State's Covid outbreak shown no sign of relenting as 2,189 new cases confirmed by Victorian health officials Infections - which were slightly down from 2,232 infections recorded on Thursday - came from 77,036 testsThere are 784 people in hospital, of with 145 in intensive care - including 94 on a ventilator across Victoria State will scrap all quarantine for returned travellers from November 1, Premier Daniel Andrews announced Victoria officially lifted its stay-at-home orders at 11.59pm on Thursday after 70 per cent double dose rate hit
Victoria will scrap all quarantine requirements for international returned travellers from November 1 as the state emerges from Covid lockdown.
Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday followed his NSW counterpart Dominic Perrottet’s lead by allowing fully vaccinated Australians to enter the state from overseas without spending 14 days in hotel or home quarantine.
Travellers will have to test negative to Covid-19 within 72 hours of their departure and get swabbed again within a day of arriving into Victoria.
Hotel quarantine has been in place for those arriving back into Australia since March 2020 – when international borders closed to all but citizens and permanent residents – with strict arrival caps leaving many stranded overseas.
‘This is a freedom of movement we’ve not been able to enjoy for a long time. And that’s all because Victorians have got vaccinated in record time and in record numbers,’ Mr Andrews said.
He said the state will be ‘as protected as we can be’ by the start of November as 80 to 90 per cent of the eligible adult population will have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.
The removal of quarantine rules will pave the way for as ‘few rules as possible’ by Christmas, the premier said.
‘I hope to be as close to normal as we can possibly get [by December 25] but there are going to be some things we still have to do, like booster shots, for instance,’ he said.
The announcement follows Victoria recording 16 Covid-related deaths overnight – the highest single-day toll in any state during Australia’s Delta outbreak – and 2,189 cases as Melbourne finally emerged from lockdown with residents flocking to hairdressers, cafes and pubs.
Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton urged for caution as the state opens up to the rest of the world, warning the easing of restrictions would lead to an unprecedented increase in Covid transmission.
‘As we start to reopen, there will be more Covid in the community than at any other point in time,’ he said.
Diners are pictured at the Cafe Chez Mademoiselle in Prahran in Melbourne on Friday. The city has finally emerged from lockdown, with residents flocking to hairdressers, cafes and pubs
Two pubgoers are seen at Leonard’s House of Love in South Yarra as Melbourne opened up from a lockdown at midnight on Friday morning
‘Many of those people will have mild illness cause they’re fully vaccinated. Many of those settings will have fully vaccinated people.
‘Checking in, wearing a mask will be really important, and on days like today, opening every door and window in sight to let that fresh air through.’
Friday’s case numbers were slightly down from the 2,232 infections recorded on Thursday, with 784 people in hospital and 145 in intensive care, including 94 are on a ventilator.
The new infections were announced just hours after tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Melbourne when the clock struck midnight and the city’s longsuffering locals were finally released from their sixth lockdown.
Victoria officially lifted its stay-at-home orders at 11.59pm on Thursday after the Covid-riddled state passed its 70 per cent vaccination target.
Revellers screamed in celebration from their apartment balconies, while car horns blared in the background as overjoyed Melburnians got their first taste of freedom since August.
A mother and daughter are reunited at Melbourne Airport on Wednesday. Fully-vaccinated Australian travellers from overseas will no longer be required to isolate upon arrival in Victoria from November 1
‘This is a freedom of movement we’ve not been able to enjoy for a long time. And that’s all because Victorians have got vaccinated in record time and in record numbers,’ Premier Daniel Andrews said
Revellers stop to pose for a photo as a jubilant atmosphere washes over Melbourne as the city’s lockdown finally ended
Overjoyed Melbourne residents savoured their first drink in a pub since August as the city’s lockdown lifted (pictured)
Mr Andrews on Friday morning posted a gushing tweet to mark the easing of restrictions – revealing how he was ‘bloody proud’ of Victorians.
‘I’m trying not to sound like some kind of soppy Dad here, but I am proud, bloody proud of this state,’ he wrote.
‘We’ve gone through such a hard time together, this pandemic has been exhausting in every sense of the word.
‘The fact that we’re here today, and opening up, is only because of the sacrifices made by every one of us.’
The city has endured a cumulative 262 days in lockdown since the pandemic began – a world record – with non-essential businesses forced to shut and millions trapped in their homes, banned from going outside after 9pm or travelling more than 5km.
They are even forced to wear a mask outside, despite no medical evidence doing so stops transmission of Covid.
A bartender makes a cocktail just after midnight at Angle Bar in Melbourne. Victoria is moving towards its vaccination targets and a complete reopening
Punters are seen dining outdoors in Lygon Street, Carlton, in Melbourne on Friday. The city has emerged from the world’s longest lockdown, and as vaccination rates continue to rise, even more freedoms are less than two weeks away.
Now vaccinated residents are finally free, celebrations mirrored a wild New Year’s Eve party in the nation’s culinary capital as partygoers descended on pubs.
They flashed their vaccinated status upon entry to eagerly awaiting hospitality staff, who had spent much of the day getting ready for the influx of patrons.
For others, midnight finally meant the chance to have their hair cut or get their nails done, with salons opening for the first time – and expecting to continue with round-the-clock appointments for some time to come.
Jubilant scenes played out as swarms of residents descended on bars and restaurants to finally reunite with their mates.
Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday morning posted a gushing tweet to mark the easing of restrictions in Victoria, describing how he is ‘bloody proud’
Shake it up!: A cocktail bartender is back in action mixing drinks as the city goes wild on its first night of freedom
Even fast food chains like McDonald’s saw huge crowds with video showing diners lined out into the parking lot, keen to finally enjoy a late-night feast after months under a 9pm curfew.
But while there’s a major sense of relief that the worst of the coronavirus crisis is now over, it’s still too early to ditch face masks, which are still mandatory indoors and outdoors unless eating or drinking.
A number of other hated restrictions will also still be in place along with strict capacity limits on venues and events for at least the next week.
Wild scenes erupted on the streets of Melbourne as the clock struck midnight, with millions of long-suffering residents cheering on the end of the world’s longest lockdown (pictured, mates at 3 Monkeys on the city’s Chapel Street)
Cheers!: A groups of mates toast to the end of Victoria’s gruelling stay-at-home orders at a Melbourne bar on Thursday
Melburnians couldn’t wait any longer to catch up with their mates rushing to pubs as the clocks hit midnight (pictured at Leonard’s House of Love in South Yarra)
Party animals hit the streets as the city got it’s first taste of freedom since August when Melbourne’s sixth lockdown was called
A hospitality worker brings a round of shots to the table as wild celebrations go long into the night in Melbourne
Premier Daniel Andrews finally agreed to lift the brutal restrictions earlier this week as the beleaguered state neared its vaccination target of 70 per cent
Some sick of their lockdown hairstyle even made a midnight trip to hair salons (pictured at the Flaunt It salon in Truganina in the city’s outer west)
The good news is that the city’s reviled and controversial 9pm curfew is now scrapped along with the 15km travel limit.
Residents can now freely move around the Metropolitan area – however regional travel is still off the cards.
Hospitality venues like pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants are allowed to reopen for seated and outdoor service only, with a capacity limit of 20 vaccinated patrons indoors and 50 outdoors.
The vaccination rate will have to surpass 80 per cent before nightclubs, dancing in venues and stand-up drinking is allowed.
General retail will also have to wait until the next vaccination milestone, predicted to be achieved in early November, before trading can return to normal.
From midnight non-essential stores can only operate outdoors or with click and collect services.
Entertainment venues, including cinemas and physical recreation, can go ahead with a maximum of 20 people indoors and 50 outdoor.
Personal services like hairdressers and beauty salons can get back to work with a limit of five patrons after the fashion-conscious city went without a trim for 78-straight days.
But anyone entering any non-essential venue in the state must prove their vaccination status upon entry when they check in via QR code with the Service Victoria app.
Visitors can also show the green tick in their Medicare Express app. Those who can’t prove they’ve had the jab will be refused entry.
Revellers are seen drinking at 3 Monkeys on Chapel Street as Melbourne opened up from lockdown at midnight (pictured)
A group of young men pose for a photo in front of the iconic Flinders Street Train Station as the lockdown lifts – meaning millions are finally allowed out late at night with the curfew scrapped
A full bar waits for cocktails as party-goers celebrate the end of Melbourne’s brutal stay-at-home orders – with masks still mandatory unless eating or drinking
A massive queue is seen lining up at Leonard’s House of Love in South Yarra as Melbourne opened up from lockdown at midnight
Residents can have up to 10 visitors at their homes while outdoor gathering limits will increase from 10 to 15.
Visitors to homes don’t have to be vaccinated but is highly recommended by the state government and health officials. The same rule applies for outdoor gatherings.
Religious services, weddings and funerals will be able to take place with 50 fully-vaccinated guests outdoors and 20 indoors.
While school children from Year 3 to Year 11 will start returning to the classroom part-time.
Early childcare will also reopen for children of fully vaccinated parents.
The long-awaited reopening was originally supposed to take place on October 26, but was fast-tracked by premier Andrews who praised Victorians on their ‘mighty’ effort rolling their sleeves.
Huge lines were scene at McDonald’s at midnight with customers thrilled to dine in for a change and enjoy the first late night feast in months
There were some yawns but cooped-up Melburnians couldn’t wait any longer to hit the town as they lined up at Leonard’s House of Love in South Yarra
‘These are things we can bring forward because the Victorian community has done so well in getting vaccinated so fast and in such great numbers,’ Mr Andrews said on Sunday when he announced the lockdown would finally end.
‘I could not be more proud of our community for coming forward and making these decisions to protect themselves, to protect the people they love, and to protect all of us against this global pandemic.’
‘To allow us to change the rules to open up, to normalise this, to get our friends back, to be focused on living our lives as close to normal as possible.’
Salons can now open to a maximum of five fully-vaccinated customers, with some even booking in for midnight appointments (pictured in Melbourne’s outer west at Truganina)
A wild night is in store at at 3 Monkeys on Chapel Street as Melbourne threw off the shackles of its lockdown – which cumulatively became the longest in the week since the Covid pandemic began
Revellers screamed in celebration from their apartment balconies, while car horns could be heard blaring in the background as overjoyed Melburnians got their first taste freedom since August (pictured, revellers in the city)
Mr Andrews later tweeted: ‘Bring forward the haircut and tell Mum you’ll be round for dinner.’
Melburnians have spent an agonising 262 days in lockdown since the pandemic began in early 2020, enduring six separate stints under stay-at-home orders with all non-essential businesses forced to shut.
The city recently surpassed Argentinian capital Buenos Aires as the world’s most locked-down location.
In the lead up to the clock striking midnight, the city was technically still in lockdown and subject to the curfew leaving Melburnians in what opposition Liberal MP Michael O’Brien called ‘twilight zone’.
‘I can’t leave home and break curfew because science/Covid – but in 40 minutes I can travel anywhere in all of Melbourne because science/Covid,’ he tweeted.
It was martinis in the moonlight for this group of friends who travelled to Melbourne’s Prahran for their first night of freedom
Victoria officially lifted its stay-at-home orders at 11:59pm on Thursday after the beleaguered state smashed its 70 per cent Covid vaccination target late into the evening (pictured, people out on Chapel Street)
Anyone entering any non-essential venue in the state must prove their vaccination status upon entry when they check in via QR code with the Service Victoria app (pictured, mates checking into a Chapel Street bar)
Another significant milestone was also reached on Thursday with over 90 of the state having received their first dose (pictured, revellers out after midnight struck)
During the lockdown, the city was marred by violent anti-vaccination and anti-lockdown protests which have seen hundreds arrested for clashing with police.
Victoria Police has also copped criticism for its heavy-handed approach to enforcing the harsh lockdown restrictions.
But the vast majority of weary residents complied with the restrictions and raced to get vaccinated.
As well as eclipsing the 70 per cent target on Thursday, another significant milestone was also reached with over 90 of the state having received their first dose.
‘The longest road has been journeyed in Victoria and that long road really starts to open up tonight,’ Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday.
‘This is not a big opening in that first step. In the Australian way, we move cautiously but deliberately, so we can safely open up.
‘That is the key. We want to stay open once we get open.’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: ‘The longest road has been journeyed in Victoria and that long road really starts to open up tonight’ (pictured, a man getting a well-deserved round of beers – and a Jaeger shot)
A reveller on Chapel Street in Melbourne is seen celebrating through a vehicle’s sun roof at midnight as excited crowds took to the streets
A group of young men prepare to throw back a shot as fully vaccinated residents are now allowed back to the pub (pictured on Chapel Street)
But despite the success of the vaccination campaign, Covid cases in Victoria are still stubbornly high.
There were 2,232 new locally-acquired infections on Thursday as well as 12 more deaths.
The number of fatalities in Victoria since the pandemic has now risen to 1,005, with majority coming during the state’s disastrous second wave from July to October in 2020.
The total number of cases in Victoria since the pandemic reached Australians shores now sits at 73,151, with 22,889 infections still active.
There are 779 Covid patients currently in hospital in the state and 141 of those cases are in intensive care, with 96 people breathing through a ventilator.
Mates catch up over some well-deserved drinks as the clock struck midnight and Melbourne’s lockdown was finally over (pictured in South Yarra)
While there’s a major sense of relief that the worst of the coronavirus crisis is now over, it’s still too early to ditch the face mask which remains mandatory indoors and outdoors unless eating or drinking (pictured, mates catch up in Prahran)
A police officer is seen doing an inspection of a venue in Melbourne after the city emerged from lockdown (pictured) to ensure the remaining Covid restrictions were still being adhered to)
Wild scenes played out after midnight with revellers bar-hopping long into the evening right across Melbourne (pictured outside 3 Monkeys)
Despite the success of the vaccination campaign, Covid cases in Victoria are still stubbornly high with 2232 cases on Thursday (pictured, mates catching up in Melbourne after lockdown ended)