Vic records 733 COVID cases, Moderna boost
VICTORIA has recorded 733 new COVID-19 cases, including a man who attended an anti-lockdown protest, and another death, as the state prepares to roll out the Moderna vaccine.
Health Minister Martin Foley today on Friday confirmed a woman in her 80s from the local government area of Moreland had died, taking the toll from the current outbreak to 21.
The new locally acquired infections bring the number of active cases in the state to 7160, with 297 people in hospital including 66 in intensive care.
Mr Foley announced the state will receive 32,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which will be distributed to state-run clinics, from the federal government next week.
“Given some of the issues around Pfizer supply, particularly in the second half of October, we will be pivoting more of our pop-up sites in Moderna in the coming weeks,” he told reporters on Friday.
The government wants to make sure the “really strong drive of Victorians to get vaccinated in their communities in safe and accessible locations does not lose momentum”.
Mr Foley said the vaccine will largely go to the Palm Plaza pop-up clinic in Dandenong, where a COVID-19 outbreak continues to grow.
Some 300,000 doses will also be distributed to 700 pharmacies across the state, with a focus on the north and west of Melbourne, where most of the infected persons reported on Friday live.
Included in the new cases was a man who was at an anti-lockdown protest on Wednesday in Melbourne’s CBD and centred on the Shrine of Remembrance.
He is being treated in hospital and public health investigations are underway.
Some Victoria Police officers have been identified as close contacts of the man and will have to self-isolate.
“For operational reasons, numbers will not be provided on how many officers were placed into quarantine as a precautionary measure,” a spokesperson said.
“Victoria Police’s priority first and foremost is to ensure the safety of its people and the community.
“The community can be assured that service delivery to the public will remain unaffected during this time.”
The protests initially began in opposition to mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for the construction sector and the closure of building site tea rooms but morphed into a wider anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine movement.
Police are patrolling central Melbourne on Friday and have made dozens of arrests, but there’s no sign of a rally so far.
The fourth day of protests on Thursday was a non-event, with demonstrators largely a no-show despite flagging potential meeting sites.
Victoria Police made 92 arrests for breaches of public health orders, as well as other matters including outstanding warrants.
Meanwhile, stranded Victorians fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will soon be allowed to return home from Greater Sydney.
From September 30, double-dosed Victorians stuck anywhere in NSW can come home if they return a negative test 72 hours before departure, isolate at home for 14 days and get tested at the start and end of quarantine.