Victoria has recorded 1,377 new Covid cases as its revealed almost half of the state’s new infections are under the age of 30.
Dozens of the new cases are Year 12 students who tested positive to the virus just hours before they were due to sit a crucial exam.
It comes as Victorian childcare providers are forced to decide whether the children of parents who refuse to get vaccinated should be excluded from centres.
Victoria has recorded 1,377 new Covid cases as a growing outbreak in Melbourne ‘s south-east threatens to force numbers even higher (pictured, people exercise in St Kilda)
Four people also lost their lives on Sunday while positive with coronavirus , bringing the state’s total to 869 since the pandemic began (pictured, health workers in Melbourne)
Four people also lost their lives on Sunday while positive with coronavirus, bringing the state’s total to 869 since the pandemic began.
Monday’s new cases were diagnosed from 67,789 tests and 30,985 vaccine doses were administered on Sunday.
There are currently 498 people hospitalised with Covid-19 with 96 patients in ICU and 59 on ventilators.
The four new deaths include a woman in her 70s, a woman in her 60s from Hume, a man in his 80s from Moreland and a man in his 60s from Manningham.
Deputy Premier James Merlino said 45 per cent of those currently hospitalised with the virus were under the age of 30.
He also reported 33 students have tested positive for the virus just hours before sitting their General Achievement Test on Tuesday.
The infected students were detected in a group of 8000 students in Covid-hit areas.
‘We may not have found these cases otherwise, so that goes a long way to help us hold the GAT as safely as possible tomorrow,’ Mr Merlino said.
‘The Department of Education is contacting these students and letting them know that they cannot sit the GAT and we’ll make arrangements for how they can sit their exams at a later stage, if indeed, they’re unable to sit any of their exams.’
Unwell students who cannot sit the test, or any future exams will be given a derived examination score.
Monday marked the first day Victorian students will recommence face-to-face learning, with all year groups to return to classrooms in the next few weeks.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said if there was a Covid outbreak in a school not all year groups would be required to isolate at home for 14 days.
He said vaccination rates in each year group would determine how students would be required to quarantine if an outbreak occurred.
The four new deaths include a woman in her 70s, a woman in her 60s from Hume, a man in his 80s from Moreland and a man in his 60s from Manningham (pictured, a resident in St Kilda)
It comes as childcare centres are faced with the difficult decision of having to ban the children of unvaccinated parents from centres.
Victoria announced in its roadmap out of lockdown that between the 70 and 80 per cent vaccination rates childcare would only be available to vaccinated parents or essential workers.
The state is set to hit the 70 per cent vaccination target on October 26 and 80 per cent on November 5.
Parents who refuse to get the jab could be barred from entering centres, dropping their children off or being excluded entirely from the service.
Australian Community Children’s Services national convenor Prue Warrilow said childcare providers were seeking legal advice on how to treat the unvaccinated.
‘It would be great if the government gave some very clear direction, but they haven’t done it for any other sector in terms of the wider stakeholder group, only the employees,’ Ms Warrilow told The Age.
She noted the Fair Work Ombudsman had advised mandated vaccinations were justifiable for employees in childcare centres.
Ms Warrilow said it was unclear if the mandate would extend to parents.
There is currently no Covid-19 vaccine approved for children anywhere in the world, with experts advising surrounding adults keep children safe by getting the jab.
The vaccine debate comes just days after Scott Morrison announced a controversial ‘no jab, no pay’ policy for all health workers across Australia.
Under the new rules thousands of workers within the vast health system would be required to follow the mandate or risk losing their jobs.
Until now, every state has decided their own guidelines for vaccination mandates among health staff.
There are currently 498 people hospitalised with Covid-19 with 96 in ICU and 59 on ventilators (pictured, people gather in St Kilda in Melbourne)
The deputy premier also announced an initiative fronted by the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation would aim to boost vaccination rates in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Three of Victoria’s Smile Squad dental vans will be repurposed as mobile vaccination vans with the first heading to Shepparton from Monday.
Shepparton is home to the largest Aboriginal population in Victoria outside of Melbourne, and is currently in lockdown battling an outbreak of Covid-19.
Indigenous vaccination rates are lower than the state average, with 65 per cent of the Aboriginal population having received one dose of a Covid vaccine.
Mr Weimar said that of the 1,220 new Covid cases recorded on Sunday, up to 70 per cent were detected in people under the age of 40 (pictured, residents at St Kilda Beach)
Premier Dan Andrews revealed on Sunday of all the patients in Victorian hospitals only five per cent were fully vaccinated (pictured, residents at St Kilda Beach)
Meanwhile, health officials are increasingly concerned about an escalating outbreak in the city’s southeast.
Covid-19 commander Jereon Weimar said he was particularly worried about the emergence of new cases in Pakenham, Keysborough, and Frankston.
‘It is my job to be concerned, it is my job to be worried about where the cases are and the dynamics, and we will keep being anxious in all of those locations,’ he said.
However, experts said the southeastern suburbs had good vaccination rates, in contrast to postcodes in the north and west at the start of their outbreaks.
Between 70 and 80 per cent of residents in Melbourne’s south-east have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine.
The health department has responded to the burgeoning outbreak by opening pop-up vaccination clinics in the area in hopes to boost jab rates.
Health officials have responded to the burgeoning outbreak of new infections in the city’s southeast by opening pop-up vaccination clinics in the area (pictured, people in St Kilda)
Covid-19 Commander Jereon Weimar said on Sunday was particularly worried about the spread of the virus in Melbourne’s southeast (pictured, health workers in Melbourne)
Victoria’s roadmap states only vaccinated parents will have access to childcare providers between the 70 and 80 per cent vaccination rates pictured, health care workers in Melbourne)
Victoria is set to hit the 70 per cent double-dose rate on October 26 and the 80 per cent target on November 5 (pictured, locals in South Yarra)
Mr Weimar said the state’s high vaccination rates would ultimately curb the virus.
‘Two things: As the premier said, get vaccinated, but also you’ve got to hold onto these behaviours for the last few weeks – that is what stops the spread,’ he said.
Melbourne has officially become the most locked down city in the world after recording its 246th day under stay-at-home orders on Monday.
The record was previously held by the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires at 245 days, followed by Dublin in Ireland at 227 days and London in the UK hitting 201 days.
Mr Andrews said he was proud of Victorians for what they have endured and for ‘giving so much’ to save lives.
Source: Daily Mail UK