Melbourne celebrates end of lockdown amid concerns about rising Covid cases in young and regional Victorians | Australia news


As Melbourne continues to celebrate opening up, health officials have expressed concern about a growing proportion of Covid cases in young people, particularly in regional Victoria.

Victoria recorded nine deaths and 1,750 new local Covid cases in the 24 hours since Melbourne emerged from its sixth lockdown. The new infections were found from 72,858 test results processed on Friday.

But as the state entered its second day of newly relaxed freedoms, the Covid commander, Jeroen Weimar, said Victoria was “not out of the woods yet”.

He pointed to an increase in young people catching the virus in recent days, while about 14% of the cases recorded on Saturday were from regional Victoria.

In metropolitan Melbourne 29% of all cases recorded were under the age of 19 and in regional Victoria 38% of all cases were under the age of 19.

“To all the young Victorians amongst us, you are particularly vulnerable at this time to running into friends and associates who are Covid-positive,” Weimar said.

“These are our children and students who are clearly very active in the community,” Weimar said.

“Although we can continue to enjoy these freedoms, remember there are a lot of people with Covid-19 in our community.”

He also said that hospitalisations had stabilised over the past seven days.

“It has been a very welcome trend to see a lower number today – 770 – compared to the numbers we have seen over the last few days,” he said.

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Of the 770 Victorians in hospital with Covid, 144 were in intensive care and 90 on ventilators. As many as 86% of those admitted were not fully vaccinated and 93% of those in ICU were not fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, Queensland recorded another day of zero local cases, as authorities looked into whether any rules were breached when an Uber driver travelled to the Gold Coast from Victoria before testing positive to Covid.

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Queensland’s education minister, Grace Grace, said the man remained at a Gold Coast hospital and was very sick.

Authorities believed he was infectious at that time of arrival, and were looking into how he crossed back into Queensland from Victoria without going into hotel quarantine.

Now in its second weekend out of lockdown, NSW recorded 332 local cases and two deaths.

There were 469 people in hospital and 123 in ICU.

More than 92% of people in NSW aged 16-plus had now received one vaccine dose, and 83.7% had been fully vaccinated.

The state government also announced a $25m support package for the sports sector on Saturday, helping clubs and associations get back on their feet after the lockdown.

The grant will support as many as 10,000 grassroots sporting clubs and associations across NSW with funds also available to those competing in the Brisbane 2023 Olympics.


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