Victoria’s battle to control the local face of the COVID pandemic has stalled again, with 1275 new locally acquired infections and four virus-related deaths.
Fifty-six people are in intensive care where 25 of them require ventilation.
The state is now managing more than 9630 coronavirus cases. Some 317 patients are in Victorian hospitals, slightly down on the seven-day average of 346.
Health officials say virus testers processed 61,650 results in the 24 hours to Saturday evening.
Victoria is now 89 per cent fully vaccinated for people aged 12 and over.
The state reported 1166 new infections on Saturday as thousands of protesters brought parts of central Melbourne to a standstill and a child under 10 become Australia’s youngest person to die with COVID-19.
The demonstrators rallied against Victoria’s contentious pandemic bill – which stalled in the upper house last week – and vaccine mandates.
Watched on by police outside parliament house, the crowd chanted “Kill the bill” while carrying placards featuring a range of anti-government and anti-vaccine mandate slogans.
‘No more mandates’
Despite the significant numbers, however, police declared the protest peaceful with only one arrest made.
Independent MP Catherine Cumming, who said she would vote in favour of the pandemic bill if the government scrapped vaccine mandates, led a “no more mandates” and “sack (Premier) Dan Andrews” chant.
“We are adults. We make our own decisions for our children. Get out of our lives Daniel,” she said.
A counter demonstration at the nearby Eight Hour Day Monument attracted a smaller crowd and marched through other parts of the city.
A scuffle broke out near Lygon Street between a well-known right-wing activist and the anti-fascist protesters before police intervened.
Organiser Nahui Jimenez said Campaign Against Racism and Fascism rallies in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth were designed to draw attention to the “growth of conspiratorial, anti-human and fascistic politics”.
“Hostility to vaccines has become a gateway to the far right globally,” she said.
It has been reported figures associated with the neo-Nazi movement have recently joined the protesters, who on Monday evening staged a mock execution of the premier using wooden gallows.
Key Victorian crossbench MP Andy Meddick’s daughter Kielan was also allegedly attacked on a Fitzroy street on Thursday night after being confronted by an unknown man for spray painting an anti-vax poster.
This weekend is the first since Victoria lifted the majority of its lockdown laws for fully vaccinated people.