Teen among seven Victorian virus deaths
A COVID-positive teenager with other health conditions has become the youngest person to die during Victoria's current outbreak, while police have squashed another would-be Melbourne lockdown protest.
Virus commander Jeroen Weimar confirmed the 15-year-old girl had died while infected, as the state reported a further 1993 locally acquired cases on Saturday.
She was among seven deaths reported over the previous 24 hours. The others were three men and two women aged in their 50s to 80s.
Their deaths takes the toll from the current COVID-19 outbreak to 138.
"That is a sad and tragic case," Mr Weimar told reporters.
Victoria's previous youngest COVID-related death of its current outbreak involved a man in his 20s from Hume in mid-September.
Saturday's case number dropped below 2000 after hitting a record daily high of 2297 on Thursday.
Of the latest cases, 642 are in Melbourne's western suburbs, 602 in the southeast, 457 in the north and 111 in the east.
Mr Weimar implored those in the Casey local government area and surrounds to get vaccinated amid soaring cases.
"There are 1863 active cases right now in the Casey LGA area. We are seeing this pattern across the wider southeast," he said from a pop-up vaccination hub at Casey Fields sports complex.
Hospitalisations have also risen more than 100 to 798, of which 163 patients are in ICU and 106 of them on a ventilator.
"It really reflects the increase in cases we have seen in the last 10 days, 14 days or so," Mr Weimar said.
Health authorities are continuing to defend a COVID-19 restrictions "anomaly" that will let fully vaccinated people from NSW travel across the state before Melbourne residents.
Doubled-dosed Victorians and non-residents from "red zones" such as Greater Sydney will be able to enter Victoria without quarantining for 14 days from 11.59pm on October 19.
Melburnians are currently subject to a 15-kilometre travel limit, which will expand to 25km when 70 per cent of people over 16 are fully vaccinated, and regional travel is banned until 80 per cent coverage.
Asked about what Health Minister Martin Foley termed a "transition anomaly", Mr Weimar said there wasn't any "great mystery" to it.
"What we've tried to do is to normalise the situation between NSW and Victoria that really opens up future opportunities to allow easier travel," he said.
He noted NSW and Sydney visitors would still have to follow the same rules as everyone else once at their final destination and wouldn't be able to freely return if it was locked-down Melbourne.
Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to announce the exact date Melbourne will exit its sixth lockdown on Sunday, with the state to hit 70 per cent full vaccination ahead of schedule next week.
Meanwhile, police made dozens of arrests in Melbourne on Saturday as anti-lockdown, anti-vaccine protesters again attempted to congregate.
The would-be demonstrators targeted Princes Park in Carlton North but were met by a strong police presence, including the mounted branch and air wing.
Organisers made multiple attempts to meet at other spots using an encrypted social media channel before giving up just before 2pm.
"Today has been called. The police have succeeded temporarily in squashing the Melbourne protest movement. We need better strategies to get the numbers together," a post read.
In all, 57 people were arrested across various locations and 42 fines issued for health direction breaches.
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