Victoria COVID cases today drop significantly as retail and travel restrictions across Melbourne and the regions change

Victoria has recorded another drop in new COVID-19 cases as more restrictions were eased overnight across the state.

On Saturday, the Department of Health confirmed there had been 1355 cases in the 24 hours until midnight.

There were also another 11 COVID-related deaths.

Saturday’s figures bring the total number of active cases in the state to 21,095 and the death toll from the latest outbreak to 293.

The number of people hospitalised with COVID-19 in the state remains stable at 747.

Of those 135 are in intensive care and 83 are on a ventilator.

Vic COVID update

About 78 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 are now fully vaccinated.

There were 68,484 tests processed and 22,455 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered at state-run hubs on Friday.

Saturday will be the last daily COVID-19 briefing, with key information and statistics to instead be issued through a media release.

A person is seen exercising in Geelong.
A person is seen exercising in Geelong. Credit: JAMES ROSS/AAPIMAGE

The latest figures come as Victorians are set for their first taste of post-lockdown major events, with crowds to test the state’s COVID-19 vaccination check-in system.

A 5500-strong crowd is expected through the gates of Flemington Racecourse for Derby Day on Saturday, marking the start of the four-day Melbourne Cup carnival.

On Saturday evening almost 4000 music fans will gather for a concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl and soak up performances from Baker Boy, Amyl and the Sniffers, and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.

Other smaller outdoor gigs affiliated with the Play on Victoria series will also be held across regional Victoria at the weekend.

Attendees will need to show proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to get into this weekend’s events.

More freedoms for Victorians

As of 6pm on Friday night, more restrictions were eased in Victoria ahead of the state expecting to reach its 80 per cent vaccination milestone on Sunday.

The border between Melbourne and the regions has now come down, masks no longer need to be worn outdoors, indoor entertainment venues, gyms and retail can reopen for fully vaccinated patrons, and capacity limits have increased for restaurants, pubs and cafes.

General view outside of Flinders Street Station in Melbourne.
General view outside of Flinders Street Station in Melbourne. Credit: JAMES ROSS/AAPIMAGE

All retail will be open and pubs, restaurants and cafe can have up to 500 fully vaccinated patrons outside and a density limit of one person per four square metres inside.

On Saturday, there were long lines outside stores at Bourke Street Mall and Chadstone shopping centre before doors were thrown open shoppers.

Up to 30 people can gather outside, which is an increase of 15 and home gatherings remain capped at ten.

Weddings, funerals and religious services return to the four-square-metre density limit indoors for fully vaccinated patrons and 500 outdoors.

Prof Sutton said the state was on track to be among the “top five” vaccinated jurisdictions in the world, with 65.5 per cent of all Victorians – including children under 12 who are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine – fully vaccinated.

“That’s a higher vaccination rate than the US, Austria, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Israel,” he said.

Six vaccination clinics and 30 testing sites were also forced to close on Friday after wild weather battered the state.

– with AAP

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