Australia Corona Virus

Victoria records 16 new COVID-19 deaths, 322 people in hospital

IMAGE: Some COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria will ease at 11:59pm Friday.(ABC News: Danielle Bonica)

Source: ABCnews

Victoria has reported another 16 COVID-19 deaths.

There are now 322 people in hospital, up slightly from 319 yesterday.

Of the patients in hospital, 43 are in intensive care and five are on ventilators.

The state has reported 6,715 new infections, taking the number of active cases to 41,257.

About 94 per cent of Victorians aged 12 and older have received two vaccine doses, and just over 57 per cent of adults have received three.

Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley has defended the vaccination rate among five to 11-year-olds, which has lagged behind expectations.

According to figures released yesterday by federal health authorities, about 53.7 per cent of children aged 5 to 11 have received their first dose of a vaccine.

That compares to about 42.3 per cent in Queensland, and just under 47 per cent in New South Wales.

“There’s always more to be done but when compared to the rates in particularly other big states Victoria remains ahead,” Mr Foley said.

The minister said the vaccination program covering those aged 5 to 11 started well but stalled significantly once the school year started.

The government is targeting areas in Melbourne’s outer north, west and south-east, as well as some regional areas where vaccination rates are lowest.

“We had hoped to be significantly ahead of where we are now by the end of this month,” Mr Foley said.

The low vaccination rate among eligible primary school children was cited by the government as the reason for keeping mandatory mask rules in place for school students of that age.

From 11:59pm on Friday a range of other measures will be eased, including the mandatory wearing of masks in most settings except public transport and hospitals, and for workers in hospitality and retail.

The recommendation that people work from if they can will also be removed, and there will be no cap on elective surgeries.