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Victoria records 507 COVID-19 cases ahead of lockdown exit plan

Victoria has recorded 507 new locally-acquired COVID-19 cases and another fatality ahead of the release of a comprehensive plan for easing lockdown restrictions.

The death is the eleventh of the state’s current outbreak, which now also counts 5262 active virus cases in total.

Health authorities said 43,441 vaccine doses were administered in the 24 hours to Saturday evening and more than 58,000 tests conducted.

Premier Daniel Andrews is meanwhile expected to release the long-awaited road map on later on Sunday morning, including dates for school students to return to campus and for businesses to reopen.

The state recorded 535 new cases on Saturday, the highest daily number so far in the latest outbreak.

Late last week, about 120,000 doctors, nurses, paramedics, and allied health workers urged the state government to prioritise the health system and its workforce over easing restrictions.

Through their unions, the health workers called for “accurate modelling” on expected ambulance demand, hospitalisations, intensive care patients and deaths.

The workers said they were already burnt out and “fearful” of rising infections, with 207 cases in hospital, 56 in intensive care, and 40 on ventilators as of Saturday.

Of those in hospital, 87 per cent had not been vaccinated, 12 per cent had been given a first dose and two people had been fully vaccinated.

Also on Saturday, police arrested 235 people at an anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne that saw violent confrontations and officers hospitalised.

Ten police were hurt while dealing with the rally, with injuries including a broken elbow and broken nose.

Police said their strong response likely reduced the turnout from thousands to between 500 and 700.

Other Victorians are taking advantage of a modest easing of restrictions on the weekend, to mark the state reaching 70 per cent first dose vaccinations.

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated adults can meet up with one person from another household for a walk or picnic, while fully vaccinated adults can see five people from two households, plus dependents.

Time allowed outdoors has been doubled to four hours and travel limits expanded from five kilometres to 10.