Australia

Victoria records 1,534 new cases of COVID-19 and 13 deaths

The latest deaths take the toll from the current outbreak to 247.

About 76 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over are now fully vaccinated.

There were 83,210 tests processed and 24,180 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered at state-run hubs on Tuesday.

The latest figures comes as businesses prepare for more restrictions to ease on Friday, with the state government offering $2000 vouchers to allow cafes, hotels, restaurants and bars to purchase equipment.

From 11am on Wednesday, venues can apply for one of 7000 vouchers for expenses including purchasing or hiring outdoor furniture, marquees, screens, umbrellas and insurance.

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Meanwhile, new laws giving the premier the power to declare a pandemic have been introduced to parliament.

The bill is expected to pass the lower house when it is debated on Thursday, but it will require the support of three crossbenchers to pass the upper house.

The legislation includes penalties for people or businesses who fail to comply with the rules despite knowing it would lead to a “serious risk” to the health of others.

Based on the proposed penalty units, individuals could face a jail sentence of two years or a $90,000 fine, while businesses could be fined more than $450,000.

Shadow attorney-general Tim Smith gave an “iron clad” guarantee that the Coalition would scrap the legislation if it won the next state election.

“Everything in this legislation is completely over the top,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

Victorians will also now get a push notification through the updated Service Victoria app if they have scanned a QR code to check in at a tier one exposure site.

Previously, Victorians had to keep a close eye on government exposure site listings, which can run to hundreds of locations, or wait for health authorities to contact them directly.

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