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Victoria recorded 1355 new local COVID-19 cases today, the lowest daily total in weeks – on the last live daily update from officials.

COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said that the state’s numbers are dropped – as he said the daily 11am press conference was the last after months.

A total of 11 people died with the virus in the state, with Melbourne given new freedoms last night including shops reopening.

He added that authorities will no longer hold daily COVID press conferences after today, but data will still be released daily and officials will front the media when necessary.

 Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews looks on as Jeroen Weimar, Victorian COVID-19 Commander speaks to the media.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews looks on as Jeroen Weimar, Victorian COVID-19 Commander speaks to the media during an earlier update.. (Getty)

“A huge thanks to the online audience for these events over many, many months”, he said.

“We really appreciate your attention, your energy, your engagement with the conversations we’ve been having.”

There are 747 people being treated with the virus in hospital, which is slightly below the seven day average. A total of 135 of those are in the intensive care unit.

Mr Weimar said there are 21,000 active COVID-19 cases across the state, and those hospitalised continue to be young and unvaccinated.

Two-thirds of the new cases are people aged under 40, and the other third are aged under 20.

He said 18 per cent of today’s cases are children under 10.

“This continues to be cases predominantly in our unvaccinated communities and predominantly affecting younger Victorians,” he said.

Cases rise in the regions as school tests rolled out

Mr Weimar said that cases are growing in Victoria’s the state’s regions.

COVID-19 cases are rising in Victoria’s regions including in places like the border towns of Albury and Wodonga. (The Age)

“We are also seeing an upswing in the cases in regional Victoria. 280 cases today in regional Victoria locations,” he said.

“Over 20 per cent of the cases reported (are) now in regional Victoria.

“A week ago that was around 14 per cent, a week before that it was under 10 per cent. So we are seeing this predicted increase of cases.”

He said school children, especially in border towns, will be given rapid tests.

“We are also working closely with colleagues in NSW Health on a schools response and there will be significant number of rapid antigen tests made available over the weekend, in Albury and Wodonga to help track down and identify any areas of transmission we might have.”

More testing options available

Mr Weimar told people to buy some.

“Stick them in a drawer at home, if you feel symptomatic, you can use the test to provide you that extra bit of reassurance either you are OK or maybe you are not OK,” Mr Weimar said.

Mr Weimar warned that if anybody gets a positive result they should go for a PCR test at a testing site, but the pair are both tools to be used in conjunction.

In this photo, an illustration of a COVID-19 rapid antigen test kit is pictured. Supermarkets around Australia will soon start to roll them out for sale.
Rapid antigen tests will be stocked in supermarkets. (Getty)

Shops reopen as restrictions eased

Melbourne residents are finally allowed to travel to regional areas, shop in non-essential retail stores and gather in larger groups, after further restrictions were eased at 6pm last night.

People lined up to pack into shops as the reopening time arrived, unable to wait any longer.

Shoppers in Bourke Street mall in Melbourne as shops reopened.
Shoppers in Bourke Street mall in Melbourne as shops reopened. (Getty)
People flock to Melbourne’s CBD as further restrictions are wound back. (Getty)

Gyms and entertainment venues have also reopened, though with capacity limits.

Non-essential retail stores are now allowed to reopen. (Getty)

Public events will be able to restart for up to 5000 people who are fully vaccinated and masks must only now be worn indoors.

A total of 78.7 per cent of people in the state are fully vaccinated.

From 6pm yesterday, face masks are no longer required outdoors, people can travel freely around the state and retail, entertainment venues and gyms can reopen for fully vaccinated patrons. (Getty)

In pictures: Melbourne celebrates lockdown’s end at long last

Source: 9News

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