December 6, 2021

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Victoria extends vaccine mandates to more than 1m workers after 1,143 Covid cases and three deaths | Victoria

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Victoria has extended vaccination mandates to more than one million workers on the authorised worker list after another day of more than 1,000 locally-acquired Covid cases.

On Friday the state recorded 1,143 new local cases and three coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours.

The premier, Daniel Andrews, said the case numbers presented a “challenge” for the state as he announced that all authorised workers would be subject to compulsory vaccination in order to work on site.

The mandate will cover everyone who is currently allowed to work outside the home, including cleaners, allied health professionals and even pool maintenance operators, affecting about 1.2m Victorians.

The list also includes retail workers, personal trainers, MPs, journalists, faith leaders, judges, police, lawyers, actors and professional sportspeople.

They must have their first vaccine dose by Friday 15 October and the second by 26 November.

“This is critically important to keep the case numbers down so that we can open up on 26 October, get our freedom back, get the economy going again and deliver the national plan,” Andrews said.

Until now about one-third of all authorised workers, including residential aged care, construction, healthcare and education workers, have been subject to a vaccination mandate.

Andrews said the announcement would not affect the arrangements in place in these industries.

“It is critically important that we do not see these cases continue to climb and go up and up and up so that our hospital system is under immense pressure even before we open up,” Andrews said.

“[We] just won’t do that to our nurses, to our doctors, to all of our teams of those dedicated health professionals.”

Andrews confirmed the mandate also applied to professional athletes.

“I expect there’ll be a conversation, for instance, with the AFL, where the AFL will be informed, on behalf of all their clubs, that if you want to go back to preseason training in a month’s time or so, you will need to be double-vaxxed, as an authorised worker.

“Even after we get to 80% (double-dosed) and the authorisations are no longer there, the mandate, the rule, the chief health officer direction will stay in place because cases will still be an issue then.”

It is the second day of case numbers in four figures, after 1,438 were recorded on Thursday.

The government said on Thursday Victorians hosting illegal gatherings and house parties over the AFL grand final long weekend had helped to drive the sudden rise, which is threatening to derail Victoria’s reopening plans.

The three deaths on Friday were a man in his 80s from Hume, a woman in her 70s from Alphington, and a man in his 70s from Moreland.

There were 395 people in hospital with Covid-19, with 87 in intensive care and 59 on a ventilator.

Of those people in hospital, 74% had not been vaccinated, 21% had received one dose and 5% were fully vaccinated.

The state now has 10,944 active cases of the virus and 49.8% of those over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated.

Many of the new tier one exposure sites are childcare centres across Melbourne, with others cropping up in regional areas such as Ararat, Geelong and Warrnambool.

with the Australian Associated Press


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