Victoria’s new Covid cases have dropped again to 1,466, about 500 below a peak of 1,965, raising hopes the outbreak might be on the way out.
Falling numbers are likely to be partly caused by the vaccine rollout gathering pace with 59.3 per cent of Victorians fully vaccinated.
Another 36,383 vaccine doses were administered at state-run facilities and the new cases were diagnosed from 68,509 tests.
However, eight people died after testing positive to Covid, and many more fatalities are expected with the greatest strain on hospitals still to come.
But long-suffering Victorians will still be out of lockdown in time for summer, ministers have vowed, as hospitals take unprecedented steps to protect the public from the ongoing Covid outbreak.
Health Minister Martin Foley has promised to let Victorians free of lockdown in time for summer (pictured: people walking through St Kilda on Sunday)
The lockdown is scheduled to end on October 26, but tighter restrictions will remain as Victoria’s roadmap takes a slower path to normality.
Health Minister Martin Foley said he was confident Melbourne would be rid of stay-at-home-orders within weeks, with pubs, shops, restaurants and gyms given the green light to reopen their doors.
Melbourne overtook Buenos Aires as the most locked down country on earth in late September, moving past Argentina’s capital and their 234 days stuck at home, but Mr Foley says the end is on the horizon for the fully-vaccinated.
‘With Victoria preparing to open in time for summer, based on our implementation of the national plan for reopening, we’ll also be launching today a new campaign to remind everyone that your vaccination is your ticket,’ he said on Monday.
Meanwhile, one Victorian hospital is opening up extra intensive care wings in preparation for a spike in cases when the state re-opens, with eight deaths being recorded on Monday.
Melbourne hospitals are creating extra ICU units to deal with an influx of Covid patients as the Delta outbreak ravages the city
Victoria is set to hit the 70 per cent vaccination rate threshold on October 24, nearly two weeks after their New South Wales counterparts who escaped lockdown on Monday.
It too will enjoy an easing of restrictions when that milestone is reached.
The state has battled several Delta outbreaks, with the latest seeing Victoria register an Australian record of 1,965 cases on a single day last week.
Those figures dropped to 1,612 on Monday, with Mr Foley saying they are moving towards installing the roadmap to move out of lockdowns.
‘As we announced as part of the Victorian roadmap to deliver the National Plan and to protect the community and the health system, we know that the safest way to do that is to apply those measures to Victorians who are vaccinated,’ he said.
‘So if you are not vaccinated, these freedoms will not apply in the same way as they will to those Victorians who are vaccinated.’
He also said it’s ‘time to throw open the doors of all our clinics’, calling on healthcare centres to help in the state’s vaccination efforts.
Melbourne overtook Buenos Aires as the most locked down country on earth in late September, moving past Argentina’s capital and their 234 days stuck at home (pictured, a man in the locked down city on Monday)
Royal Melbourne Hospital increased its ICU capacity for Covid patients with 677 people currently battling the virus in healthcare centres
Royal Melbourne Hospital increased its ICU capacity for Covid patients, with 677 people currently battling the virus in wards.
There are 133 in ICU, with 94 breathing through ventilators, prompting hospitals to take the unprecedented measures and open extra wings.
The hospital has opened a 14-person non-Covid unit after being forced to turn a 20-bed air-sealed wing into a Covid facility.
It has also recommissioned the hospital’s old ICU to care for non-Covid ICU patients.
The wing was last used in 2016 but is now helping the hospital handle the influx of hospitalisations as a result of the latest outbreak.
Victoria’s roadmap out of lockdown
When the state hits 70 per cent double vaccination on October 26:
*No restrictions on leaving home and 9pm-5am curfew scrapped with the travel limit increased to 25km
*Masks will remain mandatory both indoors and outdoors
*Year 12 students will return to the classroom from the first week of October
*Kindergarten to Year 2 will then return to school followed by all remaining years which are due to be back by the end of the month
*Early childcare to reopen for children of fully vaccinated parents
*General retail will reopen for outdoor service only with click and collect services to remain available
*Hair salons will reopen for the fully-vaccinated with a limit on five patrons
*Hospitality will reopen for seated and outdoor service only for fully-vaccinated patrons and a capacity limit of 50
*Fully-vaccinated groups can gather outdoors in groups of ten while unvaccinated groups will be capped at five
*Entertainment venues will be reopened for 50 fully vaccinated people for outdoor services only
*Groups of 50 fully vaccinated or 10 unvaccinated people will be able to attend outdoor weddings
Groups of 50 fully vaccinated or 20 unvaccinated people will be able to attend outdoor funerals
When the state hits 80 per cent double vaccination on November 5:
*Ten people including dependents will be allowed inside homes with masks only to be required while indoors
*Pubs, restaurants and cafes can open for seated service only, with a cap of 150 fully vaccinated people inside and 500 outdoors
*Indoor dining will also be capped at 150 people while 30 people will be permitted to gather outside
*Gyms will reopen to the fully vaccinated with indoor community sport to be permitted for the minimum number required
*Victorians will still be asked to work from home if possible but will be allowed to travel to work if they are fully-vaccinated
*Hair salons, beauty and personal care services will be available to the double-jabbed and all retail stores can reopen
*Early childcare education will reopen with all students to return to school with additional safety measures in place
*Weddings, funerals and religious services will return for 150 double-dosed guests indoors and 500 outdoors