Victoria records 2232 new local cases of coronavirus
Covid-19 infections could have climbed into the tens-of-thousands had Melbourne not been plunged into lockdown, health officials have warned.
In Victoria’s final hours of 262 days of lockdown the state recorded 2232 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases – the second highest figure of daily cases since the state posted 2297 infections last week.
Despite the massive figure, deputy chief health officer Ben Cowie warned cases would have been even higher had the city not shut down.
“We have prevented many thousands of people from ending up in hospital and hundreds of deaths already,” Mr Cowie said.
“We are now in a good position to start to reopen and get back to the things that we love doing.”
Professor Cowie warned there would be “more cases” as the state continued to reopen, but urged the importance of social distancing, face masks and hygiene.
After posting more than 1800 cases on Wednesday he attributed Thursday’s spike to people who had contracted the virus over the weekend and come forward for testing earlier in the week.
“We have seen this pattern of higher numbers reported on Thursday for several weeks now,” he said.
“This isn‘t entirely unexpected and may reflect infections acquired over the weekend.”
Twelve more Victorians died from the virus in the past 24 hours, the Department of Health also confirmed.
The deaths included a man in his 40s, two men and two women in their 60s, one man and one woman in their 70s, three women and a man in their 80s and a woman in her 90s.
There were 779 people in hospitals across the state, with 141 in intensive care and 96 on a ventilator.
About 90 per cent of Victorians above the age of 16 have received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while 70 per cent were fully vaccinated.
From 11.59pm on Thursday, restrictions to leave home as well as the curfew will be scrapped.
There will be no travel limit within metropolitan Melbourne, but authorised travel to enter regional Victoria will still be required.
Ten visitors, including dependants, will be able to visit someone’s home per day.
There will also be a staggered return of grade 3 and year 11 students in metropolitan Melbourne schools from Friday.
Originally published as Victoria records 2232 new local cases of coronavirus
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails