WATCH LIVE: Dan Andrews press conference today with Victoria’s COVID update on new cases on Saturday
Hundreds of thousands of Victorians have been given an ultimatum: get vaccinated against COVID-19 in two weeks or risk losing your job.
Victoria health authorities provide COVID-19 update. You can watch the press conference LIVE in the video player BELOW.
Vic COVID update
Victoria recorded 1,143 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and three deaths on Friday, bringing the death toll from the current outbreak to 44.
The Grand Shepparton and Moorabool Shire, west and north of Melbourne, will both enter a seven-day snap lockdown from 11:59 p.m. Friday to contain the growing epidemics.
Twelve new cases were reported in Greater Shepparton and six in Moorabool on Friday, and health officials are concerned about possible transmission.
The lockdown restrictions will mirror those of the Melbourne metropolis, with the exception of the nighttime curfew.
Residents of both regions are urged to come forward for testing, with two pop-up sites that will be open in Melton.
All Victorian-era licensed workers must receive their first dose of vaccine by October 15 and a second dose by November 26 to continue working on-site, under a new statewide mandate .
The requirement will cover retail workers, personal trainers, MPs, journalists, religious leaders, judges, police, lawyers, actors and professional athletes.
Of the state’s estimated 1.25 million licensed workers, Premier Daniel Andrews said more than a million have already received their first dose.
He argues that a policy change is needed to curb the rise in the number of cases after the state reported 1,143 more infections and three deaths.
The state government plans to consult with certain industries such as energy, waste management and religious leaders, but Andrews said there would be few exemptions.
“There is too much at stake,” he said.
The Oct. 15 deadline will not replace the separate timelines in Victoria’s vaccination mandate for workers in elderly care, health care, freight, construction and education.
Andrews played down the possibility that a broader mandate could spark more anti-vaccine protests, with three other protesters arrested on Friday.
“I don’t take liberty talks from people who will hold us all back,” he said.
Victoria Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Guerra welcomed the move, saying it “provides businesses with certainty, guidance and protections.”
The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia also called it “a step in the right direction”.
“It protects healthcare workers. It protects patients, ”said PSA Victorian branch president John Jackson.