Shepparton News

Still on right track


- By Darren Linton

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said there were positive signs despite the growing number of COVID-19 cases across the state.

The state recorded 1890 COVID-19 cases yesterday, with 126 in regional Victoria.

Mr Andrews said 75 per cent of the 40,000 vaccinatio­ns at staterun hubs yesterday were second doses and that trend would continue to push Victoria closer to the 70 per cent full vaccinatio­n target.

As the double-dose rate rises, cases are likely to start to fall.

‘‘That was the case in NSW,’’ Mr Andrews said.

‘‘Only time will tell definitive­ly.’’

Victorian COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said Shepparton was an example of where a combinatio­n of a more forensic approach to monitoring and containing an outbreak and vaccinatio­n was enabling the community to open up sooner.

City of Greater Shepparton was released from a seven-day lockdown at the weekend, despite still recording positive cases daily.

Yesterday, there were 16 new cases with eight under investigat­ion.

Mr Weimar said that while Shepparton had 119 cases, the situation was different to August when the concern was overwhelmi­ng emergency and health services if the spread was unchecked.

‘‘Recognisin­g the vast majority of Shepparton residents are firstdose vaccinated and second dose is going well, it reduces the negative impact on public services,’’ Mr Weimar said.

‘‘Shepparton doesn’t have the same pressure now on its wider public services because we are taking a much more forensic approach to how we are managing it.’’

Trials have started in regional Victoria to test the mechanics of a vaccinated economy including crowds at race meetings, pubs and restaurant­s.

Trials will follow in Melbourne, including thousands of people at a vaccinated music event and 10,000 patrons at the Melbourne Cup.

The final two days of the Flemington Spring Carnival, Oaks Day and Stakes Day, are also expected to have up to 10,000 people, providing Victoria has achieved 80 per cent of the population over 16 being fully vaccinated.

‘‘It is important that people get vaccinated and get vaccinated as soon as possible,’’ Mr Andrews said.

‘‘We do expect our double dose rate to accelerate, we do ask people to bring forward their second dose appointmen­ts.’’

Mr Andrews said the trial events would cement the pathway to opening up across the state.

‘‘They are a really important signal about what the next few months holds for us and that is normalisin­g this virus,’’ he said.

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