdoor socialisation will be allowed. No vaccines or one dose: groups of two. Fully vaccinated: groups of five (but from two households)
  • An increase of the radius for shopping and exercise from 5 to 10 kilometres
  • An increase of exercise time from two to four hours
  • The reopening of outdoor communal gym equipment and skate parks
  • Personal training with up to two people plus the trainer
  • In-home childcare extended to families where just one parent is an essential worker
  • Real estate inspections for new purchases and ending leases
  • An increase of construction staff from 25 to 50 per cent, where 90 per cent of those staff are vaccinated
  • Up to five people will be able to attend an entertainment venue or physical recreation facility for the purposes of broadcast of a performance, class or concert.

“We know this is what the community is craving, the notion of being able to see people they love and care for, the notion of being able to visit with other people that has to be done safely,” Andrews said.

“That’s why the chief health officer has recommended and cabinet has endorsed that for this new category of outdoor social interaction, one person may meet with another person not from their household for a picnic or another outdoor activity regardless of whether they are vaccinated.

“Those who are fully vaccinated can meet in a group of up to five adults plus their dependents from as many as two households.”

As for regional Victoria (excluding Ballarat) changes 11:59pm on Friday, September 17, include:

  • Tour transport to open with up to 10 people per vehicle
  • Indoor physical recreation facilities to open with 10 people indoors and 20 outdoor per venue
  • Pools open with up to 50 people outdoor and 20 people indoors. Spas, saunas and steam rooms remain closed.
  • Hydrotherapy can go ahead

“We have more cases today but we have a very high test and vaccine number,” Andrews said.

“We said we wanted to do a million jabs in five weeks. We beat that. We have done that ahead of time. Thank you to every Victorian who has been part of that. We said when we got to 70% first dose there’ll be modest but meaningful things. That’s what we are announcing today.

“You’d like to do more, but we have more cases today than we have had for a very long time. We have more people in hospital than we have had for a very long time and we have to balance this out. We’re not 70% double dose but single dose. There is a big difference with that.”

Further announcements on the roadmap out of lockdown will be made on Sunday.

Alongside these changes, Andrews revealed that construction workers will not be allowed to cross between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria from 11:59pm on Friday.

Premier Daniel Andrews says movement from construction workers was a risk to regional communities and it was no longer safe.

“They’re not easy decisions to make but there is no alternative,” he said.

Vaccines will also be mandatory for Victorian construction workers. Those who work in the sector will need to get their first dose by next Thursday.

Daniel Andrews says there will be some limited medical exemptions but: “That industry needs to take this seriously.”