Victoria records 1355 new cases, 11 deaths amid eased restrictions

For our free coronavirus pandemic coverage, learn more here.

Victoria has recorded 1355 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths as Melbourne wakes to its first full day of eased restrictions for many retail and entertainment venues and travellers across the state take to the roads after the border between the city and regions was lifted at 6pm on Friday.

There are 747 people in hospital with the virus across the state, with 135 in intensive care and 83 on a ventilator.

Shoppers flooded Chadstone stores after retailers threw open their doors at 6pm on Friday. Credit:Chris Hopkins

Just over 79 per cent of the eligible population over 16 years old is fully vaccinated.

More than 64,480 test results were returned on Friday, with 22,455 COVID-19 jabs delivered at state-run vaccination centres. There are now 21,095 active cases in Victoria.

From 6pm on Friday, metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria were reunited, with the outdoor mask mandate repealed, and gyms, retail and entertainment venues allowed to reopen.

Many Melburnians headed straight for the regions, with caravan parks and camping grounds filling up early. However, travellers were urged to reconsider visits to areas experiencing power outages and warned that Friday’s storm might have created dangerous conditions at some parks and campsites.

Within half an hour of opening up at 6pm, customers were already lining up outside Hill of Content bookstore in Melbourne’s CBD. Despite the store’s plan to close by 8pm, management extended their hours owing to the steady stream of customers.

Employee Anna McShane-Potts said it had been uplifting to see so many people pour into the bookshop after a tough couple of years of on and off closures.

“The first customer that came in through the door said ‘I’ve been buying books online all this time, but it’s so nice to come in touch them and see them’,” Ms McShane-Potts said.

“We’ve been in a pandemic two years now and to still have loyal customers coming back, it’s beautiful.”

Karl Sagrabb and Anna McShane-Potts enjoy a glass of bubbly on opening night at Hill of Content. Credit:Marta Pascual Juanola

The latest tier-1 exposure sites include an Indian restaurant in Melbourne’s north, a fast food restaurant in the Brimbank Shopping Centre and a pub in Colac, 150 kilometres south-west of the Melbourne CBD.

Taste of India in Epping has been listed for an exposure on October 24, while the Nando’s in Deer Park was visited by a positive case on October 18 and October 19.

The Colac Central Hotel is listed for an exposure on October 23. Anyone who visited a tier-1 exposure in the times listed by the Department of Health must quarantine for 14 days and get tested immediately.

Federal Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly announced earlier this week that when Victoria hits 80 per cent of the eligible population fully vaccinated – which health authorities believe will happen on Saturday – the state’s hotspot declaration will be removed.

“Under the National Plan agreed to by all First Ministers, the Commonwealth’s hotspot declaration automatically ceases within a particular state or territory once the 80 per cent fully vaccinated rate has been reached within that jurisdiction, with hotspot-related support to cease two weeks thereafter,” a statement said.

“Professor Kelly congratulates and thanks the people of Victoria for their efforts to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their community.”

Get a daily update on the climate summit that will shape our future. Sign up to our Clear Air newsletter here.

Most Viewed in National

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article