COVID-19 pandemic in Victoria

Last updated

COVID-19 pandemic in Victoria
Disease COVID-19
Virus strain SARS-CoV-2
Location Victoria, Australia
First outbreak Wuhan, Hubei, China
Index case Melbourne
Arrival date19 January 2020
Confirmed cases113,769 (as of 23 November 2021)
Active cases9,420 (as of 23 November 2021)
Hospitalised cases303 (as of 23 November 2021)
Critical cases44 (as of 23 November 2021)
Recovered103,037 (as of 23 November 2021)
Deaths
1,299 (as of 23 November 2021)
Fatality rate1.25%
Government website
www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au

The COVID-19 pandemic in Victoria is part of the ongoing worldwide pandemic of the coronavirus disease 2019 ( COVID-19 ) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first confirmed case in the state of Victoria, also the first in Australia, was identified as being on 19 January 2020, when a man arrived by air from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. He later tested positive for the virus. [1] [2]

Contents

Timeline

2020

First lockdown

On 10 March, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews warned Victorians to expect "extreme measures" in the wake of the federal government updating the travel advice for Italy. [3] These could include cancelling major sporting events, requiring entire economic sectors to work from home, and calling recently retired health professionals to return to work. [4]

A state of emergency was declared on 16 March, [5] which was extended on 12 April, [6] with existing directions remaining in place including staying at home, restrictions on particular activities, detention, restrictions on airports and cruise ships, aged care, hospitals and isolation for people diagnosed with COVID-19.[ citation needed ] It was extended further on 11 May,[ citation needed ] and again on 19 July to 16 August. [7]

On 22 March, the school holiday was brought forward from 27 to 24 March. [8]

On 14 April, Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos announced that Victoria would have the widest coronavirus testing in Australia, with anyone having COVID-19 symptoms able to get tested. [9] The statement was issued that those who presented with fever or chills, in the absence of any other alternative diagnosis that explained the issue, or acute respiratory infection characterised by coughing, sore throat or shortness of breath should be tested for coronavirus. [10]

Second lockdown

Gate 2 of the Melbourne Cricket Ground ahead of the 2020 AFL Grand Final, which was played in Brisbane MCG Grand Final Eve 2020.jpg
Gate 2 of the Melbourne Cricket Ground ahead of the 2020 AFL Grand Final, which was played in Brisbane

On 20 June, the Victorian Government re-tightened restrictions on household gatherings following a spike in community transmitted cases over the previous week, reported to be mainly caused by family-to-family transmission in large household gatherings. From 22 June, households could once again only have five visitors; and most easing of restrictions that were to take place were postponed. [11]

On 30 June, the Victorian Government re-enforced local lockdowns across 10 different Melbourne postcodes. Residents there would need to comply with the four acceptable reasons to leave their houses: shopping for essentials; for medical or compassionate needs; exercise in compliance with the public gathering restriction of two people; and for work or education purposes. [12]

On 2 July, the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the "Judicial Inquiry into Hotel Quarantine Program". This followed some cases of coronavirus in Victoria being linked by DNA sequencing to a breach in hotel quarantine infection control. The Inquiry was to "… examine the operation of Victoria's hotel quarantine program for returning travellers." It was headed by retired judge Jennifer Coate, and was scheduled to deliver its report to the Governor by 25 September. [13] [14] The inquiry was delayed by lockdown restrictions. [15] Andrews noted that "it is abundantly clear that what has gone on here is completely unacceptable and we need to know exactly what has happened." [13] An interim report was published on 6 November, [16] and the inquiry's final report was published on 21 December. [17] The Government response to the interim report was published in November. [18]

On 4 July, the Victorian Government announced two more postcodes affected by the lockdown until 29 July 2020. [19] Nine public housing towers housing 3,000 residents were also added, with the additional condition that residents could not leave the tower under any circumstances for five days, with the possibility of an extension to 14 days. [20] The Victorian ombudsman later found the lockdown of the public housing towers breached human rights laws. [21]

On 6 July, the Victorian and NSW state Governments announced that their interstate border would be re-closed from the start of 8 July. [22]

On 7 July, after recording 191 new cases, Premier Andrews announced that metropolitan Melbourne and the Shire of Mitchell would re-enter lockdown from 12 am on 9 July, for 6 weeks. [23]

On 19 July, following a "concerning increase in coronavirus cases", Premier Andrews announced that "face coverings" were to be made mandatory in metropolitan Melbourne, and Mitchell Shire. This was not enforced until after 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday 22 July to allow the populace time to acquire a face covering. [7] In addition, the state of emergency was extended until 16 August 2020. [7]

From 22 July, as the chance of coronavirus infection remained high in aged care and health care settings, visits were restricted to carers only, and with a limit of one hour per day. [7]

From 23 July, "face coverings" in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire became mandatory whenever residents leave their homes. A fine of A$200 was imposed to those not complying, though medical and other exemptions were allowed, such as not being required for children under 12 years of age. [7]

On 2 August, a state of disaster was declared and metropolitan Melbourne was moved to Stage 4 restrictions. A curfew across Melbourne from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. was imposed, a 5 km (3.1 mi) radius restriction as added, and other restrictions that had previously been applied only to selected postcodes were applied to the whole of metropolitan Melbourne. A permit system was introduced for any residents that still needed to travel to work outside of their 5 km radius. [24]

On 6 September (Father's Day), the "Roadmap for Reopening" was announced; a series of four steps towards "COVID Normal" which would begin on 13 September. In the "First Step", which applied to metropolitan Victoria, several restrictions were eased including a reduction of the curfew, some loosening of rules around outdoor exercise and social interactions, the introduction of a "bubble" that allowed single people living alone to nominate one person to be allowed to visit them during the first two steps, and increased limits for weddings, funerals and religious gatherings. At the same time, it was announced that regional Victoria would move to the "Second Step", which included a staged return of students to onsite learning as well as the reopening of outdoor public pools and further increases to limits for weddings, funerals and religious gatherings. [25] [26]

On 18 October, regional Victoria was moved to "Step Three", which included the reopening of most businesses to the public, increased seating for hospitality, the allowance of visitors for all residents and the resumption of some indoor sports. At the same time, the 5 km limit in metropolitan Victoria was increased to 25 km (16 mi) and the two-hour time limit was removed, however the border between metropolitan and regional Victoria (often referred to as the "ring of steel") was strengthened with extra checkpoints added. [27] [28]

On 26 October, metropolitan restrictions were eased, with residents allowed to leave home for any reason, all retail businesses allowed to reopen, hospitality venues allowed to seat patrons, further relaxations on outdoor gatherings, and allowance of visitors to all residents, with some caveats. The 25 km restriction and "Ring of steel" remained in place, however. [29] With a length of 112 days, Victoria's second lockdown was the longest continuous lockdown world-wide, as of October 2020. [30]

On 8 November, metropolitan restrictions were brought into line with regional restrictions with travel now being allowed to and from anywhere in the state. Indoor recreation, community and entertainment venues were also reopened. Restrictions on accommodation were also loosened in an effort to encourage intrastate tourism. It was also announced that, subject to public health advice, Victoria would move to the "Last Step" on 22 November. [31] [32]

On 27 November, Victoria recorded its 28th consecutive day of 0 new cases and 0 deaths, and had 0 active cases, epidemiologically eliminating the virus. [33] [34]

Victoria Police checkpoint at Yarrawonga on 12 January 2021 Victoria Police checkpoint at Yarrawonga on January 12th 2021.jpg
Victoria Police checkpoint at Yarrawonga on 12 January 2021

Resumption of hotel quarantine

On 30 November, the Victorian government announced that a new dedicated agency, "COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria" (CQV), had been created. The interim Commissioner of CQV is the Commissioner of Corrections, Emma Cassar. CQV is part of the government's response to the COVID-19 Hotel Quarantine Enquirys' interim report. It will oversee all parts of the Victorian quarantine program: mandatory quarantine for people entering Australia, Health Hotels for positive and suspected cases, or close contacts, and Frontline Worker Accommodation. The CQV Commissioner will be supported by three Deputy State Controllers. Deputy Chief Health Officer Professor Ben Cowie will lead the CQVs' health management. Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Ross Guenther will provide expertise in enforcement. [35] As of 15 January 2021 the third Controller was still to be appointed. [36] On 5 May 2021, the CQV general manager of infection control, Matius Bush, was stood down by the Minister for Government Services Danny Pearson pending a conduct review. Bush breached infection controls twice by: refusing a COVID test at a quarantine hotel when requested by Defence personnel; and failing to sanitise or change his mask when returning to a quarantine hotel from a coffee shop. Reports about the breaches were leaked and published in The Australian newspaper. [37]

On 17 December, the Victorian ombudsman tabled a report in the Victorian Parliament in which she found the 4 July lockdown of public housing towers In Melbourne breached human rights laws. [21]

On 30 December, Victoria's 61-day streak of zero community cases came to an end as three community cases were identified, linked to the New South Wales outbreak. As a precautionary measure for New Year's Eve the Victorian Government reduced household gatherings from 30 people to 15 and mandated masks within an indoor setting. The border to New South Wales closed at 11:59 pm on 31 December, with returning Victorian residents from "green zones" that returned before the deadline made to isolate until they received a negative test result. Those that returned afterwards would have to get tested and isolate for 14 days, aligning the restrictions with visitors from the Northern Beaches and Greater Sydney that had been enforced 11 days prior. [38] [39]

2021

On 3 February 2021, a quarantine hotel worker at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne, a "resident support officer" involved in the Australian Open tennis quarantine program, was found to have COVID-19. From 11:59 pm Victoria immediately reintroduced some rules, tightened some, and put off imminent easing of some restrictions. The plan to, from 8 February (Monday), allow up to 75 per cent of office workers back into their workplaces was put on hold. Masks are mandatory inside, and only 15 persons are allowed at private events. The man visited at least 14 businesses from 29 January to 1 February, but was able to give contact tracers a detailed list of places and times. Anyone who was at those places at those times, must be tested, and isolate for 14 days. Testing site hours were extended from 4 February, opening at 8 am. More drive-through lanes were added, and additional testing sites opened. [40] By 5 February, genomic sequencing confirmed that the Hyatt worker was infected with the more contagious "UK strain" of COVID-19. [41]

Third lockdown

On 12 February, it was announced that a five-day lockdown under Stage 4 restrictions would take effect beginning at 11:59 pm. AEDT, due to a cluster of 13 cases tied to a Holiday Inn quarantine hotel near Melbourne Airport, which have been assumed to be the UK variant. It was alleged by health officials to have been spread on a hotel floor due to a patient's use of an aerosol-generating nebuliser, which is normally banned under hotel quarantine. [42] [43] By 14 February the cluster had grown to 16, [44] and by 16 February, the number of confirmed infections had increased to 19. [45] By 19 February, the Melbourne Holiday Inn outbreak had increased to 22, one person was admitted to intensive care, and about 3,515 contacts were quarantined. [46]

Residents may not leave their homes except for essential shopping, exercise, caregiving, essential work, or participating in a professional sporting event. Residents may only shop or exercise within five kilometres of their homes. Face masks are mandatory at all times out-of-home, all public gatherings are banned, and all schools are closed. As they account for the majority of UK variant cases, international arrivals into Victoria were also suspended. [42] [43] All Australian states and territories have placed travel restrictions upon Victoria. [47] Premier Andrews stated that these infections were "moving at a velocity that has not been seen anywhere in our country over the course of these last 12 months." Special dispensation was given to the 2021 Australian Open, which became crowdless effective 11:30 pm. AEDT on 12 February in the midst of the night's final match (play was temporarily suspended at that time to remove all spectators from the court). [42] [43] [48]

The lockdown was lifted as anticipated at 11:59 pm on 17 February. [49] Despite this, Victoria will not allow any incoming international flights "indefinitely". [50]

Remaining restrictions included: [49]

  • Masks mandatory inside,
  • Masks outdoors when unable to keep social distance,
  • 5 person limit on home visits,
  • 20 person limit for outdoor gatherings.

May

As of 9 May 2021 Victoria had no cases of community transmission for 72 days. [51]

On 24 May in northern Melbourne, 4 cases of COVID-19 in the community were reported; this broke Victoria's streak of 86 days with no community transmission. Another 5 community cases, for a total of 9, were reported on 25 May. 4 of them were family contacts of a man, who may be the source of the outbreak, who tested positive on 2 May. As a result, restrictions in Greater Melbourne were again tightened from 6pm on Tuesday, 25 May, to at least Friday, 4 June. [52] Restrictions included:

  • mandatory wearing of masks indoors (children under 12 exempted)
  • private gatherings, limited to 5 people
  • public gatherings, limited 30 people
  • limits on visitors to hospitals and aged care reinstated
  • Melbourne residents were allowed to travel out of the city, but had to observe restrictions as if they were still in Melbourne
  • no changes to the number of people allowed in workplaces, shops, bars, or beauty services.

Relaxation of "density caps" in hospitality venues had been planned, was put on hold. Cultural and sports event were allowed, but the AFL "paused" ticket sales for Victorian-based games. [53]

Fourth lockdown

By 27 May the Melbourne outbreak had risen to 26 cases. There were over 150 exposure sites and 11,000 contacts had been linked through contact tracing to the outbreak. [54] As a result of the growing outbreak Victoria entered its fourth lockdown, statewide, as of 11:59pm on 27 May. The restrictions were initially planned to last for at least 7 days until 11:59pm on 3 June. [54] By 1 June the number of cases in the Victorian outbreak had reached 60 and on 2 June the lockdown was extended for another 7 days. [55] By June 7 there were 81 active COVID cases in the outbreak. [56] The lockdown ended, with some restrictions remaining, just before midnight on 10 June. [57]
During the lockdown leaving home was initially only allowed for 5 reasons:

  • Food and supply shopping (only within 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) of home)
  • Authorised work
  • Care and caregiving, health
  • Exercising, for up to two hours:
    • with no more than one other person
    • within 5 km of home
  • To get a COVID-19 vaccination. [54] [58]
Afternoon peak hour in Bourke Street, Melbourne, 4 June 2021, during the fourth lockdown Bourke Street Melbourne 4 June 2021.jpg
Afternoon peak hour in Bourke Street, Melbourne, 4 June 2021, during the fourth lockdown

Otherwise:

  • Schools closed (some exemptions)
  • Higher education, online only
  • Childcare centres and kindergartens, stay open
  • Hairdressers, beauty salons and similar, closed
  • Entertainment venues, closed
  • Only take-away food allowed from cafes and restaurants
  • No public or private gatherings
  • No hospital or nursing home visits (some exemptions)
  • Funerals limited to 10 people, plus those running the event
  • Weddings not allowed (some exemptions)
  • Masks mandatory outside the home, unless exempted. [54] [58]

There were anti-lockdown protests in Melbourne on 28 May. [59]

Due to the outbreak, all Australian states imposed a range of restrictions on travellers from Victoria, either banning entry, only allowing state residents back in, requiring home isolation for 7 days under Victorias' rules, 14 days hotel quarantine, or other measures. New Zealand paused the travel bubble with Victoria from 7:59pm on 25 May. [60] As a result of the pausing of the travel bubble, the Melbourne Rebels' scheduled Super Rugby Trans-Tasman match against the Highlanders was forced to be relocated from Queenstown, New Zealand to Sydney. [61] On 3 June the stay-at-home order from NSW Health, for anyone in NSW who had been in Victoria since May 27, was extended by a week. [62]

The fourth lockdown meant that a number of other interstate professional sporting matches that were due that week had to either be played in empty stadiums, or relocated to alternative venues. The A-League match between Western United and Melbourne Victory on 28 May, [63] the AFL match between the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne on 28 May and the AFL matches scheduled on 29 May (Collingwood against Geelong at the MCG and St Kilda against North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium) were played in empty stadiums, while the AFL match between Richmond and Adelaide scheduled for Sunday 30 May and the NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the Gold Coast Titans scheduled for 5 June were both relocated interstate, to Sydney and the Sunshine Coast respectively. [64]

After the number of cases in the Victorian outbreak had reached 60 by 1 June, on 2 June the lockdown was extended for another 7 days. Some restrictions were eased: [55]

  • the 5 km travel limit was extended to 10 km (6.2 miles),
  • school attendance allowed for years 11 and 12,
  • authorised work now includes some outdoors work.

Use of the Service Victoria QR code check-in is required across Victoria for places like supermarkets and shops. [55]

The Victorian outbreak rose to 63 cases by 3 June, all in Greater Melbourne. As a result, from 11:59 pm that day some lockdown restrictions in regional Victoria were eased: [65]

  • movement in regional areas was unrestricted (to Melbourne is still restricted)
  • students could return to school [65] [66]

There were 81 active COVID cases in the outbreak by June 7. [56] There were also 3 separate clusters with unknown sources in Victoria by then: 32 cases in Whittlesea; 9 at the Arcare aged care centre in Maidstone; and 14 at a cluster in West Melbourne. The West Melbourne cluster was found to be of the fast spreading Delta COVID variant, raising the possibility the fourth Victorian lockdown could be extended again. [67]

The lockdown ended on 10 June at 11:59 pm, with some restrictions remaining. [57]

  • no visitors in the home
  • must wear a mask both indoors and outdoors
  • travel limited to 25 km (16 mi) radius of home. [57]

June

Due to a growing cluster in Bondi, Sydney, from 11:59pm on 24 June, border entry was barred to non-Victorian residents who had been in Greater Sydney and Wollongong in the previous 14 days as those areas were considered to be red zones. Returning Victorians had to get a red zone permit and quarantine at home for 14 days. [68]

July

From 11:59pm on July 11, Victoria closed its border to all New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory residents to try to prevent the delta variant entering the state. ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr tweeted that it was "incredibly disappointing and frustrating" after more than a year with no local COVID-19 cases that the border was being closed to Canberrans. 'Border bubble' arrangements for border towns remained in place. [69]

Fifth lockdown

On 14 July, after 11 COVID cases were detected in the state, Victoria reintroduced the requirement to wear face masks in workplaces, in schools, and when social distancing was not possible, outdoors. [70] Most cases are linked to removalists from NSW who picked up from the Ariele apartments in Maribyrnong on 8 July without face masks. On return to NSW the removalists tested positive. Because of them the apartment block, with 130 residents, was put into a 14 day lockdown on 13 July, which was 'reset' by the new cases. [71]

On 15 July, it the Premier announced that Victoria would enter a snap lockdown for 5 days from 11:59pm on 15 July (Thursday) until 11:59pm on 20 July (Tuesday). This will be the third Victorian lockdown in 2021, and the fifth since the start of the pandemic in Australia. There are 18 cases in the current outbreak in Victoria, 4 recorded on this day, all of which link back to "incursions" from NSW. There are 1,500 primary close contacts and 75 exposure sites in Victoria. [72]

On 20 July the Premier announced that Victoria's snap lockdown would be extended, with current settings to continue for the next seven days until Tuesday, 27 July at 11.59pm - the Delta variant is confounding Victoria’s public health experts and is moving faster than anything they've seen before. [73]

On 22 July, the death of a 48-year-old woman from Victoria the previous week was linked by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to "probable" thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), after vaccination with AstraZeneca. [74]

On 24 July there was an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne. There were 6 arrests, 4 people charged, and 74 infringement notices issued. [75] There were also protests in Brisbane, and in Sydney where several people were arrested, infringement notices issued and over 50 people charged. [76] Assistant police commissioner Luke Cornelius responds: "It beggars belief that the protest today could, if mass spreading occurs, result in an extension of the very thing they are protesting for: an end to the current lockdown and a reopening of business, which is something we are all working so hard to achieve." [77]

On 27 July at 11:59pm the 5th lockdown was lifted with strict restrictions still remaining. It is unknown when the restrictions will ease further.

  • no visitors in the home
  • must wear a mask both indoors and outdoors
  • students can return to school
  • public gatherings are limited to 10 people
  • pubs, restaurants, bars, gyms and retail can reopen with density limits
  • community sport is back but spectators not allowed [78]

August

Sixth lockdown

Police in 6th Lockdown Melbourne.jpg
Police in 6th Lockdown Melbourne 2.jpg
Police immediately after anti-lockdown protests on Flinders Street (around 8:30pm on 5 August 2021)

On 5 August 2021, in response to the detection of six new community cases, the Victorian Government announced their sixth lockdown, commencing that evening at 8 pm for seven days. [79] At about 7pm that day there was an anti-lockdown protest of up to 400 people in Flinders Street, Melbourne. [80]

Regional Victoria was released from its sixth lockdown early on 10 August.[ citation needed ]

On 11 August the lockdown was extended for 7 days. This followed the state having 20 new cases, 5 with an unknown source. [81]

On 16 August the lockdown was extended for another 14 days, with the overnight curfew reinstated and a target end date of 2 September. [82] [83]

On 19 August, Melbourne marked 200 days of lockdowns since the beginning of the pandemic. [84]

On 4 October, Melbourne marked 245 days of lockdowns and became the city with the longest cumulative time in lockdown in the world. [85]

Regional Victoria - Seventh lockdown

On 21 August at 1pm, regional Victoria was also placed into its seventh lockdown [86] and other restrictions tightened, such as the 5 km limit for essential shopping, and exercise activities. Hospitality was again takeaway only, most retail stores closed and schooling online only. Sporting venues, skate parks, playgrounds, and outdoor exercise equipment all closed. Construction statewide returned to a 25 per cent capacity limit. The 9pm-5am curfew in metropolitan Melbourne was not enacted in regional Victoria. This action followed 61 new state cases of COVID-19 on 19 August, one in Shepparton. By the afternoon of 20 August rapid PCR testing brought the cluster in Shepparton at least 21 cases. [87] 48 of the new locally acquired cases from 19 August were linked to known outbreaks, 22 were in isolation during their infectious period. 11 separate "mystery cases" were in suburbs including Airport West, Frankston, Keysborough, Docklands and Yarraville. After there were 27 cases in 2 days at a childcare centre in Broadmeadows, among others, childcare centres were restricted to essential workers. [87]

The same day there was another anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne city, which became violent. Up to 4,000 people marched and over 200 were arrested, 3 for assaulting police. Police responded with pepper spray when protesters threw objects at them. 7 police officers were injured, 6 of those hospitalised. 236 fines were issued. Those arrested can each be fined AU$5,452. Smaller protests were also held in Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth, and in Sydney [88] where over 45 people were arrested. [89]

On 29 August, following a year high 92 new cases detected in the community in a single day, the Victorian Government announced that the statewide lockdown was to be extended. [90]

First deaths since 2020

On 31 August the deaths of 2 women with COVID-19 were reported in Victoria. The women both died at their homes, one was aged in her 40s from Darebin, the other was in her 60s from Hume. [91] They were the first COVID deaths reported in Victoria since 30 November 2020, 9 months. [92] The same day there were 76 new locally acquired cases, 45 linked to existing outbreaks and 36 in isolation while they were infectious. [91]

September

On 1 September, following new cases reaching triple digits (120 cases) in a single day for the first time since 2 September 2020, the lockdown was extended again with a target end date of 23 September. An additional target was getting 70% of the eligible population of Victoria receiving their first dose of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines by that date. [93]

On 3 September, another overnight death from COVID-19 death was reported, a man in his 60s, bringing state deaths to 823. There were also 208 new cases of COVID-19. There were 1,176 active cases coming from 48,572 test results on 2 September. That day around 6,000 tests were done in Shepparton, mostly day 13 tests of people in isolation. 33,511 doses of vaccine were administered too at state-run sites that day. [94]

On 9 September there was another Victorian COVID-19 death. A Coburg man in his 70s died in hospital, he was not vaccinated, bringing state deaths to 824. There were 344 new locally acquired cases, of which 149 have been linked to known outbreaks. 127 (up 16) were hospitalised, 33 in ICU with 21 requiring a ventilator. 319,027 vaccinations were administered at state-run sites, and 42,998 test results were received. By this day, 64 per cent of Victorians had received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. [95]

Also on 9 September at 11:59 pm, lockdown restrictions in regional Victoria, except Greater Shepparton, were eased. [96] Greater Shepparton's restrictions were eased on 15 September, with Ballarat re-entering lockdown on the same day. [97]

On 14 September, the deaths of 2 more people were reported. They were: [98]

  • a man is his 20s from Hume, who died in his home and was only discovered to have COVID-19 after his death [98]
  • a woman in her 80s from Brimbank

Total deaths reached 826. There were also 445 new COVID cases. By the same day: [98]

  • Over 65% of the over 16-year-old population had received one dose of vaccine
  • Over 40% were fully vaccinated.

On 15 September, another 2 deaths were reported, bringing state deaths to 828, as well as 443 new cases. There were 4,083 active cases, 173 were hospitalised, 44 in intensive care and 23 on ventilators. [99]

Also on 15 September, at 11:59pm Ballarat went back into lockdown, it's eighth, for at least 7 days. This followed the town having 4 recent COVID cases as well as "widespread" wastewater detection. The Ballarat International Foto Biennale photographic exhibition, already delayed from 28 August by the regional lockdown, had been rescheduled to open on the 15th. [99] [100]

On 19 September, at 11:59pm Greater Geelong, Surf Coast Shire and Mitchell Shire went back into lockdown, their eighth, for at least 7 days. [101] This followed both Greater Geelong and Mitchell reporting cases and Surf Coast showing positive waste water detections with no confirmed source.[ citation needed ] Greater Geelong and the Surf Coast exited lockdown by 27 September as scheduled, but the Mitchell Shire lockdown was extended with no set end date. [102]

By 22 September, Victoria had another 3 deaths in 24 hours bringing the state COVID-19 death toll to 836, and 628 new cases, exceeding the previous record of 625 daily new cases set in 2020. The lockdown of Ballarat ended at midnight this day. [103]

By 23 September there were another 4 deaths, taking the outbreak total to 20, and total state deaths to 240 since March 2020. With 766 new daily cases, another record high was set. Active cases were at 6,666. [104]
The dead were: [104]

  • 3 men: 1 in his 70s and 1 his 80s both from Hume, and 1 in his 80s from Moreland
  • 1 woman in her 90s from Hume

257 were hospitalised with COVID-19. Of these 257 there were: [104]

  • 60 in intensive care, 41 on ventilation
  • 81% were not vaccinated, 15% partially vaccinated, only 3% fully vaccinated

State vaccinations were at: [104]

  • 45% double dose
  • 75 per cent single dose

Victoria was rationing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, with Premier Andrews blaming the Commonwealth government for supply issues. [104]

Also notably by 23 September, at 235 days, Melbourne set a record for the world's longest lockdown. As of this date, the city is expected to be locked down until "late October". [104]

On 26 September at 11:59pm, the 7 day Geelong and Surf Coast lockdowns ended as scheduled, but Mitchell Shire's lockdown was extended with no end date set. [102]

On 28 September, the Latrobe Valley went into lockdown for 7 days. Restrictions will be the same as Melbourne, but there will be no curfew. [105]

Protests

On 20 September, there was a violent protest by hundreds of people against mandatory vaccination for construction workers outside the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) headquarters. In order to be allowed to work, tradespeople were required to have had at least one dose of vaccine by 23 September (Thursday). The union building was damaged and riot police employed pepper spray and rubber bullets. As a consequence, combined with an increase in transmission of COVID-19 in the industry, from 11.59pm that night all building and construction industry worksites in Ballarat, Geelong, Metropolitan Melbourne, Mitchell Shire and the Surf Coast were shut down for two weeks. [106] By 5 October, 7 COVID cases were linked to this protest. [107]

On 21 September in Melbourne, there was another large protest against a wide range of pandemic response related issues, including the previous days' construction industry shut down. The "Victorian Workers Rally For Freedom" march started near to the CFMEU headquarters at 10am, went through the CBD, past state Parliament, Flinders Street railway station, then onto and blocking the West Gate Freeway. At least one media reporter was assaulted and objects thrown at police. Riot police again used tear gas and rubber bullets. The construction shutdown could cost the industry nearly AU$500 million per day. [108] There were 62 arrests related to the protest. [109]

On 22 September in Melbourne city there was yet another protest with up to 1,000 people converging on the Shrine of Remembrance. After a stand-off for a few hours with police surrounding them, protesters dispersed at about 5pm. Two police officers were injured by thrown bottles and more than 200 people were arrested. An estimated 300 fines were issued for not complying with stay-at-home directives. [109] The Shrine was left strewn with left behind garbage and its walls had been urinated on. [110] At least one protester there was hospitalised by the next day with COVID-19. [104]

On 23 September a strong police presence was seen in Melbourne at State Parliament, CFMEU offices, and the Shrine. 92 arrests were made as police checked that people were lawfully in the CBD in compliance with the current Chief Health Officers' directives. Some arrests were for outstanding warrants. [110] [111]

The protests, with verbal and physical abuse of their staff in public places on their way to work resulted in the closure, for at least four days, of a vaccination centre at Melbourne Town Hall, and also a drop-in clinic for the homeless near Queen Victoria Market. [110]

On 24 and 25 September, there was again a strong presence of police in Melbourne to stop protesters gathering. More than 200 were arrested across the city on the 24th as police acted to prevent people assembling, [112] and more than 90 arrests on the 25th in Melbourne and St Kilda. [113]

October

On 2 October there was another street protest against mandatory vaccination requirements for authorised workers. [114]

On 5 October Victoria reported 4 deaths. There were also 1,763 new cases, a state and national record high, surpassing the 1,599 record set in NSW on 10 September 2021. [107] [115]

  • The daily new cases number had been over 1,000 for 6 days, raising the 7-day average to 1,340 cases
  • active infections reached 14,368
    – over twice the peak of the 2020 'second wave'
  • construction sites reopened at 25% capacity, after a 2 week shutdown
  • 7 COVID cases were linked to a violent protest outside the CFMEU union headquarters on 20 September [107]

On 8 October Victoria reported 5 deaths. There were also 1,838 new cases, [116] a new state and national record high, again surpassing the 1,599 case record in NSW, and the states' own record set on 5 October. [107] [115]

The dead were: [116]

  • active infections reached 16,823
  • 620 were hospitalised, 114 in ICU, 76 on ventilation
  • outbreak deaths rose to 75, and total state deaths to 895 [116]

Also on 8 October at 11:59 pm Mildura, a regional city in north-western Victoria, entered a 7 day lockdown. [117]

On 14 October Victoria reported 11 deaths, raising state deaths to 945, of them 125 were during the states' delta outbreak. [118] [119] There were also 2,297 new cases, another state and national record high, surpassing the 1,838 record cases reported in Victoria on 8 October 2021. [116] [119] The dead included:

  • 9 men, 2 women [119]
    • 3 men, in their 50s, 60s and 70s, from Hume
    • man in his 50s from City of Moonee Valley
    • man in his 60s from Moreland
    • 2 men, 1 in his 60s, 1 his 70s, from Melton
    • man in his 80s from Brimbank
    • man in his 70s from Greater Shepparton
    • 2 woman, 1 in her 70s, 1 in her 80s, from Knox
  • active infections reached 20,505 [119]
  • 706 people were hospitalised, 147 in ICU (98% un-vaccinated), 100 on ventilation [118] [119]
  • the 7-day average was then approximately 1,806 cases [119]

On 16 October Victoria reported 7 deaths, raising state deaths to 957, of them 138 were during the states' delta outbreak. [120] [121] There were also 1,993 new cases, not a record, but still surpassing the 1,838 record cases reported in Victoria on 8 October 2021. [121] [116]
The people who died were:

  • 3 men, 3 women, and a teenager
    • 1 in their 50s, 2 their 60s, 1 their 70s, 2 their 80s and,
      • a 15-year-old
        – with other health conditions
    • a man in his 50s from Hume
    • a woman in her 60s from Casey
    • a woman in her 60s from Darebin
    • a woman in her 70s from Whittlesea
    • a man in his 80s and from Darebin
    • a man in his 80s from City of Moonee Valley
  • active infections reached 21,647, total cumulative cases reached 63,836 [120]
  • 798 people were hospitalised, 163 in ICU (89.2% un-vaccinated), 106 on ventilation [120] [121]

November

On 15 November an inquest began into 50 deaths, 45 from COVID-19, that occurred in July and August 2020 at St Basil's Homes for the Aged, Fawkner, Melbourne. It was the deadliest COVID-19 outbreak in an aged care setting in Australia. [122]

Event cancellations

Statistics

COVID-19 cumulative cases in Victoria [140]

COVID-19 daily cases in Victoria [141]

See also

Related Research Articles

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