Hopes for freedom
LOCKDOWN MAY GO EARLY AS VAX MILESTONE TIPPED AHEAD OF SCHEDULE
Melburnians could know by the end of the week if lockdown will lift early, with Victoria on track to reach its 70 per cent double vaccination target ahead of schedule.
The city was expected to exit its sixth hard lockdown on October 26, but the rate of people taking up COVID-19 vaccinations means the coverage target will be achieved earlier.
‘‘Just give me a few more days, and I’ll give you as much clarity as I can about what next week looks like and the week after that and the week after that,’’ Premier Daniel Andrews said at parliament yesterday.
‘‘We’ve just got this little bit extra to do now to push past 70 per cent and if we can do that early before the roadmap, what a fantastic problem for us to have.’’
Restrictions will ease further when 80 per cent of the eligible population has received both vaccine doses, originally projected for November 5.
However, the government is not making promises of easing restrictions further than what was laid out in its roadmap to freedom, with Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton warning even with vaccination, people will still get sick.
‘‘Everyone will get it as we open up because we are not going to hold back in terms of how we live our lives and move around when we are a fully vaccinated population,’’ he said. ‘‘That means there will be widespread transmission of this virus.’’
In an effort to drive up coronavirus vaccination faster, the government has launched neighbourhood pop-up clinics in suburban cafes, shops and gyms.
The extra vaccination push comes as Victoria recorded its deadliest day of its third wave, and the Royal Children’s Hospital revealed a COVID-19 scare in its neonatal unit.
Victoria has recorded 1571 new locally acquired infections and 13 deaths, taking the toll of the current outbreak to 114.