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Lockdown rules to be eased as Victoria hits 70 per cent vaccination target this week

Victorians could learn of new freedoms within hours with the state likely to hit the 70 per cent first dose vaccination target on Thursday or Friday.

At least 68.49 per cent of Victorians had received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by Wednesday, with Premier Dan Andrews promising some lockdown rules would be relaxed once the target was met.

If the target is reached in the next two days, Victorians would have smashed the initial prediction of September 23 by almost a week.

Mr Andrews flagged earlier this month the 5km travel limit would be increased to 10km when 70 per cent of the Victorian population aged 16 and older had received their first dose.

He said Melburnians would also be able to exercise for an extra hour – a total of three hours per day – and outdoor personal training would be allowed to resume with up to two people plus the trainer.

COVID MELBOURNE
Camera IconMelburnians line up to get their Covid vaccinations at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. NCA NewsWire / David Crosling Credit: News Corp Australia

Outdoor communal gym equipment and skate parks have also been flagged to reopen once the target is hit.

Mr Andrews said other measures to be resumed once the state reached 70 per cent were private inspections of unoccupied premises for purchase or lease, and up to five staff would be able to work onsite at entertainment venues to broadcast performances.

But since the Premier made that announcement on September 1, daily coronavirus cases have spiked to above 400 and chief health officer Brett Sutton warned they could even reach 1000.

COVID-19 UPDATE PRESSER
Camera IconPremier Daniel Andrews is set to reveal new freedoms within the next two days. NCA NewsWire / David Crosling Credit: News Corp Australia

It means the state government will need to confirm which measures can be eased, and which can’t, which is expected to occur over the next two days.

It’s been reported government ministers and health officials met on Wednesday night to discuss potential changes.

Meanwhile, NSW is edging closer to its “freedom day”, with new data suggesting the state could hit 70 per cent of its eligble population fully vaccinated a week earlier than first predicted.

NSW has surged ahead over the last month in the race to vaccinate the nation with more than 80 per cent of the population aged 16 and older now having received one dose.

COVID PRESSER
Camera IconNSW freedom day is fast approaching. NCA NewsWire / Nikki Short Credit: News Corp Australia

Almost 49 per cent of eligible residents are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in NSW, which comes in just behind ACT at 53 per cent.

Victoria is 42 per cent fully vaccinated.

NSW is now expected to hit 70 per cent fully vaccinated on October 11, which is a week earlier than the first predicted date of October 18.

Once the state hits the target, stay-at-home orders for fully vaccinated people will be lifted the following Monday.

Fully vaccinated people will also be able to gather in private homes and public spaces, and attend hospitality venues, retail stores and gyms.

ACT is set to be the first jurisdiction to hit the 70 per cent fully vaccinated milestone, with that currently predicted to occur two days before NSW on October 9.

jack.paynter@news.com.au

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