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Vic roadmap unveiled, 507 new virus cases


By Benita Kolovos in Melbourne
Source: AAP

Melbourne’s controversial curfew will be scrapped, with people able to travel up to 25 kilometres and have a beer outside the pub once 70 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

But the most substantial changes to the state’s restrictions won’t be made until 80 per cent of people are immunised, which is forecast to occur about November 5.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday unveiled Victoria’s “cautious” roadmap out of lockdown, as the state recorded 507 new virus cases and another death, bringing the toll from the latest outbreak to 11.

He also announced Greater Geelong, the Surf Coast and Mitchell Shire will enter a seven-day lockdown from 11.59pm on Sunday, meaning the regions will be under the same restrictions as Melbourne and Ballarat.

According to the roadmap, when 80 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 have received a single vaccine dose, outdoor tennis and golf can return.

Once 70 per cent of Victorians are double vaccinated, which is forecast for October 26,metropolitan Melbourne’s 9pm-5am curfew will be lifted and the 10km travel limit will be increased to 25km.

Pubs, restaurants and cafes will be able to open outdoors, with a limit of 50 fully vaccinated people.

Hairdressing can return for the fully vaccinated with a maximum of five people in a salon at a time.

Outdoor gatherings can increase to a maximum of 10 fully vaccinated people or five unvaccinated, while outdoor pools, community facilities and sport can return with a cap of 50 vaccinated people.

Outdoor religious gatherings can also take place for up to 50 vaccinated people and 20 unvaccinated, though for weddings only 10 unvaccinated people can attend.

Year 12 students can go back to face-to-face learning for the start of term four on October 6, with a staggered return of other years starting with Prep to Year 2s on October 18.

The remaining year levels will be able to return on October 26 but only Year 7 and Year 11s will be able to attend five days per week.

Once 80 per cent of eligible Victorians are vaccinated, retail, hairdressing and beauty services, and childcare can reopen for the fully-vaccinated, with strict density limits, and hospitality can return indoors.

People will be able to have private gatherings of up to 10 vaccinated people, while at Christmas it is expected that will increase to 30.

Late last week, about 120,000 doctors, nurses, paramedics and allied health workers urged the state government to prioritise the health system and its workforce over easing restrictions.

Through their unions, the health workers called for “accurate modelling” on expected ambulance demand, hospitalisations, intensive care patients and deaths.

Burnett Institute modelling commissioned by the Victorian government forecasts the state will reach a peak of between 1400 to 2900 daily COVID-19 cases between October 19 and 31, based on current numbers.

This would lead to a peak of between 1200 to 2500 Victorians requiring hospitalisation, including between 260 and 550 requiring an intensive care bed.

The modelling found a significant easing of restrictions once 80 per cent of people are fully vaccinated means an almost two-in-three chance of a second epidemic peak in mid-December, which would push hospitalisations over 2500.

High rates of symptomatic testing in vaccinated people would reduce the risk to a one-in-three chance.

The state government’s roadmap out of lockdown goes further than the restrictions modelled.

As of Saturday, there more than 200 Victorians are in hospital with the virus, 56 in intensive care and 40 on ventilators to breathe.

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