News Coronavirus Victoria’s COVID infections dip to 1355 as state embraces ‘new normal’

Victoria’s COVID infections dip to 1355 as state embraces ‘new normal’

Oceanographer wins Lexus Stakes
Crowds are back for the Melbourne Cup carnival, but this year the number of punters and revellers will be strictly limited. Photo: AAP
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Victoria has recorded another 1355 locally acquired COVID-19 infections and 11 deaths as the state readies for its first major post-lockdown public events.

The health department on Saturday confirmed the figures, which bring the total number of active cases in the state to 21,095 and the death toll from the latest outbreak to 293.

There are 747 people in hospital, an increase of nine from Friday, with the seven-day average at 769. Of those, 135 are in intensive care with 83 on a ventilator.

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 media releases.

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

Events all over

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.

It comes as Melbourne and Victoria’s regions reunited after coronavirus restrictions eased at 6pm on Friday, ahead of the state hitting its 80 per cent full vaccination target at the weekend.

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

There were long lines outside stores at Bourke Street Mall and Chadstone shopping centre before doors were thrown open shoppers.