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Another 1903 COVID cases as Vic eyes lockdown end

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Victoria’s local COVID cases have bumped up to 1903 as the state prepares for an early exit from its long-running sixth lockdown within days.

There were also seven more fatalities on Monday, taking the toll from the state’s Delta outbreak to 152.

Monday’s cases come after 1838 were confirmed on Sunday, as Premier Daniel Andrews announced plans to reopen on the state from later this week.

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On Monday, he revealed plans to scrap hotel quarantine for fully vaccinated international arrivals to Victoria. However, the state won’t follow NSW in abolishing quarantine altogether for double-dosed travellers from November 1.

Instead, he foreshadowed they would be able to isolate at home for fewer than 14 days.

“It will be less,” he told Seven’s Sunrise on Monday.

“If you are double-dose vaccinated, you will be able to quarantine at home and hotel quarantine will be a thing of the past.”

Mr Andrews also confirmed whole-state lockdowns would not happen in Victoria again, the his government would instead opt for targeted restrictions in “very narrow circumstances”.

“No more statewide lockdowns. What we are moving away from is instead of locking people down, we are locking people out,” he said.

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“If you are not double-dose vaccinated, you won’t be able to go to the pub.”

Phones will be running hot for pubs, hairdressers and restaurants on Monday as fully vaccinated Melburnians race for a taste of freedom.

From 11.59pm on Thursday, all restrictions for leaving home will be abolished, along with the city’s nightly curfew.

Haircuts as well as a parma and pot will be back on the menu as lockdown ends five days earlier than previously planned, in line with Victoria reaching its target of 70 per cent of over-16s fully vaccinated.

Up to 10 visitors will be allowed in a home per day, but shops and gyms in metropolitan Melbourne have to remain closed until the state gets to 80 per cent fully vaccinated.

Hairdressing and beauty salons will be able to open for up to five fully vaccinated people at a time.

Pubs, clubs and entertainment venues will be able to open to 20 fully vaccinated customers indoors, and 50 doubled-dosed people outdoors.

Changes will also be made to isolation orders, with fully vaccinated people who are identified as a primary close contact of a confirmed case they do not live with having to quarantine for seven days rather than 14.

Other restrictions will also ease further at the 80 per cent vaccinated level, which is forecast by some data analysts to be as early as October 31.

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-with AAP

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