Victoria records 1903 new local Covid-19 cases as state warned to expect positive cases in hospitality
Victoria’s coronavirus commander has given a stark warning the state should expect positive cases in hospitality once venues reopen from Friday.
Pubs, restaurants and cafes are set to welcome back up to 20 fully vaccinated customers indoors and 50 patrons outdoors once lockdown is lifted at 11.59pm on Thursday.
But Covid-19 commander Jeroen Weimar said the new freedoms would come with a “daunting new reality”.
“There will be positive cases in circulation, we have 22,000 positive cases in circulation in Victoria, it is exceptionally likely come Thursday there will still be 22,000 positive cases in the state,” he said on Monday.
“There will be cases in hospitality settings and it will be down to those systems to impact the imposition on people around them at the time.
“As all of us adjust to this new reality, I recognise for businesses this is a daunting moment as you move towards Thursday and start reopen again after all these months.
“It’s a really important process, but also please maintain those important CovidSafe principles, the segregation or bubbling of your workplaces and workforces, so you can manage the impact because there will be positive cases.”
Mr Weimar said there would be significant enforcement efforts to support businesses adjusting to the new rules.
“As we step into the exciting weeks ahead, make sure you do it as safely as possible so we don’t see another big spike of cases and more people ending up in hospital,” he said.
Once Victoria exits lockdown on Thursday night, fully vaccinated people exposed to a positive case of Covid-19 will only need to isolate for seven days instead of 14.
The new rules mean those listed as primary close contacts will only need to quarantine for seven days if they return negative test results on both day one and six of their isolation.
Household contacts of a positive case will still need to continue to isolate for 14 days, as they continue to have the highest risk of infection.
Victoria recorded 1903 new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 on Monday along with seven more deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours.
The new deaths included a man in his 50s from Brimbank, a woman in her 60s and a man in his 90s from Whittlesea, a man in his 70s from Baw Baw, a woman in her 70s from Moreland, and a woman in her 80s and a woman in her 90s from Casey.
There are currently 851 people in hospital, 155 are in ICU, and 103 are on a ventilator.
There were 32,405 vaccine doses administered on Sunday and 69,825 test results received.
At least 66.5 per cent of Victorians aged above 16 were double-vaccinated against coronavirus, while 89.2 per cent had received their first dose.
Premier Daniel Andrews issued a stern warning to those who were still refusing to get vaccinated against the virus.
While mentioning on Sunday that 90 per cent of people in the state’s hospitals were not vaccinated and 97 per cent of those in the intensive care unit had not received the jab, he warned people who refused to get the vaccine would be denied freedoms.
“We are moving from lockdowns to lockouts. I’m not going to let people down to protect people who won’t protect themselves. I encourage people for every good reason, do what five million other Victorians have done and get your first dose and a second dose thereafter,” Mr Andrews said.
“We aren’t locking people down anymore across the board. We are instead locking people out who haven’t got their vaccine.”
Melbourne and parts of regional Victoria will emerge from lockdown on 11.59pm on Thursday night, with the state expected to hit its 70 per cent double vaccination rate by then.
Restrictions to leave home as well as the curfew will be scrapped.
There will be no travel limit within metropolitan Melbourne, but authorised travel to enter regional Victoria will still be required.
Ten visitors, including dependants, will be able to visit someone’s home per day.
There will also be a staggered return of grade 3 and year 11 students in metropolitan Melbourne schools from Friday.
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