Victoria COVID cases surpass 200 on Friday as vaccination goal begins

  • General

Victoria has recorded another COVID-19 spike with more than 200 cases and one more death.

On Friday, the health department confirmed there had been 208 cases recorded in the 24 hours until midnight.

Of those, 96 have been linked to known outbreaks, leaving 112 mystery cases, which are still under investigation.

There were 33,511 vaccine doses administered at state facilities on Thursday, not including Commonwealth jabs.

Sadly, another person had died with COVID-19 in Victoria and more information will be provided later on Friday.

Playgrounds will reopen in Victoria on Friday. Credit: DANIEL POCKETT/AAPIMAGE

Victoria has been forced to turn its back on getting to a COVID-19 zero due to the growing outbreak.

Tough restrictions will remain across the state until at least 70 per cent of eligible Victorians are fully vaccinated.

When 70 per cent of those eligible have their first dose, there will be some “modest” freedoms including an increase to both the travel limit and allowed exercise time.

From Friday, playgrounds have reopened for children aged 12 and under, but there are rules still in place.

Only one parent or carer can attend the playground to supervise and they must use a QR code to check in and refrain from removing their mask to eat or drink.

Of Thursday’s 176 cases, majority were in the northern and west of Melbourne, but there were also 22 cases in the east and south and 13 in the regional town of Shepparton.

“This virus is here, right now, and it is spreading fast,” Acting Chief Health Officer Ben Cowie told reporters.

To aid Victoria’s goal to reach 70 per cent vaccinations, the interval between doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has been revised to six weeks.

Victoria’s exposure sites

The state’s exposure site list has again ballooned to more than 1000 venues and now includes the Royal Botanic Gardens, eleven Coles supermarkets and a dozen new Tier 1 sites.

As of Friday morning, there were 1015 sites on the list, which comes a day after the state recorded it’s biggest daily COVID case increase in a year at 176.

The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria is now a Tier 2 site after a case went last Saturday morning.

The number of Tier 1 sites has also surged, with stores in Coolaroo, Shepparton and Tullamarine among those added overnight.

The Tier 1 sites also include a fertility clinic in Melbourne’s CBD, a childcare centre in Coburg and an aged care centre in Hawthorn East.

See the full list of Victoria’s COVID exposure sites here.