In a bold step to halt the surge in recent COVID cases, the Victorian government has mandated vaccines for all authorised workers who want to return to workplaces and travel around the state in October.
Teachers, health care workers and other mandated groups will work to their own schedule, but other authorised workers who come in both Melbourne and regional Victoria will need to be protected by one of the COVID vaccines.
"So by Friday 15 October all of those authorised workers, that is people who are going to work now and are not having to work by law from home will need to have their first dose," r Andrews said.
"They will need to have their second dose and be fully vaccinated 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."
The premier said there was no longer and issue with supply and it was more important than ever to defend the roadmap out of the pandemic.
"This is advice from both the Burnet Institute and advice from the acting Chief Health Officer and the public health team and, as all Victorians know and understand, if we are provided with that advice that we follow that advice."
The news comes as the local government area of Moorabool including Ballan and Bacchus Marsh will go into a seven day snap lockdown from midnight tonight.
Premier Daniel Andrew said the lockdown was the best was to halt the rising case numbers.
"We regret that that is the only option, given the number of cases in it that LGA," Mr Andrews said.
"We will stand with that community with additional testing capacity and support for anyone who needs them, just like Ballarat, Shepparton and so many other communities, Latrobe Valley. These lockdowns have been effective in bringing stability to case numbers and driving case numbers down. But on advice and very careful analysis, this is unavoidable that a lockdown must be applied to that community."
The same lockdown rules will then apply to Moorabool as they do in Melbourne, minus the curfew.
Victoria recorded 1143 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, a slight drop on Thursday's record of 1438 new cases but up on previous records of 950 on Wednesday and 867 cases on Tuesday.
This figure comes from 68233 test results according to the DHHS.
Health officials say 34,395 vaccine doses were administered in the 24 hours to Thursday evening.
Meanwhile yesterday's 500-case jump in new daily COVID-19 cases in Victoria is being blamed on AFL grand final long weekend gatherings.
The state saw a surge in cases on Thursday, 1438 new locally acquired cases up from 950 on Wednesday.
There are 11,018 active cases in Victoria and the five more deaths announced on Thursday takes the current outbreak's toll to 41.
"This is more than a 50 per cent increase on yesterday's daily numbers and I'm sure that will be of great concern to all Victorians," Premier Daniel Andrews said.
"We were very clear those numbers would go up. They go up faster, of course, if people don't follow the rules."
He again urged Victorians to stop visiting each other in their homes and breaching public health orders.
"Given what we know from interviews over recent days, many of these cases were completely avoidable," Mr Andrews said.
Authorities believe at least 500 of Thursday's cases are linked to AFL gatherings across Melbourne.
"The contact tracers tell us that there are significant numbers of social gatherings on Friday and Saturday over a long weekend," COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar told reporters.
"Grand final parties, other social gatherings, barbecues, backyard visits, all of this generating significant and additional case loads.
"We know that everyone's fatigued. We know everyone's tired of this. But today is a significant setback in how we manage this outbreak."
He urged anyone who went to any gathering at the weekend to get tested, whether their companions were displaying symptoms or not.
The profile of cases was also changing, Mr Weimar said, skewing higher towards men aged in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
About six-in-10 cases are in new households.
If Thursday's case number jump becomes a trend, Victoria will go from being just below the case projections done by the Burnet Institute - which is guiding the state's road out of lockdown - to being in the worst scenario, Mr Weimar says.
Mr Andrews said the state would continue with its plan to get out of lockdown, but there may need to be a pause if numbers reach an unsustainable level before October 26, when 70 per cent of the eligible population is expected to be fully vaccinated.
To help bring that target and the 80 per cent fully-vaccinated benchmark forward, the time between Pfizer vaccine doses will be halved to three weeks in Victoria.
The interval change kicks in from October 4, so anyone who has received their first Pfizer dose will be able to bring forward their second.
The vaccine booking system will be updated overnight on October 3.
There will also be a shift in 88,000 Moderna vaccines from community pharmacies to state clinics to hasten the rollout, with pharmacists struggling to cope with the sudden demand.
For exposure sites visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/exposure-sites
- with Australian Associated Press
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