Victoria shatters records with 2,297 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths

The numbers come after Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he was open to throwing off the shackles of Melbourne’s COVID-19 lockdown before next weekend and possibly jettisoning a ban on home visits.

The state is on pace to reach its 70 per cent double vaccination target ahead of the indicative date of 26 October, triggering the end of Melbourne’s long-running sixth lockdown.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton confirmed a decision could be announced as early as this weekend based on firmer vaccination projections as well as intensive care and hospital case numbers.

Under the state’s COVID-19 roadmap, home visits were set to be banned until 80 per cent of its 16-plus population received both vaccine doses.

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But Professor Sutton said he was open to tweaking home gathering restrictions at the 70 per cent mark.

“We’ve always said, if we can do more, we will do more,” he told ABC Radio on Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re acutely aware of home gatherings leading to spikes and that was definitely a feature of (the AFL) grand final. They were people that didn’t normally come together.

“It’s different for families. If we can limit numbers, if we think the epidemiology looks okay, (I’m) absolutely open to that as well.”

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton addresses the media during a press conference in Melbourne.

Source: AAP

Prof Sutton noted the Doherty Institute modelling forecasts hundreds more deaths in coming months as restrictions ease across the state.

“The reality is our seasonal flu, year-on-year, causes an estimated 3000 excess deaths in Australia,” he said.

“That’s what we live with every year with flu. So we need to minimise to the fullest extent possible the deaths that we can.”

Meanwhile, Mitchell Shire on the regional northern fringe of Melbourne emerged from its local lockdown at midnight on Wednesday.

More to come…

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