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Photograph: Visit Victoria

'We are opening up': Melbourne to exit lockdown, despite record case numbers

The state has recorded more than 2,000 cases for the first time
Written by
Cassidy Knowlton

Vax and the City: Every public health official in Australia agrees that mass vaccination is the only way out of this crisis. We at Time Out recommend that you get vaccinated as soon as you can if that is appropriate for your own health. Here's how to make a vaccination appointment. Please speak to a medical professional about what is right for you.

It's become a reflex for Melburnians: alarm goes off, roll over, bash at your phone to stop the noise, rub your eyes, check the DHHS website from bed to find today's case numbers. While the steadily decreasing case numbers during Melbourne's second lockdown were seen as a sign of hope, today's 2,297 cases, probably made many want to go back to sleep and not get up at all.

But premier Dan Andrews has assured Victorians that we are on track to reopen as planned in the next week or two, despite high case numbers. Andrews emphasised that the numbers that mattered most were the number of Victorians who were fully vaccinated – and that those numbers were on the rise. "We have, fundamentally, a very important agreement with the Victorian community: you get vaccinated and we will open up, and I do what I say. That is why we are going to be opening up, because people have got vaccinated in record numbers in record time, and they should be proud of that, and I am proud of them are deeply grateful to them."

It's expected that 70 per cent of eligible Victorians will be fully vaccinated as early as October 22, and we are expected to hit the 80 per cent target around November 1 or 2. That would be good news for those who wish to attend the Spring Racing Carnival, as spectators will only be permitted at Oaks Day and Stakes Day if the state reaches its target before those events.

As Melbourne prepares to open up, Melburnians remain excited but apprehensive. We spoke to some of them about their hopes and fears for the future.

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