Victoria Covid roadmap: premier declares ‘we’re opening up’ with lockdown to finish in late October | Victoria

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Melbourne’s controversial curfew will be scrapped, with people able to travel up to 25km and have a beer outside the pub once 70% of Victorian adults are fully vaccinated against Covid – which is expected about 26 October.

But the most substantial changes to the state’s restrictions won’t be made until 80% of over-16s are immunised, which is forecast to occur about 5 November.

The premier, Daniel Andrews, on Sunday unveiled Victoria’s “cautious” roadmap out of lockdown, as the state reported 507 new local cases and one death, bringing the toll from the latest outbreak to 11.

Andrews said restrictions would be eased in a staggered and measured way “but we are opening up – be in no doubt about that”.

“There will be no turning back,” the premier said.

Andrews also announced greater Geelong, the Surf Coast and Mitchell Shire would enter a seven-day lockdown starting on Monday, meaning the regions will be under the same restrictions as Melbourne and Ballarat.

According to the roadmap, when 80% of the eligible population has received a single vaccine dose, outdoor tennis and golf can resume. That target is expected to be reached in about a week.

Once 70% of Victorians are fully vaccinated by late October, metropolitan Melbourne’s 9pm-5am curfew will be lifted, and the 10km travel limit will be increased to 25km. Pubs, restaurants and cafes will be able to open outdoors, with a limit of 50 fully vaccinated people.

Hairdressing can return for the fully vaccinated with a maximum of five people in a salon at a time.

Outdoor gatherings can increase to a maximum of 10 fully vaccinated people or five unvaccinated, while outdoor pools, community facilities and sport can return with a cap of 50 vaccinated people.

Outdoor religious gatherings can also take place for up to 50 vaccinated people and 20 unvaccinated, though for outdoor weddings only 10 unvaccinated people can attend, the roadmap states.

Year 12 students can go back to face-to-face learning for the start of term four on 6 October with a staggered return of other years starting with prep to year 2 on 18 October.

The remaining year levels will be able to return on 26 October but only year 7 and year 11 will be able to attend five days per week.

Once 80% of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated, retail, hairdressing and beauty services, and childcare can reopen for the fully-vaccinated, with strict density limits, and hospitality can return indoors.

People will be able to have private gatherings of up to 10 vaccinated people, while at Christmas it is expected that will increase to 30.

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Late last week, about 120,000 doctors, nurses, paramedics and allied health workers urged the state government to prioritise the health system and its workforce over easing restrictions.

Through their unions, the health workers called for “accurate modelling” on expected ambulance demand, hospitalisations, intensive care patients and deaths.

Burnett Institute modelling commissioned by the Victorian government forecasts the state will reach a peak of between 1,400 to 2,900 daily Covid cases between 19-31 October, based on current numbers.

This would lead to a peak of between 1,200-2,500 Victorians requiring hospitalisation, including between 260 and 550 requiring an intensive care bed.

The modelling found a significant easing of restrictions once 80% of people are fully vaccinated means an almost two-in-three chance of a second epidemic peak in mid-December, which would push hospitalisations over 2,500.

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High rates of symptomatic testing in vaccinated people would reduce the risk to a one-in-three chance.

The state government’s roadmap out of lockdown goes further than the restrictions modelled.

As of Saturday, there were more than 200 Victorians in hospital with the virus, 56 in intensive care and 40 on ventilators to breathe.

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