Victoria records 950 new cases and seven deaths but experts warn there could be 3,000 a day before the outbreak peaks – as lockdown is eased to allow 15km travel and Dan Andrews’ popularity plummets
- Epidemiologists warned cases numbers could hit up to 3,000 by late October
- Victoria eased some restrictions on Tuesday after 80 per cent first dose target
- Melbourne residents can now travel up to 15km away instead of just 10km
Victoria has recorded 950 new Covid-19 cases and seven deaths but experts warn the state could have up to 3,000 infections a day in a matter of weeks.
Deakin University epidemiology chair Professor Catherine Bennett predicted the outbreak would peak in late October before infections start to drop.
Wednesday’s figures are the highest the state has seen in a single day since the start of the pandemic and came from 61,322 tests.
Victoria’s daily cases on Tuesday put it in front on NSW for the first time since June, after 867 new infections were recorded.
The reproductive rate of the virus slightly dropped to 1.25, but experts fear the seven days of protests last week will cause another spike in cases.
Epidemiologists have warned Covid cases in Victoria could climb to 3,000 in just four weeks
In some positive news for the southern state, fewer Covid patients are ending up in hospital due to the availability of vaccines.
Infectious diseases physician Professor Peter Collignon has meanwhile told the Herald Sun the prediction of cases nearing the 3,000 mark is a ‘a bit too pessimistic’.
He said the figure didn’t take into account the fact Australia was heading into summer or that vaccination rates would have improved by late October.
For NSW, their high number of cases started to drop once half the adult population were fully vaccinated, with experts hoping the same will be seen in Victoria.
Epidemiologist Tony Blakely said the surge in Victoria’s infections were mostly being seen in household-to-household contacts.
‘What’s happening is people are no longer keeping to their household bubble, and you’re seeing the virus spread, that explains why those numbers keep going up,’ he told the ABC.
Popularity for Premier Daniel Andrews has fallen with data showing only 44 per cent of Victorians positively rated the government’s response to the pandemic
RESTRICTIONS EASE AT 80 PER CENT FIRST DOSE
Restrictions will slightly ease for locked down Victorians at 11.59pm on Tuesday as the state reaches 80 per cent of the population having received one vaccine
The travel radius will be extended from 10km to 15km
‘Contactless’ recreational activity is allowed including golf, fishing and tennis
Personal trainers can train up to five fully vaccinated people at a time
Restrictions on playgrounds will ease but masks must still be worn
Cafes and restaurants in regional Victoria can have 30 customers dine outdoors
‘I think it’s almost impossible to predict exactly how long the case numbers will go up and when they will turn, but I’m pretty confident they won’t get to the 3,000s [in Victoria], but I’ve learned to be very cautious.’
On Tuesday the state reached its first milestone of 80 per cent of residents having received their first jab.
Premier Daniel Andrews was able to slightly ease Melbourne’s gruelling lockdown including extending the travel radius from 10km to 15km as of 11.59pm on Tuesday.
Residents are also now able to take part in ‘contactless’ recreational activity such as golf, tennis or fishing.
Personal trainers can train five fully vaccinated people at a time while remaining restrictions on playgrounds will also be lifted.
For those in regional parts of the state, up to 30 people can dine outdoors at restaurants and cafes.
Meanwhile, data has shown Mr Andrews’ popularity has declined with only 44 per cent of Victorians positively rating the government’s response to the pandemic, according to the Essential Report.
That figure had been at 50 per cent earlier this month but has since dropped while over in Western Australia, 82 per cent of residents were happy with their premier’s actions.
The Victorian premier is now hoping the cases in his state start to drop once half the population are double vaccinated, which was seen when NSW hit that milestone