Victoria logs 847 virus cases, one death

Victoria has recorded 847 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and another death from the virus as authorities urged football fans to stick to the rules ahead of the AFL grand final. 

© James Ross/AAP PHOTOS Victoria had 847 new virus cases as officials pleaded for fans to watch the AFL grand final at home.

The state now has 7611 active coronavirus cases.

Health officials say 37,220 vaccine doses were administered in the 24 hours to Friday evening, with more than 59,000 tests conducted during the same period.

Victoria’s COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said about 45 per cent of the current cases had come through social interactions between households.

The state had also registered a 55 per cent increase in COVID-19 hospitalisations over the last week.

This, Mr Weimar said, meant it was crucial for Victorians to stay at home during Saturday night’s AFL decider between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs. 

“I’m extremely worried about tonight,” he told reporters on Saturday. 

“I’m extremely worried that large numbers of Victorians will say ‘tonight we’ll all get together and have a good night out’. 

“And as a result of that, in six (or) seven days down the road, we’ve got another big cluster of cases.” 

Meanwhile, restrictions are set to ease in Victoria’s Surf Coast region from Sunday, health minister Martin Foley said. 

Mitchell Shire was unlikely to come out of lockdown, Mr Foley said, while Greater Geelong was set to be reviewed. 

But Melburnians will have to wait a little longer to hit the golf course or tennis court, with Victoria set to miss its first COVID-19 roadmap target this weekend.

The state is 3.7 per cent shy of reaching 80 per cent first-dose vaccination coverage for those aged over 16.

With vaccination rates typically lower over the weekend, Mr Foley concedes the state is likely to hit the 80 per cent mark mid-to-late next week instead of Sunday as initially forecast.

That will delay Melburnians enjoying additional freedoms, including a resumption of contactless sport for up to five fully vaccinated adults, and expansion of the city’s travel limit from 10km to 15km.

On Friday afternoon, police and riot squad members descended on Northcote dispersing a crowd of up to 80 protesters and making 31 arrests.

A scuffle took place outside Northcote Plaza and several of those involved were led away by police at nearby All Nations Park.

Others were stopped and questioned about their reasons for leaving home as helicopters flew overhead.

More than 200 people were arrested across Melbourne as part of the fifth day of the recurring protests, with police expecting to issue 215 fines for health direction breaches.

Victoria had on Friday recorded 733 new COVID-19 cases, including a man who attended Wednesday’s protest in Melbourne’s city centre that centred on the Shrine of Remembrance.

Health chief Brett Sutton says it will take a couple of weeks to learn whether the protest was a super-spreading event.

The protests began on Monday in opposition to mandatory vaccinations for the construction sector and the closure of building site tea rooms but have morphed into a wider anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine movement.

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