BALLARAT COVID UPDATE, Thursday, September 23
NEW CASES: One
ACTIVE CASES: 19 (up from 18 on Tuesday)
Ballarat has recorded a single new COVID positive case from Wednesday as it begins its first day after a week long lockdown.
The case comes after Victorian health authorities continued to warn of the strong transmission within households and the need to avoid the temptation to make home visits over the coming long weekend.
Victoria's virus response commander Jeroen Weimar said for regional Victoria it was a good result.
"In terms of regional Victoria, a good day yesterday," Mr Weimar said. "Last night with easing the restrictions in Ballarat and my thanks to the community across Ballarat for their superb work.
"Of the 21 cases in regional Victoria, one case in Ballarat, a known primary close contact that has been isolating for their entire infectious period."
"In Bacchus Marsh, Moorabool, we have four new cases linked to exposure sites and work places in metro Melbourne."
Mr Weimar said the figures from Melbourne, the highest daily total in the pandemic so far, showed how contagious the delta variant was and the problems in households particularly in the northern suburbs.
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"A number of times we have said when COVID comes into individual households, the attack rate is very high and the risk to other members of your family is very high," Mr Weimar said.
"It is likely that everybody in the household will contract COVID at some point over that duration. In terms of the distribution, it is a similar pattern.
"In the northern suburbs, we have 468 cases, that is over 60% of today's cases. I will particularly call out the local government area of Hume where we have 264 cases in yesterday's numbers. That is a 60% increase in the last four days."
Acting Chief Health Officer Deb Friedman said the grim numbers should also act as a warning to how people planned their actions in the days ahead.
"Tomorrow is the first public holiday and long weekend that we have had in three months," Prof Friedman said.
"Unfortunately, it is not the time for home visits or group gatherings. If we want to make sure that our next public holiday may afford us some of those opportunities, it is incredibly important, and I know it's tough, to make sure that you don't use this weekend to visit friends, to visit your cousin, to visit your parents.
"In terms of catching COVID, that would be one of the most dangerous things that could be done this long weekend.
EARLIER: Victoria has recorded 766 new COVID cases, as Ballarat wakes to eased restrictions.
There were also four deaths recorded.
The daily morning update no longer includes data on how many cases are classified as mystery cases.
There were 62,408 tests processed and 40,957 Victorians received a vaccine dose at state-run hubs.
Reported yesterday: 766 new local cases and 0 cases acquired overseas.— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) September 22, 2021
- 40,957 vaccines administered
- 62,408 test results received
- Sadly, 4 people with COVID-19 have died
More later: https://t.co/OCCFTAtS1P#COVID19Vic#COVID19VicDatapic.twitter.com/mKCXQ5GIzR
Ballarat's lockdown was lifted on Wednesday night, removing the five reasons to leave the house - while masks are still required and home visits are still banned, people are able to see up to 10 other people outside, and retail and hospitality can reopen with density quotients.
The Ballarat GovHub, both the office block and the public-facing VicRoads site, has been re-listed as Tier 2 exposure sites.
Meanwhile, Melbourne is bracing for its fourth day of protests, as police report fewer demonstrators are tradies angered by mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations or the construction industry shutdown.
About 300 to 400 protesters again swarmed the Victorian capital on Wednesday, despite stay-at-home orders and repeated warnings from authorities.
Chanting "every day" from the Shrine of Remembrance, hundreds without masks - some still wearing high-visibility clothing - marched through the city to the war memorial.
Heavily armed police surrounded the shrine, leading to a tense stand-off with protesters that lasted about three hours.
Riot squad members appeared to fire tear gas, rubber bullets and other non- lethal rounds when some of the mob became increasingly hostile and refused to leave.
Two officers suffered head injuries after bottles were thrown at them.Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Ross Guenther said 215 arrests were made over the course of the day and condemned the occupation of the shine for political purposes.
"It was completely disrespectful that the crowd ended up at the shrine, which is such hallowed ground in this great city," he said.
RSL Victoria said the mob had disrespected the sanctity of the sacred site, while Shrine of Remembrance chair Stephen Bowater called it "disgraceful".
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the gathering at the shrine, telling reporters in Washington "the conduct was disgraceful".
"This is a sacred place, it's not a place of protest. It was disrespectful and it dishonoured those Australians who have made the ultimate sacrifice," he said.
"I would hope any and all who were engaged in that disgraceful behaviour, would be ashamed."
Veterans' Affairs Minister Andrew Gee said protesters should be condemned in the strongest possible terms and should apologise.
"There can be no justification for this outrage," he said.
The protests initially began in opposition to mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for the construction sector and the closure of building site tea rooms, but have since turned into wider unrest.
"Our general observation from the people on the ground was that there weren't as many tradies involved," Mr Guenther said.
Police took a more aggressive approach to the mob after they wreaked havoc on the West Gate Freeway on Tuesday, and plan to keep them guessing.
"We will vary our tactics tomorrow. But, of course, my message is don't come into the city," the deputy commissioner said.
Victoria recorded 628 new coronavirus cases and three more deaths on Wednesday.
- with AAP
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