A Victorian man in his 20s has died at home after becoming infected with coronavirus as young people make up the bulk of the state’s growing active cases, with 1210 now infected.A Victorian man in his 20s has died from coronavirus as number of cases in children across the state surges.
The man, from Hume in Melbourne’s north, died at home and was one of two deaths announced by the health department on Tuesday morning.A post mortem identified he had Covid but the Department of Health was unaware of him as a case.
It’s not yet known if he had underlying health conditions.The other death was a woman in her 80s from Brimbank in Melbourne’s west.In total, 158 Covid-infected Victorians are now in hospital with coronavirus.
There are 45 people in intensive care and 23 are on a ventilator.Ninety-one per cent of people in hospital are not vaccinated, eight per cent are partially vaccinated and just one person in fully vaccinated.The majority of Victoria’s active cases are in young people with 563 cases are in children under nine, 647 aged between 10 and 19 and 906 aged in their 20s.
In total, 87 per cent of the state’s active cases younger than 50.There was a significant jump in mystery cases on Tuesday, up 45 from 271 on Monday.Only 129 of the latest infections are linked to existing outbreaks.The state recorded 445 new cases in the past 24 hours.
Where today’s cases were found:
– 275 cases have been reported in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, including Hume, Moreland and Whittlesea;
– 83 cases were recorded in the western suburbs of Wyndham, Melton, Brimbank and Hobsons Bay;
– 20 cases in Melbourne’s southeast in Casey, Greater Dandenong, Port Phillip and Glen Eira; and
– Three new cases in regional Victoria including on the Surf Coast, Ballarat and Mitchell.
The state’s clinics administered 36,615 vaccines on Monday.Melbourne has the lowest vaccination rate of any municipality in the state, fuelling calls to turn the MCG into a mass vaccination hub in grand final week.
New data released on Monday shows just 54.2 per cent of those over 16 living in the City of Melbourne have received at least one dose and 28.4 per cent are fully vaccinated.That is despite the area already having 16 GP clinics administering the Pfizer vaccine – more than suburban hot spots, including Hume, Wyndham and Dandenong.
Health Minister Martin Foley said there were two major vaccination hubs – the Royal Exhibition Building and Jeff’s Shed – around the CBD.“If the commonwealth can provide more vaccines … Whether it’s the MCG, Luna Park or anywhere else where it could be a fun thing to vaccine around, that’s great,” he said.
“We’d be strongly supportive of helping get Victorians to participate in that, but our priority is to take the vaccines to where people are in the areas of greatest need.”The state’s Covid response deputy secretary Naomi Bromley on Sunday said the initiative would be a “lovely thing to do”.
She said delivering vaccinations at the MCG – proposed by the Sunday Herald Sun – was “certainly one of the options on the table” as the state’s rollout expanded.Opposition Leader Matthew Guy joined Prime Minister Scott Morrison, federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and a host of footy legends in backing the idea.
“That’s a tremendous idea,” Mr Guy said.“It is so important to get vaccinated … It’s important that we have a clear and concise message, (and) have ideas like having a Grand Final jab day at the ’G.”
The state opposition is intensifying its push for family bubbles to be allowed in time for the AFL grand final. It would mean one family – living across several households – would be able to gather outdoors for the match.“The concept of providing some mental health relief, particularly through family contact, has never been more important,” Mr Guy said.
“I think that would be a good way of giving something back to Victorians.”When asked about the proposal, Mr Foley said: “We’ll be taking the chief health officer’s advice, not the opposition’s advice when it comes to public health matters.”Former federal Labor leader Bill Shorten on Monday said Victorians wanted “to know there is light at the end of the tunnel”, as the state government finalised work on its road map for reopening.
“We want a plan. We’d like to know some deadlines,” Mr Shorten said, as he particularly focused on the need to get children back to school.“We’re looking at other states and we want some of that, but we’ve got to make sure we do it safely.”
‘HUGE’ PROTEST TURNOUT EXPECTED
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said the anti-lockdown protest scheduled for Saturday has him “very, very concerned”, with “huge” numbers expected.It comes after he labelled Victoria “the protesting capital of the world”.“We’ll be doing everything we can to prevent people attending,” he told 3AW.
The commissioner did not rule out shutting down the public transport network to prevent rulebreakers from making their way into the CBD.“It’s something I’m actively exploring,” he said.
“(I’m) trying to understand the consequences of that and whether it’s feasible, but it’s an active consideration at the moment which we’ll determine in the next day or two.”
Mr Patton said he hoped his members would not need to deploy pepper spray or rubber bullets to control the crowd if violence erupts.“But if necessary, and when appropriate, we will use (them) if that has to be the case,” he said.
“The reality for us is anyone who attends is breaking the law … and if they come there, anyone is liable to be arrested and we would process as many people as we can.”“I implore, plead, urge with everyone don’t come in. It can’t go ahead.”It comes as Victoria Police established two commands to enforce Covid-19 restrictions until the end of 2022.
Mr Patton said coronavirus enforcement would remain “the biggest game in town” for the foreseeable future.“We don’t get to pick and choose what we enforce,” he told 10 News. “There has to be a consequence, so that people who are doing the wrong thing are held to account.”
The force has established two commands to enforce Covid-19 restrictions, such as quarantine arrangements, until the end of 2022. A command is a specialised police unit dedicated to detecting and preventing particular crimes.Mr Patton said the force’s role in enforcing Covid-19 restrictions hadn’t completely eroded the public’s trust in police, but there had been some effect.
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY PUT ON NOTICE
Victoria’s construction industry has been put on notice, with warnings it could be shut down if compliance does not improve.
The sector will be subjected to a four-week compliance blitz aimed at workers and job sites that are not following strict Covid protocols.An extra 20,000 Pfizer doses – and unlimited AstraZeneca doses – will be fast-tracked to workers in response to growing outbreaks in the sector such as a Box Hill site where 120 cases emerged.
Industrial Relations Minister Tim Pallas warned the permitted worker status of the sector could be at risk if breaches continued. “The time for warnings and admonishment is over,” he said.Infected construction workers live about 20km from where they picked up the virus, compared with about 4km on average for supermarket outbreaks, Mr Pallas said.
Up to 50 teams of authorised workers, and inspectors from WorkSafe and the Victorian Building Authority began compliance checks on Monday. Master Builders Victoria boss Rebecca Casson said the measures had long been requested by industry leaders.
“The building and construction industry is critical to jobs and the economy but it’s just as critical that our industry continues to enforce Covid-safe measures,” Ms Casson said.It comes as Covid-19 commander Jeroen Weimar warned tearooms were now “probably the most dangerous place” for transmission.
“Tearooms are not a safe place,” he said.New data shows vaccination rates are still lagging behind the state average in areas hit hardest by Melbourne’s latest outbreak.In Hume, where there are 1183 cases, only 55 per cent of those over 15 have received at least one dose. The first dose rate is 56.2 per cent in Whittlesea, which has 274 active cases.