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Victoria’s COVID infections, deaths fall

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Regional and two public hospitals in Melbourne can resume category two elective surgery from Monday. Photo: AAP
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Victoria has reported 7104 COVID cases and two deaths, as the state lifts its virus-related health system alert amid the easing Omicron wave.

Of the cases confirmed on Monday, 5046 were detected through rapid antigen tests and 2058 via PCR lab testing.

They were down on the 7223 infections reported on Sunday.

Health authorities say the state is managing 53,707 active cases in total. There are 465 people in Victorian hospitals, no change from Sunday’s number.

Of these, 66 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care, 18 of whom require ventilation.

At midday on Monday, Victoria’s unprecedented system-wide “code brown”, implemented more than three weeks ago, will lift.

Health Minister Martin Foley said on Friday the government was confident the alert could be safely repealed, but hospitals were “still going to be very, very busy”.

Melbourne public hospitals will continue to be restricted to emergency and urgent elective surgery with the exception of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Royal Eye and Ear Hospital.

They, and regional public hospitals, can resume category two elective surgery if staff are available.

The code brown alert implemented in January came as the Omicron wave placed pressure on the hospital system, with urgent services cut back and staff able to be asked to postpone leave.

Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday there was room for the state to adjust some of its restrictions and requirements “now that we’ve hit the peak of Omicron”.

Density limits and QR code check-ins were being reviewed, Mr Andrews said.

Queensland has ditched check-ins at venues that don’t require proof of vaccination. Mr Andrews suggested Victoria would ease its requirements by the end of February, in line with NSW.