Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says changes to his state’s lockdown will be revealed on Wednesday, after confirming another 76 local virus cases.
Mr Andrews promised “modest changes” that are yet to be decided, as Victoria’s COVID infections remained stubbornly high despite the ongoing strict shutdown.
His government and health authorities will spend much of the remainder of Tuesday thrashing out the details, which will include thresholds for rule changes.
“We are looking at all manner of different things that we might be able to do but I want to be very clear with the people of Victoria – this will not be freedom day, it will not be an opening up type day,” he said.
“It will be modest changes that hopefully can be meaningful in people’s lives, as much economic activity as is possible, but they will be very modest changes because there is no middle ground here.”
Among the details to be worked out is how many virus cases Victoria will tolerate, if it can’t manage its caseload back down to zero.
“It will need to be a low number. It cannot be in the hundreds because it won’t be in the hundreds for long, it will race and get away from us,” Mr Andrews said.
Of Tuesday’s 76 new COVID cases, 45 were linked to known clusters. Forty of the latest cases spent at least part of their infectious period in the community.
There are 841 active cases of COVID-19 in the state.
More than 50,000 people were tested on Monday, with 32,162 vaccine doses administered. The number of vaccines administered jumped 20 per cent in Victoria last weekend.
Mr Andrews said Victoria could manage “a pandemic of the unvaccinated”, as long as the number of unvaccinated people was low.
“That is to say, we will cope with unvaccinated people becoming infected and become sick when we have reached the 70 and, most importantly, the 80 per cent vaccination target,” he said.
“Today, as I stand here now, Victoria and the nation has only 35 per cent of people double-dose covered.”
The number of COVID patients in Victorian hospitals also continues to rise. There were 52 on Tuesday, including 16 in intensive care.
More than half of the hospital patients are under 50.
Mr Andrews had already flagged that Victoria’s COVID numbers were too high for its lockdown to end as planned on Thursday.
“It is not like we have easy choices and really hard ones and we’re choosing to go with the most difficult choice, the choice that’s having the greatest impact,” he said on Tuesday.
“There are only difficult choices. There are only difficult options with Delta. You either aim for very low numbers or you will in fact have very high numbers.”
The state’s exposure site list has jumped above 1000, with nearly 150 sites added in the past day. They include train lines and a Port Melbourne school construction site.