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Victoria records 324 new local COVID-19 cases as state’s regions prepare to reopen

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Victoria has recorded 324 new cases of COVID-19, the most cases in more than a year, as the state’s regions prepare to reopen from midnight.

Just under one-third of the cases, 107, have been linked to existing patients and clusters. The source of the other 217 infections remain under investigation.

The Melbourne Museum vaccination site is pictured on Monday.Credit:Jason South

The Department of Health said 54,242 test results came back in the last 24 hours.

One other case was also recorded in hotel quarantine. There are now 2166 active cases in the state.

Thursday’s figures amount to the highest daily figure so far this outbreak, beating the previous peak on Monday and Tuesday when 246 cases were recorded both days.

However, Premier Daniel Andrews has made clear zero cases is no longer achievable with the Delta variant of COVID-19 circulating metropolitan Melbourne. Steps out of lockdown for the city now depend on the state reaching vaccination targets.

As of Tuesday, 62.5 per cent of Victorians had received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, but another 37,604 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the last 24 hours.

The Premier has pledged to mildly relax some restrictions when that figure reaches 70 per cent.

Shepparton also remains in lockdown, but Mr Andrews said he should have announcements for the regional city next week.

From Friday, the regional hospitality sector can resume seated service with 10 people indoors and 20 people outside.

Visits to the home will still be banned in the regions, but childcare will reopen and students in prep, years 1, 2 and 12 will return to the classroom.

Masks will remain mandatory, even outdoors.

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