Victoria’s daily COVID numbers remain stubbornly high, with no sign the wave of infections gripping the state has reached its peak.
The latest daily caseload tally came in with bad news for 2108 Victorians who will be spending Christmas Day in isolation, along with close contacts, after contracting COVID-19.
The state has also recorded a further six virus-related deaths.
Victoria is now managing almost 17,600 active coronavirus cases. There are 361 COVID patients in hospitals across the state, slightly down on the seven-day average of 383.
There are 71 active virus patients in intensive care, 42 who require ventilation. This compares with 75 ICU patients on Friday and 40 on ventilation.
Health officials say the daily increase in infections came from more than 83,000 results processed by virus testers.
Victoria is 92 per cent per cent fully vaccinated for everyone aged 12 and over.
Meanwhile, dozens of cancelled domestic Christmas Eve flights have meant last-minute disappointment for thousands of travellers.
Around a dozen flights out of Melbourne Airport were affected, with more Jetstar and Qantas trips disrupted out of Sydney.
However many flights did take off as scheduled and further problems were not expected on Christmas Day.
The disruptions were caused by restrictions which have meant some airline staff must get tested and isolate.
It’s thought some of Melbourne’s latest virus cases have spread from Christmas carol rehearsals and performances at Melbourne’s St Paul’s Cathedral.
Members of the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir, the Melbourne University Choral Society, Box Hill Chorale, the RMP Brass Consort and the Melbourne Highland Pipe Band were all involved in the events.
The health department says seven new cases are linked to the choir and orchestra performing Carols in the Cathedral, a series of four concerts held last week.
It has issued a reminder that singing can increase transmission of the virus, and says anyone thinking of attending group singing over Christmas should monitor for symptoms.
A mask mandate for people eight years and older entering hospitality and entertainment venues and offices came into effect on Friday.
Masks required at the MCG
Masks will also be required at all major events with more than 30,000 patrons, including the Boxing Day Test at the MCG but can be removed while seated outdoors.
They do not need to be worn in households.
Masks are already required in retail settings, for hospitality workers and on public transport.
The government is also recommending Victorians work from home over the festive season and hospitality venues are being asked to consider providing a seated-only service.
A lockdown is not being considered because of Victoria’s high vaccination rate.