Victoria has recorded 12 new locally-acquired COVID-19 infections as police prepare to meet anti-lockdown protests planned for Melbourne.
Health authorities say the infections are all linked to current outbreaks. Ten of the cases were in quarantine throughout their entire infectious period.
The numbers come with 19,281 vaccine doses administered in the past 24 hours in Victoria and 39,846 COVID tests conducted.
The state recorded 14 cases on Friday, 11 of which were in quarantine for their entire infectious period.
Premier Daniel Andrews said those results, amid high testing numbers, were “very encouraging”.
Police meanwhile say they are concerned about “entitled” protesters planning to mass in Melbourne on Saturday.
They say the gatherings have the potential to thwart the state’s efforts to emerge from its fifth lockdown.
A rally involving a few hundred people could involve flares and the blocking of an inner-city bridge, Chief Commissioner of Police Shane Patton said on Friday.
“Where you have the vast majority of Victorians doing the right thing, sitting at home, it’s such a sense of entitlement to say ‘I can go out and protest just because I disagree’ and potentially breach all of the CHO guidelines and spread the virus,” he told 3AW.
Mr Andrews labelled the idea of protesting lockdown “ridiculous”.
“Protest against this virus by staying at home, following the rules and getting out of lockdown,” he said.
Rising cases in Sydney prompted the premier on Friday to call for a “ring of steel” around the northern city, to prevent virus spread into his and other states.
The strategy, involving policed roadblocks and mobile checks, was used to separate Melbourne from regional Victoria during part of the state’s 112-day lockdown in 2020.
The premier pitched the idea at national cabinet with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other state and territory leaders on Friday afternoon, but his request was denied.
In a press conference following the meeting, Mr Morrison argued stay-at-home rules were enough to keep the virus at bay.
Earlier on Friday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Sydney needed extra Pfizer doses to protect younger people.
Mr Andrews said he doubted vaccine doses destined for Victoria would be sent to NSW.
Victoria reported seven people in hospital with COVID-19 on Friday including two in intensive care, though neither were on ventilators. The state was managing a total of 146 active community cases.
Victoria’s current set of restrictions are set to be eased on July 27 but Mr Andrews says health authorities want more data before deciding if the lockdown will end on time.