Victoria’s COVID-19 cases begin to “plateau”
Victoria’s daily COVID-19 case numbers have reached a “plateau”, health authorities say, two days before a further easing of restrictions.
The state recorded another 1,534 locally acquired virus cases today (Wednesday, October 27) and 13 more deaths.
Victoria is now managing 24,164 active infections, 551 fewer than the previous day’s tally.
COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said it was encouraging to see the daily numbers stay about 1,500 per day during the past three days.
“It does feel like we are at a plateau at the moment,” he told reporters today.
While he said the plateau is “higher than we would like” it was slightly under the Burnet Institute’s modelling for this point in time.
Mr Weimar said 85 per cent of Victoria’s new cases were among unvaccinated people.
The number of people in hospital with coronavirus has also declined, with 748 reported on Wednesday. Of those, 138 are in intensive care with 87 on a ventilator.
The latest deaths take the toll from the present outbreak to 247.
More than 76 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated.
Victoria is less than two days away from new freedoms, which will see all non-essential retail reopen along with greater numbers being allowed inside hospitality venues.
All retail will reopen to both unvaccinated and vaccinated on Friday, Premier Daniel Andrews has confirmed.
He warns this may change once 90 per cent of those aged over 16 are fully vaccinated.
The state government is offering $2,000 vouchers to allow cafes, hotels, restaurants and bars to purchase equipment, to get ready for Friday.
Meanwhile, a bill giving the premier the power to declare a pandemic have been introduced to parliament.
It’s expected to pass the lower house when it is debated tomorrow (Thursday, October 28) but it will require the support of three crossbenchers to pass the upper house.
The legislation includes penalties for people or businesses who fail to comply with the rules despite knowing it would lead to a “serious risk” to the health of others.
Based on the proposed penalty units, individuals could face a jail sentence of two years or a $90,000 fine, while businesses could be fined more than $450,000.
Shadow Attorney-General Tim Smith gave an “iron clad” guarantee the Coalition would scrap the legislation if it won the next state election.
“Everything in this legislation is completely over the top,” he told reporters today.
Victorians will also now get a push notification through the updated Service Victoria app if they have scanned a QR code to check in at a tier one exposure site.
Previously, Victorians had to keep a close eye on government exposure site listings, which can run to hundreds of locations, or wait for health authorities to contact them directly.