Regional Victoria on track to ease restrictions despite state recording highest daily COVID cases in a year

Victoria records 246 new locally acquired COVID cases but still on track to reach jab milestone early

Coronavirus
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State records 125 mystery cases but on path to reach jab milestone.

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Victoria recorded 246 new locally acquired COVID cases on Monday, the state's highest number in over a year.

Only 121 were linked to current outbreaks.

Of the new cases, 129 were in the northern suburbs, 71 in the west, 21 in the south-east, nine in the inner-city and inner south, eight in the east, two in the Mornington Peninsula, one in greater Geelong, four in Shepparton and one case remains under investigation.

There are now 1,619 active cases of coronavirus across Victoria.

Over 80 per cent of cases are under 50 years of age. In particular, 252 of the cases are aged between zero and nine years old, 260 between 10-19, 411 in their 20s and 262 in their 30s.

There are 92 people in hospital, 26 in intensive care and 14 on a ventilator.

Importantly, Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed regional Victoria was still on track to ease restrictions this week.

"As the Premier and the chief health officer have indicated, there are still plans for not a snapback, but certainly an easing of restrictions for regional Victoria with the likely exception of the Shepparton, Goulburn Valley area, because of the cluster there," Mr Foley said.

"And that will be focusing around support measures, wellbeing measures, and a gradual easing. It shouldn't be seen as a snapback to where we were, say, in April or May, but certainly a recognition that the chain of transmission in the regions are different and in most of the regions very different to what they are in metropolitan Melbourne.

COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar.

COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar.

"And the regions may risk, continue to be, as we have seen with the truck drivers and others, a combination of importing the virus particularly from New South Wales and making sure that the metropolitan Melbourne leaks don't get into our regions."

The number of new COVID cases comes off the back of 42,258 test results and 29,955 vaccine doses were administered at state-run clinics on Sunday.

Mr Foley said yesterday saw the highest number of vaccines administered on a Sunday, bringing the total number of jabs delivered through state-run clinics to 2.61 million. He said the numbers were "strong".

"We have now at 60.9 per cent of first doses admitted to people over 16 in Victoria," Mr Foley said.

"That's a good number, it's well on the way to 70. We have just got to keep the work going to get us there as soon as possible. We are, of course, well on the way to our million target over five weeks, but we still have another 316,000 vaccines to go to get us to that milestone."

An additional rent relief package was also announced today.

The program will provide a one-off grant of up to $1,500 to Victorians who have lost income as a result of the COVID pandemic. The homelessness program will also be extended.

The story Regional Victoria on track to ease restrictions despite state recording highest daily COVID cases in a year first appeared on The Standard.

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