An incredible push from Victorians to get vaccinated has had a major impact on the Australian state's projected Covid figures, with new modelling suggesting the number of deaths will likely be halved.
Modelling from the Burnett Institute was released after it was announced that Victoria is set to reach its 70 per cent double dose milestone this week, five days ahead of schedule.
"Burnet's updated modelling predicts cases will now plateau around their current levels before rising, as restrictions are eased, to a daily peak of close to 4000 new cases per day in mid-December," the Burnet Institute said in a statement.
"However, hospitalisation rates are now lower, the length of stay is also less.
"The modelling shows Victoria's pace and high levels of vaccination has almost-halved the projected number of people expected to die from Covid-19 before the end of the year."
The projected deaths is now at 1212 between July and December 2021, down from the 2202 projected on September 18.
The chances of overwhelming the hospital system have dropped from 63 per cent to just 23 per cent.
It comes after Premier Daniel Andrews announced a raft of restrictions would ease from Thursday night, including an end to Melbourne's lockdown.
"We have more case numbers than we would like," he said.
"[But] the acuity of illness is substantially less than we expected. Plus, of course, we've reached this 70 per cent rate in record time. Now, single dose is not the same as double, but it does provide a significant degree of protection."
Unvaxxed miss out on new mask freedom
Across the border in New South Wales, Premier Dominic Perrottet has confirmed that unvaccinated people will still have to follow one of the most hated mask restrictions, while vaxxed residents enjoy the new freedom.
From today, fully vaccinated NSW residents are no longer required to wear a mask while in the office, in a bid to encourage people to return to work.
However, the Premier made a point of reminding unvaccinated workers that they would have to keep donning a mask if they wanted to be in the office.
"I do make a point though, if you are unvaccinated you have to wear a mask in the office. That is still a requirement in relation to these new changes," he said.
Mask wearing in offices has been one of the most disliked rules during this outbreak.
The restriction was originally meant to remain in place until December but was brought forward to be included in the 80 per cent double dose freedoms.
NSW records 265 cases and five deaths
NSW has recorded 265 locally acquired Covid-19 cases and five deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.
Victoria records 1903 cases and seven deaths
Victoria has recorded 1903 locally acquired Covid-19 cases and seven deaths in the 24 hours to midnight last night.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has said Victoria is shifting its focus from locking down areas of the state to locking down unvaccinated people to keep residents safe.
Andrews said while there could be some "targeted" Covid measures moving forward, the focus would be on preventing unvaccinated people from participating in high risk activities.
"What we are moving away from is instead of locking people down we are locking people out," he told breakfast television.
"If you are not double dose vaccinated you won't be able to go to the pub. You won't be able to do so many of the things people have yearned for four such a long period of time, you have got to get vaccinated, that's what keeps you safe.
"While we have achieved an amazing thing in Victoria, there is still a way to go. We have to get people who've got second appointments booked to turn up. People who are on the edge, they need to go and get their first dose. That is my message today. We are so close to having achieved something quite remarkable, now we have to finish this thing off."
Andrews also confirmed that the state will likely follow in the footsteps of NSW and scrap hotel quarantine for international arrivals, however, the measure wouldn't be abandoned all together.
Andrews said Victoria would likely move to a home quarantine situation, though he would work speak with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to determine the best approach for international arrivals.
The Premier said hotel quarantine would become "a thing of the past" and home quarantine would be less than 14 days for fully vaccinated people.