Almost 90 per cent of Victoria’s active COVID-19 cases are aged under 50, with the state health minister describing the outbreak as a “pandemic of the young and the unvaccinated”.
Victoria recorded 473 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, the highest daily tally of the state’s latest outbreak, bringing the total number of active infections to 3507.
All but 38 of the new cases reside in Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs, which recorded 338 and 97 cases respectively.
Health Minister Martin Foley says 87 per cent of active cases are aged under 50, with 585 aged under 19.
“This continues to be a pandemic of the young and the unvaccinated,” he told reporters on Monday.
Mr Foley said 89 per cent of the 157 Victorians battling COVID-19 in hospital were unvaccinated, while 11 per cent had received one dose.
It comes as authorities investigate a COVID-19 outbreak at the Fitzroy Community School in Fitzroy North, which has repeatedly flouted lockdown restrictions by inviting parents to send their children to class.
COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar confirmed 31 students and staff have contracted the virus, while some 189 close contacts have been forced into self-isolation.
There are about 60 students enrolled at the school, which describes itself as an “independent, alternative primary school”.
Currently, only children of permitted workers and those who are vulnerable are allowed to attend school in Melbourne.
School founder Faye Berryman told ABC News 24 primary-aged children have “a strong resilience to COVID”.
“Children’s emotional wellbeing, their feeling of insecurity, the unpredictable long-term psychological danger of raising them under a mantle of fear are the price we pay for not having children at school,” she said.
Shadow Education Minister David Hodgett said the opposition did not support breaking the rules but he understood the school’s actions.
“The government has not put out a single plan. There’s no certainty, there’s no hope,” he told reporters.
The state government is continuing to develop a roadmap out of lockdown, including a plan to return students to classrooms in term four.
While the regions emerged from lockdown late last week, coronavirus restrictions will not ease for Melburnians until 70 per cent of eligible Victorians have had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
When that target is reached, Melburnians will get an extra hour of outdoor activity and the five-kilometre travel radius will be expanded to 10km.
Mr Foley said 66.9 per cent of the eligible Victorian population has received at least a first dose.
There has been no indication of what freedoms will be permitted when more than 70 per cent of the population is double-vaccinated.
But Premier Daniel Andrews has flagged the state government will release a comprehensive roadmap out of lockdown “in about a week’s time”, based on modelling from the Burnet Institute.
The federal government has embarked on a three-week vaccination blitz of the areas, allocating an extra 417,000 Pfizer and Moderna doses to Victoria.
Mr Andrews said he wasn’t given a heads up about the blitz, but federal Health Minister Greg Hunt insists he had been discussing it with Mr Foley last week.
“The only person that wasn’t aware was the premier,” he told 3AW.
“For whatever reason, there may have been a desire to divert – they’ve achieved that outcome.”
Mr Foley said he only receive confirmation of the 400,000 figure on Sunday.
Meanwhile, most regional Victorian train services remain suspended on Monday as 300 V/Line employees isolate after five positive tests among drivers and operational staff. Coaches are replacing most services.