By: Chanel Zagon and Serena Seyfort
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he is “not shocked” about COVID-19 cases spiking in the state after daily local infections ballooned to 324 on Thursday.
Mr Andrews this morning warned Victorians the state had not yet reached the peak of its coronavirus outbreak.
“I’m not shocked by that,” he said.
“We are going to see cases go up because this virus is highly, highly contagious.
“The key point is to keep those numbers as low as we can – not zero … so our nurses have a fair fight.”
The premier expects to receive modeling from the Burnet Institute about the state’s coronavirus landscape next week, however he has seen a draft.
Thursday’s COVID-19 figure is a significant jump from Wednesday’s 221 cases as health authorities warn infections will continue to soar.
Of the new infections, 107 have so far been linked to known outbreaks and the remaining are 217 mystery cases.
There were 54,242 test results received and 37,604 vaccine doses administered in the past 24 hours.
There are 111 people in hospital with COVID-19 in Victoria and 32 in intensive care.
No one who is fully vaccinated is in hospital with COVID-19.
Despite the surge in cases, the majority of regional Victoria will be freed from lockdown at 11.59pm Thursday.
The regions, excluding Shepparton, will be able to enjoy more freedoms, with the hospitality sector, retail, hairdressing and beauty salons and entertainment and community venues reopening.
Regional schools will also return to onsite learning for prep to grade two students and year 12 students who live in regional Victoria.
Funerals will be permitted for up to 20 people and weddings for up to 10 people, plus those required to conduct the service.
Mr Andrews yesterday warned the reopening of regional Victoria was not a “Freedom Day”.
“It’s not a snapback, it’s not Freedom Day, it’s not 100 per cent of capacity down at the pub,” he said.
“If it is, then we will simply see numbers spread and then we’ll have to close large parts of regional Victoria down again and perhaps even all of regional Victoria.”
Melbourne remains in hard lockdown until vaccination targets are met, with a slight reprieve to the strict restrictions to come once 70 per cent of the state has received its first vaccine dose.
Melburnians have been urged not to visit the regions, Mr Andrews warning police would be patrolling the regional border and fining rule-breakers.
The Victorian Government is also further tightening border restrictions for specified workers seeking permits.
As of September 23, freight and healthcare workers entering Victoria under work permits must have had at least one vaccination dose before entering Victoria.