Thursday’s daily case figure is the highest since October 29 and the state is now managing 12,252 active infections.
There are 384 patients in hospital, 87 of whom are actively infected with the virus in intensive care and 49 on ventilators.
The seven-day hospitalisation average is also on the rise, growing to 346.
Victoria has reported 1,622 new COVID-19 cases and a further nine deaths on Thursday (pictured, shoppers walk along Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne)
Testers processed 80,841 results on Wednesday, while 10,816 people were vaccinated in state-run hubs.
New rules for unvaccinated Victorian’s
Under 18’s won’t need to prove they are vaccinated to be in the community
Unvaccinated residents can enter shops ahead of festive season
However, restaurants, bars, cafes, hair salons and beauty services are still unavailable to the un-jabbed
Weddings, funerals and religious ceremonies remain can open to all
Meanwhile, vaccine mandates have been scrapped in several settings in Victoria but masks remain in retail under relaxed restrictions from Thursday.
Shoppers no longer need to prove they are vaccinated to visit non-essential retail outlets, places of worship, weddings, funerals, and real estate inspections and auctions.
Victorians aged under 18 will also no longer need to show proof of vaccination.
However, hair and beauty customers must still be fully vaccinated, as must all patrons of restaurants, bars and cafes.
Mask mandates will also continue in all retail settings and for hospitality workers, but will not be required at weddings and funerals.
Businesses exposed to the virus will no longer have to conduct deep cleaning procedures amid evidence contracting Covid by touching a surface is ‘very low risk’.
The changes, part of new pandemic orders signed by Health Minister Martin Foley on Wednesday, will remain in place until January 12.
Vaccine mandates have been scrapped in several settings in Victoria but masks remain in retail under relaxed restrictions from Thursday (pictured, shoppers in Melbourne)
Meanwhile, vaccine mandates have been scrapped in several settings in Victoria but masks remain in retail under relaxed restrictions from Thursday (pictured Premier Daniel Andrews)
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton warned the state will see a ‘significant increase’ in Omicron infections, pointing to the case spike in NSW and widespread infections in Europe.
A positive Omicron case visited Sircuit Bar in Fitzroy between 9pm and midnight and Collingwood’s The Peel Hotel from 11.30pm to 3am last Friday night.
About 700 club-goers have now been deemed close contacts, with genomic testing confirming the positive case was infected with the Omicron strain.
Attendees of the popular clubs who are fully vaccinated must get tested immediately and quarantine for seven days.
Revellers who are not vaccinated must also get tested and isolate for 14 days.
The health department is also contacting patrons who were at Sircuit Bar between 6pm and 9pm on Friday.
Victoria’s state of emergency officially ended at 11:59pm on Wednesday and will be replaced with the new pandemic legislation.
A positive Omicron case visited Sircuit Bar in Fitzroy between 9pm and midnight and Collingwood’s The Peel Hotel (pictured) from 11.30pm to 3am last Friday night.
The health department is also contacting patrons who were at Sircuit Bar (pictured) between 6pm and 9pm on Friday.
The laws carry ‘specific legal requirements’ that prevent restriction changes being made public before going through ‘proper processes’.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley has the power to enforce restrictions, such as mask wearing, and make pandemic declarations, which were initially done by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Professor Brett Sutton.
Premier Daniel Andrews last month teased masks would be abandoned on December 15, as long as Covid-related hospitalisations remained steady.
When asked why the mask rules had been extended, Mr Foley replied: ‘One word – Omicron. (It) has changed the landscape.’
Mr Sutton echoed the health minister’s sentiments when he described the ‘highly uncertain’ strain as ‘another punch that none of us wanted’.
The chief health officer said masks were important for distancing and ventilation, and said the southern state would see a ‘significant’ increase in Omicron cases.
Victoria’s state of emergency officially ended at 11:59pm on Wednesday and will be replaced with the new pandemic legislation (pictured, a pop up testing clinic in Melbourne)
Covid Australia: Victoria cases continue to climb with 1,622 new infections and nine deaths