Victoria exceeds 600 new COVID cases as infections soar

coronavirus,

Victoria has recorded 603 new COVID cases as parts of Western Victoria draws nearer to its scheduled end of lockdown. There were also one death recorded, bringing the current outbreak to 13. It is the highest daily figure since last year’s deadly second wave. The daily morning update no longer includes data on how many cases are classified as mystery cases. There were 48,829 tests were processed and a record 40,811 Victorians received a vaccine dose at state-run hubs. In Ballarat, there were five new cases confirmed on Monday, bringing the outbreak total to 17. However, authorities said all were closely linked. Four of the five were from the one household, while the other was a close contact of a Melbourne case. READ MORE: It is expected a number of further cases will be confirmed on Tuesday. Ballarat’s seven-day lockdown is forecast to end at 11.59pm on Wednesday, although it could be extended if authorities are not yet confident they have a clear picture about the virus. There has not yet been any official indication from the government as to whether Ballarat’s lockdown will continue. See where all the active cases are here. Meanwhile, Victoria’s construction industry will be shut down for two weeks and workers will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before they return to sites. The shutdown was announced late on Monday following violent protests outside the CFMEU’s head office in Melbourne’s CBD over a vaccine mandate for the industry. It applies to work sites across Melbourne, Ballarat, Geelong, Mitchell Shire and the Surf Coast. OTHER NEWS: Industrial Relations Minister Tim Pallas said the shutdown was required to cut down movement, reduce COVID-19 transmission and give the industry time to adapt to the new requirements. “We put the industry on notice just a week ago, we have seen appalling behaviour on-site and on our streets, and now we’re acting decisively and without hesitation,” he said in a statement. An amnesty will be in place on Monday so that a limited number of workers can attend construction sites to shut them down safely. See all the exposure sites here. The government said all sites will need to demonstrate compliance with the chief health officer’s directions prior to reopening, including the requirement for workers to show evidence of having had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before they return to work on October 5. The Property Council of Australia said the shutdown would cost the economy $1.1 billion a week. “The majority of construction sites and construction workers are doing everything required of them to meet the highest standards of COVID safety and have done so since the pandemic started,” executive director Danni Hunter said in a statement. “Closing the industry will prevent them going to work and getting paid and it will stall projects causing immensely costly delays, putting projects and Victorian jobs at risk.” Opposition industry spokeswoman Bridget Vallence said the Andrews government must immediately reverse its “panicked decision”. “The Liberal Nationals condemn the violent protests, but the actions of a few should not be used as an excuse to shut down an entire industry, putting tens of thousands of people out of work,” she said in a statement. Union officials say Monday’s protesters were not all CFMEU members and blamed “neo-Nazi’s and right-wing extremists” for hijacking the event. The protest escalated when two union officials, including Victorian construction branch secretary John Sekta, came outside the Elizabeth Street office to speak to protesters just before midday. Mr Setka was met with boos and insults from the crowd, while some protesters hurled bottles. “Please calm down. Can you at least give me the respect to talk? We’re not the enemy, I don’t know what you have heard,” he told protesters. “I have never, ever said I support mandatory vaccination.” Once Mr Setka went back inside, the protesters smashed a glass door to the building. Some said they would come to the CFMEU office every day until the union bows to their demands. Construction sites have been a place of high spread in the latest outbreak, forcing health officials to close tearooms last week. The state’s roadmap out of lockdown was released on Sunday, detailing small changes to restrictions when 80 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 have received a single vaccine dose. Melbourne’s lockdown will remain in place until 70 per cent of Victorians are double-vaccinated, which is forecast for October 26. The Stawell Times-News has removed the paywall from our stories relating to health warnings and safety of the community. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.

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Victoria has recorded 603 new COVID cases as parts of Western Victoria draws nearer to its scheduled end of lockdown.

There were also one death recorded, bringing the current outbreak to 13.

It is the highest daily figure since last year’s deadly second wave.

The daily morning update no longer includes data on how many cases are classified as mystery cases.

There were 48,829 tests were processed and a record 40,811 Victorians received a vaccine dose at state-run hubs.

However, authorities said all were closely linked.

Four of the five were from the one household, while the other was a close contact of a Melbourne case.

It is expected a number of further cases will be confirmed on Tuesday.

Ballarat’s seven-day lockdown is forecast to end at 11.59pm on Wednesday, although it could be extended if authorities are not yet confident they have a clear picture about the virus.

There has not yet been any official indication from the government as to whether Ballarat’s lockdown will continue.

See where all the active cases are here.

Meanwhile, Victoria’s construction industry will be shut down for two weeks and workers will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before they return to sites.

The shutdown was announced late on Monday following violent protests outside the CFMEU’s head office in Melbourne’s CBD over a vaccine mandate for the industry.

It applies to work sites across Melbourne, Ballarat, Geelong, Mitchell Shire and the Surf Coast.

Industrial Relations Minister Tim Pallas said the shutdown was required to cut down movement, reduce COVID-19 transmission and give the industry time to adapt to the new requirements.

“We put the industry on notice just a week ago, we have seen appalling behaviour on-site and on our streets, and now we’re acting decisively and without hesitation,” he said in a statement.

An amnesty will be in place on Monday so that a limited number of workers can attend construction sites to shut them down safely.

See all the exposure sites here.

The government said all sites will need to demonstrate compliance with the chief health officer’s directions prior to reopening, including the requirement for workers to show evidence of having had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before they return to work on October 5.

The Property Council of Australia said the shutdown would cost the economy $1.1 billion a week.

“The majority of construction sites and construction workers are doing everything required of them to meet the highest standards of COVID safety and have done so since the pandemic started,” executive director Danni Hunter said in a statement.

“Closing the industry will prevent them going to work and getting paid and it will stall projects causing immensely costly delays, putting projects and Victorian jobs at risk.”

Opposition industry spokeswoman Bridget Vallence said the Andrews government must immediately reverse its “panicked decision”.

“The Liberal Nationals condemn the violent protests, but the actions of a few should not be used as an excuse to shut down an entire industry, putting tens of thousands of people out of work,” she said in a statement.

Union officials say Monday’s protesters were not all CFMEU members and blamed “neo-Nazi’s and right-wing extremists” for hijacking the event.

The protest escalated when two union officials, including Victorian construction branch secretary John Sekta, came outside the Elizabeth Street office to speak to protesters just before midday.

Mr Setka was met with boos and insults from the crowd, while some protesters hurled bottles.

“Please calm down. Can you at least give me the respect to talk? We’re not the enemy, I don’t know what you have heard,” he told protesters.

“I have never, ever said I support mandatory vaccination.”

Once Mr Setka went back inside, the protesters smashed a glass door to the building.

Some said they would come to the CFMEU office every day until the union bows to their demands.

Construction sites have been a place of high spread in the latest outbreak, forcing health officials to close tearooms last week.

The state’s roadmap out of lockdown was released on Sunday, detailing small changes to restrictions when 80 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 have received a single vaccine dose.

Melbourne’s lockdown will remain in place until 70 per cent of Victorians are double-vaccinated, which is forecast for October 26.

The Stawell Times-News has removed the paywall from our stories relating to health warnings and safety of the community. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.

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