Authorities in Victoria disclose in a press conference the record-breaking 1,438 new COVID-19 infections recorded Thursday, Sept. 30. That's a 50 percent jump from Wednesday's 950 new COVID-19 cases. Officials admit that it's a "major setback" for the state.
On Friday, Oct. 1, the state recorded 1,143 new COVID-19 cases. On Saturday, Oct. 2, the state broke the record again after health authorities recorded 1,488 new COVID-19 cases.
State Premier Daniel Andrews of the ruling left-wing Labor Party has blamed the rising number of new infections to home parties held the previous weekend for people who wanted to watch an important sporting event with their friends and family.
"Many of these cases were completely avoidable," says Andrews. (Related: 6 out of 7 new COVID-19 deaths in New South Wales were VACCINATED.)
The state now has over 11,000 active COVID-19 cases. Several local government areas have been placed under even more severe lockdown measures for a week following the rise in COVID-19 cases in those affected areas. In Greater Shepparton, around a third of the area's 66,000 residents have been ordered to undergo home quarantine due to an outbreak.
The state government passed a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on Friday, ordering hundreds of thousands of authorized workers to get vaccinated within two weeks or be fired from their jobs.
According to the mandate, all authorized workers in the state have to be at least partially vaccinated by Oct. 15, and must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 26. Those who remain unvaccinated after the deadline will not be allowed to work on-site.
The vaccine mandate covers around 1.25 million estimated authorized workers in the state. According to Andrews, more than a million of those people have already been vaccinated. These authorized workers include members of parliament like Andrews, retail workers, journalists, judges, police officers, lawyers, actors, personal trainers and sports professionals.
The encroaching lockdowns and vaccine mandate have caused discontent in Victoria to surge. On Saturday, a large protest was organized that would march around Melbourne. Mainstream media outlet SBS described the protest as the largest in size in recent days.
The Victoria Police acted almost immediately by blocking off many popular gathering sites. By early afternoon, the protests began with hundreds of protesters descending on some of the sites blocked off by the police, such as the Royal Botanic Gardens near the city's central business district.
As the anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine mandate protesters marched on the park, one live stream caught them chanting "My body, my choice, "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie" and "F--- Daniel Andrews."
The protesters marched past the National Gallery of Victoria and the Melbourne headquarters of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine mandate protesters were initially greeted with minimal police presence. But officers and mounted police eventually moved in on the protesters.
The Victoria Police broke up the protesters into smaller, more manageable groups by firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Once these groups of protesters were small enough to handle, the officers moved in to make arrests.
Australian mainstream media outlets have incorrectly described the protesters as "aggressive" or "hostile" towards the police officers.
Learn more about the resistance to lockdowns and vaccine mandates in Australia by reading the latest articles at Pandemic.news.