Restrictions ease slightly in Victoria, regional town locked down

A city in regional Victoria is waking to its first morning under a newly-imposed lockdown after four new cases of coronavirus were detected.

The stay-at-home order comes as metropolitan Melbourne and other regional areas have some of their restrictions eased.

Latrobe in Gippsland is now in a seven-day lockdown after health officials and the government made the decision at 6.30pm last night.

The rules took effect from 11.59pm, with restrictions now the same as in Melbourne, minus the curfew.

There are now 18 known cases in the LGA.

Locals are asked to be on high alert for symptoms and get tested if any develop.

Meanwhile for residents in metropolitan Melbourne and other regional areas, this morning marks a slight return to normal as 80 per cent of residents aged 16 are expected to have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination by today.

From 11.59pm last night a number of rules were relaxed.

In metropolitan Melbourne and in regional areas that are locked down, outdoor recreational activities, such as boating, tennis, golf will be allowed.

The travel limit for exercise and shopping will also increase from 10 kilometres to 15 kilometres.

© Getty Outdoor recreation rules have now eased slightly in Victoria but heavy rain is forecast over the coming days.

Outdoor personal training for up to five people will also be allowed if all participants and the trainer are fully vaccinated.

Restrictions around playgrounds will also be lifted.

In regional Victoria the outdoor venue cap will increase from 20 to 30 and there will be some changes in hair and beauty and personal care.

But heavy rain is forecast over the coming days, putting a dampener on plans for those wanting to take advantage of the relaxed recreation rules.

Hospital system under strain

Victoria’s hospital system is coming under immense strain as the state’s COVID-19 cases continue to climb.

Ambulances have been forced to ramp or queue at Melbourne’s Northern Hospital amid a surge in people presenting to the emergency department.

There were up to 17 ambulances either waiting in the street or queued up in the hospital’s emergency bays this morning, with about a dozen yesterday.

© Nine Ambulances have been forced to queue at the Northern Hospital.

Calls to triple-zero surged to a five-year high this week.

The Northern Hospital in a statement said there were 362 patients seen in emergency yesterday, after a record number on Monday night.

“We need to carefully screen patients for COVID-19, which means it is taking longer for us to receive patients into the Emergency Department,” a spokesperson said.

“The hospital is very busy as a streaming hospital – with three COVID Wards plus our ICU.

© Nine There are fears Victoria’s hospital system will be even more under pressure once restrictions ease.

“Currently, we have 65 COVID patients in the hospital.

“We work really well with Ambulance Victoria on providing patients with the care they need.

“We ask our community to continue to work with us by keeping our Emergency Department for emergencies only.

“Many people attending do not require emergency care.”

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