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Daniel Andrews will make Victorians wait another day to find out when the state’s fifth lockdown will end, as 11 fresh cases are recorded.
The Victorian premier told reporters on Sunday morning that health experts will have to look at the number of new infections on Monday before they decide whether restrictions will be eased on Tuesday, as planned.
‘Hopefully we could be in a position to ease some of these restrictions and rules from midnight on Tuesday, but we need to see what tomorrow’s numbers look like,’ he said.
Chief health officer Brett Sutton said ‘several’ of the state’s 179 cases are in hospital, two are in intensive care, and one is on a ventilator.
All fresh cases recorded on Sunday were in quarantine throughout their period of infection, and they are all linked to current outbreaks.
Mr Sutton also slammed everyone who threw a ‘self-indulgent tantrum’ by attending Melbourne’s anti-lockdown ‘super-spreader’ protest on Saturday.
‘It’s very frustrating at this critical point in time,’ he said.
Police made six arrests in the city and are hunting for a protester who allegedly threw a large bollard at a mounted officer.
The charges stemming from that protest included drug possession and refusing to provide contact details to police and at least one was charged with assaulting an emergency worker.
A further 70 demonstrators in Melbourne face fines but police believe that number will increase.
Victoria managed to administer 17,370 vaccine doses in the 24 hours to Sunday, with 32,385 virus tests conducted for the same period.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said on Saturday the state was ‘on track’ for a planned easing of restrictions on Tuesday but declined to confirm it.
Victoria recorded 12 new locally acquired cases on Saturday, 10 of them in quarantine throughout their entire infectious period and also all linked to current outbreaks.
The numbers continue an encouraging downward trend in new diagnoses after 14 cases were reported on Friday and 26 on Thursday.
Prof Sutton introduced a new travel designation for NSW late on Friday, making the whole state an ‘extreme risk zone’ backdated to July 9.
This makes it difficult for Victorians in NSW to come home unless they get a rare exemption or have a Specified Worker Permit.
‘It’s very strict in terms of the movement of people across the border,’ he said.
Asked on Saturday whether Victoria could expect an easing of its own restrictions on Tuesday, as scheduled, Prof Sutton said the signs were positive but he declined to commit to it.
Health Minister Martin Foley insists the risk designation of NSW is a natural progression of attempts to protect Victoria and not to do with Premier Daniel Andrews’ call for a ‘ring of steel’ blockade around Sydney.
He also moved on Saturday to hose down the idea of tensions with NSW over a lack of willingness to redirect vaccines to Sydney’s virus-ridden suburbs.
Mr Foley said Victoria and other states had ‘legitimate demands’ on scarce vaccines for July and August which had already been allocated to them based on population.
However he welcomed recent reports of spare Pfizer doses in the national stockpile and said he’d be happy for those to be sent to NSW.
Meanwhile an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Saturday was brought to a violent end as police used pepper spray to clear the crowd.
Thousands of protesters of all ages chanted ‘freedom’ as they gathered outside Victoria’s Parliament House.
‘We can all argue the merits or otherwise of various approaches to managing transmission, but let’s not pretend that ‘marching for freedom’ will actually deliver the precious freedom that we all need and desire,’ Prof Sutton later tweeted.
As of Saturday, more than 22,000 Victorians were listed as primary close contacts isolating at home, while about 2500 MCG contacts were preparing to be released from 14 days of confinement.