Victorian VCE students among new COVID-19 cases
DOZENS of final-year Victorian students have tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of returning to classrooms for annual tests.
Victoria reported 1,377 new local cases, the fifth day in a row of four figure infections, and four deaths today (Monday, October 4).
Education Minister James Merlino said 33 VCE students from COVID-19 hotspots were among the new cases, after 8,000 were tested in the lead up to Tuesday’s repeatedly rescheduled General Achievement Test (GAT).
“We may not have found these cases otherwise, so that goes a long way to help us hold the GAT as safely as possible tomorrow,” he told reporters today.
“The department of education is contacting these students and letting them know that they cannot sit the GAT, and we will make arrangements for how they can sit their exams at a later stage, if indeed they are unable to sit any of their exams.”
Regional Victorian students in prep, year 1 and year 12 returned to classrooms today under the first part of a staggered plan.
It comes as Melbourne has become the world’s most locked down city, chalking up 246 days living under stay-at-home orders across six lockdowns to surpass the record set by the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires.
Victoria is forecast to hit 70 per cent double dose vaccination coverage of its 16-plus population on or around October 26, triggering the end of lockdown under the state’s roadmap before restrictions ease further at 80 per cent.
Epidemiologist Tony Blakely, a long-time supporter of the elimination strategy, said the lockdowns saved lives but Victoria had been unfortunate to have so many.
“If we let it rip last year, we would have had severe mortality and morbidity. It’s just that we haven’t had the same luck as other places,” he told ABC TV today.
There are 498 Victorians in hospital battling the virus, up 22 from Sunday, with 96 people in ICU and 59 requiring a ventilator.
More than 67,789 Victorians were tested for the virus in the 24 hours to this morning, while 30,985 vaccinations were administered at state-run sites.
Active cases across the state have grown to 12,711.