Victoria has extended vaccination mandates to more than one million essential workers after another day of more than 1,000 locally-acquired Covid cases.
On Friday the state recorded 1,143 new local cases and three coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours.
The premier, Daniel Andrews, said the case numbers presented a “challenge” for the state as he announced that all authorised workers would be subject to compulsory vaccination.
The mandate will cover everyone who is currently allowed to work outside the home, including cleaners, allied health professionals and even pool maintenance operators, affecting about 1.2m Victorians.
They must have their first vaccine dose by Friday 15 October and the second by 26 November.
“This is critically important to keep the case numbers down so that we can open up on 26 October, get our freedom back, get the economy going again and deliver the national plan,” Andrews said.
Until now about one-third of all authorised workers, including residential aged care, construction, healthcare and education workers, have been subject to a vaccination mandate.
Andrews said the announcement would not affect the arrangements in place in these industries.
“It is critically important that we do not see these cases continue to climb and go up and up and up so that our hospital system is under immense pressure even before we open up,” Andrews said.
“[We] just won’t do that to our nurses, to our doctors, to all of our teams of those dedicated health professionals.”
It is the second day of case numbers in four figures, after 1,438 were recorded on Thursday.
The government said on Thursday Victorians hosting illegal gatherings and house parties over the AFL grand final long weekend had helped to drive the sudden rise, which is threatening to derail Victoria’s reopening plans.
The three deaths on Friday were a man in his 80s form Hume, a woman in her 70s from Alphington, and a man in his 70s from Moreland.
There were 395 people in hospital with Covid-19, with 87 in intensive care and 59 on a ventilator.
Of those people in hospital, 74% had not been vaccinated, 21% had received one dose and 5% were fully vaccinated.
The state now has 10,944 active cases of the virus and 49.8% of those over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated.
Many of the new tier one exposure sites are childcare centres across Melbourne, with others cropping up in regional areas such as Ararat, Geelong and Warrnambool.