IMAGE: The government is expected to wind back restrictions.(AAP: Diego Fedele)
Victoria is expected to announce an easing of COVID-19 restrictions later this morning.
The state’s seven-day case average has dropped to below 10,000, marking a turning point in the latest wave.
Premier Daniel Andrews said on Tuesday that if the trend continued, restrictions would soon ease.
“The seven-day average, very pleasingly, is coming down. That says to me — I’m not a scientist, I’m not a doctor, I’m not the Chief Health Officer — but it says to me that the peak has come and gone,” Mr Andrews said.
The government on Wednesday reported that more than two-thirds of Victorians aged 16 and older had received three doses of the vaccine.
Victoria reported 10,628 new COVID cases and 14 further deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total number of active cases in the state to 53,518.
There are 437 people in hospital, including 34 in intensive care and 12 on ventilators.
Australia’s peak COVID-19 public health advice body has recommended that the mandated quarantine period for close contacts be phased out as states and territories emerge from this latest wave.
However health experts are split on the decision, with some raising concerns that close contact restrictions are being eased too early.
University of Melbourne epidemiologist Nancy Baxter said the move would mean the government was no longer attempting to control the transmission of the virus.
“Politically, it is expedient for all of these things to be relaxed because it signals that COVID is over,” Professor Baxter told ABC News Breakfast.
“But the problem is COVID hasn’t gotten the memo that COVID is over.”
The BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants were detected for the first time in Australia last week through wastewater samples taken in Melbourne.