Victoria has 18,167 virus cases, 20 deaths


Victoria has recorded 18,167 new COVID-19 cases and 20 deaths, as a four-day booster vaccine blitz gets underway at eight state-run hubs.

The new infections, confirmed by the health department on Friday, include 10,023 from PCR tests and 8144 from rapid antigen tests.

It takes the total number of active cases in the state to 252,399, up by 5505.

However, hospital figures have dropped by 110 to 1096, ahead of the state’s expected peak during the Omicron wave.

The number of Victorians in intensive care sits at 121 and there are 34 people on ventilation.

Victoria’s third dose rate has lifted to 28 per cent as the booster blitz begins on Friday, with 60,000 vaccine slots available.

Hours at major hubs including Bendigo, La Trobe University and Sandown have been extended specifically for the blitz, while more than 100 GPs and pharmacies across the state will receive grants to provide additional appointments at the weekend.

More than 200,000 booster appointments are available in Victoria over the next two weeks, after the interval between second and third doses was slashed to three months in state clinics.

Meanwhile, the Victorian government is ordering another 166 million rapid antigen tests, as millions more arrive in the state.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the tests will cost “hundreds of millions” but declined to give an exact amount as negotiations are ongoing.

Out of the 44 million already ordered, 7.5 million RATs have arrived since Sunday, with more than two million distributed to health workers, staff in sensitive settings, and vulnerable communities.

About 750,000 tests have also been handed out at state testing centres.