Masks mandated for schoolchildren as Victoria records 1838 new local cases of coronavirus

Anthony PiovesanNCA NewsWire
Not Supplied
Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Victorian students in grades three to six will be required to wear a face mask in classrooms in a bid to stop the spread of Covid-19.

But face masks for children in prep and grades one and two would only be “strongly recommended”.

Schools are starting to welcome children back, with Victoria’s chief health officer professor Brett Sutton saying schools needed to adopt the mandate to keep children safe.

“There is good evidence to support this decision,” he told reporters on Friday afternoon.

“We have certainly seen in cases such as England and the UK where schools reopened without strong mask use from the get go … there was an estimated 8 per cent of students absent from school in those early weeks with suspected or confirmed Covid.

“In many states in America, school mask mandates have been put in place and they have helped to reduce transmission.”

COVID PRESSER
Camera IconVictoria’s chief health officer professor Brett Sutton says schools needed to adopt a face mask mandate to keep children safe. NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty Credit: News Corp Australia

It comes after Victoria posted 1838 new Covid-19 infections on Friday, breaking the national record for the second time.

There were five more deaths in the past 24 hours – A woman in her 70s from Shepparton, a man in his 80s from Brimbank, a woman in her 80s from Whittlesea, a woman in her 70s from Knox and a man in his 70s from Moreland.

Covid Casey
Camera IconThere were 36,600 vaccine doses administered on Thursday, while 77,554 Covid-19 test results were processed. NCA NewsWire / Daniel Pockett Credit: News Corp Australia

There were 36,600 vaccine doses administered in Victoria on Thursday, while 77,554 Covid-19 test results were processed.

There are now 16,823 active infections across the state.

Despite the massive surge in cases, Victoria remains on track towards meeting its reopening date of October 26.

About 84.13 per cent of the state’s population have received their first dose, and 55.55 are fully vaccinated.

Vic Locally-acquired Covid-19

The government will start to strip away restrictions once Victoria reached a 70 per cent double-dose vaccination rate – projected for October 25 or 26.

Victorians would then be granted more freedoms in early November once an 80 per cent double-dose jab rate target was met.

The state’s chief health officer professor Brett Sutton had previously flagged that he wanted to see more Victorians coming forward to get the vaccine.

COVID-19 UPDATE
Camera IconVictorian Premier Daniel Andrews has flagged restrictions will ease once Victoria reached a 70 per cent double-dose vaccination rate. NCA NewsWire / David Crosling Credit: News Corp Australia

He said he would like to have days of more than 100,000 Victorians getting their jab so the state could hit its targets sooner.

“We are doing 30,000 to 40,000 in Victoria and above throughout our hubs but there is capacity especially in pharmacies and primary care,” he said.

“GPs are absolutely qualified to be delivering vaccines as well in Victoria and so we can do better and we should do better, but it involves every Victorian who is not yet fully vaccinated coming forward to get the vaccine.

“With the reduced interval for Pfizer, down to three weeks, there is an opportunity for people who have had that later appointment to redo the appointment and get fully vaccinated now and that makes a difference.”

Originally published as Masks mandated for schoolchildren as Victoria records 1838 new local cases of coronavirus

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