176 new cases as Victoria shifts its exit strategy

176 new cases as Victoria shifts its exit strategy

Victoria confirmed another record number of infections today, with 176 new covid cases recorded in the 24 hours to midnight last night, a day after the Premier Daniel Andrews conceded driving the state's Delta outbreak down to zero was no longer possible.

This is the biggest daily increase the state has seen during this outbreak, topping yesterday’s high of 120 infections. Of today's new locally acquired cases, 83 have been linked to known cases and outbreaks. A total of 48,372 people came forward for testing.

Contact tracers have linked 83 of the new cases to existing outbreaks.

Victoria's lockdown has been extended at least until September 23 - when 70 per cent of residents have their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Yesterday He revealed the state’s lockdown exit plan, with some restrictions to ease from tonight while the majority others will kick in towards the end of September when first dose vaccinations reach 70 per cent.

Victorian business owners said Wednesday's state government announcement marked a “day of disappointment”, warning of the long term economic consequences of the lockdown. His refusal to give any clarity about when businesses will be able to reopen has left thousands of people across the sector looking for answers.

"We have business crisis, we have a staff crisis, we have a school kids crisis, we have community crisis and sadly, we are seeing a mental health crisis all layering on top of what started off as a COVID crisis," Victorian Chamber of Commerce CEO Paul Guerra said.

While restrictions will start easing towards the end of the month and most regional areas of the state could be out of lockdown next week, Melbourne is set to remain under lockdown conditions until at least the end of October.

This means the city is poised to break a grim world record for the most time in lockdown. Argentinas Buenos Aires is the current lockdown record holder with 243 days.