Victorians will soon be able to buy rapid antigen tests from major supermarkets as the state readies for its first major events out of lockdown.
From Monday, Victorians will be able to purchase rapid antigen tests from supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths, enabling to check themselves for COVID-19 in their own homes.
“Stick them in a drawer at home, if you feel symptomatic you can use the test to provide you that extra bit of reassurance – either you are OK or maybe you are not OK,” COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said.
“Clearly any positive test with a rapid antigen test needs to be backed up with a PCR, but these are tools that become more possible and as we start to move around.”
Commander Weimar said 18 per cent of new infections were in children aged under 10, while two thirds of cases were aged under 40 and about one third under 20.
“This continues to be cases predominantly in our unvaccinated communities and predominantly affecting younger Victorians,” he told reporters on Saturday.
“So, please, particularly for those people in their 20s, go out and get vaccinated.”
Thirty COVID-19 testing sites that were forced to close on Friday due to power outages and storms, possibly explaining why Friday’s numbers saw a decline of diagnosed infections to 1355 cases.
‘Get tested, please get tested’
All testing sites were open and operating on Saturday, Commander Weimar confirmed.
“If you weren’t able to get to the nearest testing site yesterday, please do so today,” he said.
There are 747 Victorians in hospital, an increase of nine from Friday, with the seven-day average standing at 769. Of those, 135 are in intensive care with 83 on ventilators.
The long-sought 80 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 are now fully vaccinated, and 92.3 per cent have received a first dose.
There were 68,484 tests processed and 22,455 vaccine doses given at state-run hubs on Friday.
Saturday marked the state’s final daily COVID-19 briefing, with key information and statistics to instead be issued through a media release at 11am each day.
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 this weekend.
The border between Melbourne and the regions has now come down, masks no longer need to be worn outdoors, and capacity limits have increased for restaurants, pubs and cafes.
Indoor entertainment venues, gyms and retail have reopened to fully vaccinated patrons.
There were long lines outside stores at Bourke Street Mall and Chadstone shopping centre before doors were thrown open to shoppers.
A 5500-strong crowd is expected through the gates of Flemington Racecourse for Derby Day on Saturday, while 4000 music fans will gather for a concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in the evening.