Victoria has registered 1,612 new local COVID-19 cases and eight deaths as the state government defends its plan to let 10,000 people into the Melbourne Cup while residents are still not allowed to visit loved ones in their homes.
- There are now more than 19,000 active cases in the state
- Health Minister Martin Foley says Flemington Racecourse will be at just 10 per cent capacity if 10,000 people take part in the Melbourne Cup
- Victorians over 60 are now able to get Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations at state-run hubs
The new cases were discovered from 73,138 test results processed yesterday, bringing the state’s active cases to 19,012.
Five of the state’s eight deaths were from north and west Melbourne, with a woman in her 70s and a man in her 60s from Darebin, a man in his 80s from Maribyrnong, a man in his 80s from Brimbank and a woman in The 70s from Whittlesea are gone with the virus.
The other three deaths were a man in his 70s from Melbourne city, a man in his 40s from Port Phillip and a man in his 70s from Glen Eira.
The death toll from the current eruption in Victoria is now 93.
There are 677 people in the hospital with COVID, with 133 on the ICU. 94 of them are on a fan.
Planning underway for the crowds to take part in the Melbourne Cup
Health Minister Martin Foley has defended the decision to allow a crowd of up to 10,000 to take part in next month’s Melbourne Cup.
The event will be part of an experiment with the use of new technology that checks a protector’s vaccination status before allowing access to an event.
If the state has not reached 80 percent double vaccination by that time, that means the crowd is allowed to gather at a time when Melburners still cannot visit family and friends in their homes.
“Ten thousand Victorians as part of the trial of the vaccinated economy program will be there to watch the race stop a nation and in this case start Victoria’s recovery,” Foley said.
He said the event would be held safely with only 10 percent of the capacity of the facility filled.
“This is a safe, sustainable reopening that ensures that our important events, our great iconic events, can move forward and demonstrate to the world that we can safely and carefully reopen.”
He dismissed criticism that the race carnival had been unfairly prioritized, saying gatherings in private settings continued to pose the greatest risk during the pandemic.
Victoria Racing Club chairman Neil Wilson has welcomed the government’s announcement.
“It’s definitely better than zero, which is what we had last year,” he said.
Wilson said the VRC is still trying to decide how it would choose who could attend, but confirmed that the club’s 30,000 members would be the first to be offered tickets.
“In the same way that we need to distribute our owners, which we have not reviewed, but it will be in the hundreds, and then we have business partners that we need to support,” he said.
All patrons must wear a mask and will be divided into five sections with allotted seats for food and drink.
Ten thousand people will also be allowed to attend Oaks Day and Stakes Day if Victoria has reached its 80 percent double-dose vaccination threshold.
“Overseas horses are running in the Lexus Melbourne Cup this year, and some of them arrived over the weekend,” Wilson said.
“Their connections with regard to owners and so on are more of a consideration with quarantine and so on so that some of it gets processed.”
All vaccines are now available for older cohorts
The latest Commonwealth data shows that 85.8 percent of Victorians aged 16+ have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine, and 59.3 percent have been fully vaccinated.
122 new cases were recorded in the Victoria region overnight, with a small number of sites embarking on a “vaccinated economy” trial today, testing the systems the state plans to use when it reaches 70 percent and 80 percent vaccination thresholds. , outlined in its reopening roadmaps.
Mildura is three days into its week-long lockdown, but the outbreak continues to grow with 36 new infections and more exposure sites listed online in the village.
The northern suburbs of Melbourne experienced 499 new cases, with 427 cases in the western suburbs.
The City of Casey had the highest of any local government area with 174 cases, while 109 cases were registered in neighboring Dandenong.
The government is setting up additional testing and vaccination facilities in Cranbourne in an effort to improve access in the south-eastern suburbs, where the outbreak has picked up speed.
The government will open up agreements for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to all Victorians over the age of 12 at its state-run hubs following Commonwealth supply insurances.
Previously, only those under 60 could receive a Pfizer or Moderna dose at state-run vaccination centers, where those over 60 could only receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Health Minister Martin Foley said securing doses from the federal government and the rapid uptake of vaccines by 12- to 16-year-old Victorians meant the state could move on to another phase of its vaccination roll.
“It’s time to throw the doors open for all our clinics, more than 60 across the state, to mRNA vaccines, especially Moderna and Pfizer for everyone to come,” Foley said.
In comes in conjunction with a new advertising campaign for television, print and radio to encourage Victorians to be vaccinated to enjoy events, sports and dining.
Health Department Deputy Secretary Naomi Bromley said the high speed of the vaccine’s roll meant it was possible that Victoria could soon become one of the highest vaccinated areas in the world.
“Victoria is not a country, but if we compare ourselves with some countries around the world, it puts us ahead of countries like the United States, Switzerland, Israel, Germany, Sweden and Austria,” she said.
“In all likelihood, we will exceed vaccination rates in many of these countries.”
Several Nordic countries have slowed down the use of the Moderna vaccine for younger people over concerns about a reported link between the vaccine and heart inflammation.
Foley said the government observed side effects of the Moderna vaccine abroad, but that health authorities had no particular concerns about its use.
“The advice we have received from all our experts in this field is that the chances of side effects like any vaccine are very, very rare and that the particular condition is monitored,” he said.
Australia’s national medical regulator said last week that it was closely following the latest science around the vaccines.
“To date, after approximately 180,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Australia, no cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have been confirmed,” the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) said in a statement.
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