By Cassandra Morgan
Victoria has recorded 1275 new coronavirus cases and four deaths, as the state approaches its 90 per cent double-vaccination target, and Australia’s travel bubble with Singapore comes into effect.
The COVID-19 figures come after a day of unrest not only in Melbourne but across the country, as tens of thousands of anti-government “freedom” protesters took to the streets.
In Melbourne, more than 10,000 people railed against vaccine mandates, Premier Daniel Andrews and the government’s now-stalled controversial pandemic bill.
Sunday’s new coronavirus cases bring Victoria’s number of total active cases to 9632.
There are 317 people in hospital in the state with COVID-19, and 56 in intensive care. Twenty-five people are on a ventilator.
Another 56 people in ICU have been cleared of the virus.
Among Victoria’s COVID-19 deaths on Saturday was a 10-year-old boy, the youngest person in Australia to die with the virus since the pandemic began. Authorities said he had other serious comorbidities, or health issues.
Across Victoria on Saturday, 61,650 COVID-19 tests were processed. Another 6083 people rolled up their sleeves to receive a coronavirus vaccine at a state-run clinic, bringing the proportion of Victoria’s population aged over 12 who are fully vaccinated to 89 per cent.
The impending 90 per cent milestone meant almost all of Victoria’s remaining COVID-19 rules were able to fade into history from midnight on Thursday, with Mr Andrews lauding the state as “one of the most vaccinated places in the world”.
“And that means we are one of the safest places in the world. And we should be one of the proudest places in the world,” he said when he revealed restrictions would be wound back.
The country’s travel bubble with Singapore came into effect on Sunday, with Australian jurisdictions including Victoria and NSW welcoming back fully vaccinated Singaporean travellers without the need for quarantine.
To qualify for inclusion in the travel bubble, Singaporeans had to depart from Singapore, although there was no requirement for them to have spent 14 days in the city before they came to Australia.
They had to return a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of their departure.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, when he announced the travel bubble at the start of this month, said it was “another significant milestone in our step by step approach to safely reopening to the world”.
He described Singapore as among Australia’s top 10 travel destinations. “This is the billion-dollar boost that Australia’s tourism industry has been waiting for,” the Prime Minister said.
Fully vaccinated Australians are already allowed to visit Singapore without quarantining.