Victoria records 61 local COVID-19 cases with 39 people infectious in the community

Victoria has recorded 61 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, 48 of them linked to known outbreaks.

Health officials say an additional 16 local cases have also been recorded on a rapid PCR testing platform and will be reported in Sunday’s numbers.

Of the 61 local cases, 22 were in isolation for the duration of their infectious period.

Victoria managed to administer 29,539 vaccination doses in the 24 hours to Friday evening and conduct 45,670 virus tests for the same period.

Premier Daniel Andrews has warned Melburnians the virus “will get away from us” if they fail to stick to the rules this weekend, with regional Victoria on the brink of being sent back into lockdown.

The state is facing its biggest coronavirus threat since last year’s second wave after also recording 55 new local cases on Friday, including 30 infectious while in the community.

Five mystery cases were reported in Brunswick, Pakenham, Point Cook, Port Melbourne and Tullamarine.

Regional Victoria recorded its first case connected to the current outbreak on Friday, a Shepparton man in his 30s who infected 11 other members of his family across two households.

On Friday evening, Foodbank Victoria said it was forced to close down their drive-through service on police orders after an unprecedented number of people turned up at the warehouse.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the group apologised to those using the serving, saying the crowds had been deemed an “issue of public safety”.

Cabinet ministers held a crisis meeting on Friday afternoon to discuss whether regional Victoria will be locked down again and if tighter measures are needed for Melbourne.

The state government has asked all community sporting leagues in regional Victoria to “immediately cancel their activities” for the weekend.

A spokesperson says the government will consider the latest health advice on Saturday morning and that “all options are on the table”.

“The situation in Melbourne and across regional Victoria is extremely concerning,” they said.

Describing Friday as “a bad day”, Mr Andrews said “we’re right on the edge of this getting away from us”.

He implored Melburnians to abide by current restrictions which include five reasons to leave home, mandatory masks, a five-kilometre travel limit for exercise and shopping, and a 9pm-5am curfew.

As of Saturday, there were more than 500 exposure sites stretching across most of Melbourne and into regional parts of the state, including public housing towers in Richmond and Carlton over several days.

Police are aware of an anti-lockdown protest planned in Melbourne this weekend.

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