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Victoria has recorded 1510 COVID-19 cases and four deaths after it was revealed a new bill to be tabled in Parliament on Tuesday could strip the state’s chief health officer from the power to have the final say on restrictions in a pandemic.

Diners enjoying their regained freedoms at Lobbs Cafe in Brunswick. Credit:Getty

The new laws, which would replace the state-of-emergency powers when they expire in December, would see an independent committee scrutinise crucial government decisions and health advice.

They would also give the premier authority to declare a pandemic and add stronger safeguards to protect data obtained through check-in apps from law enforcement.

A total of 817 COVID-positive patients were in hospital on Tuesday, compared to 802 on Monday. Of those, 147 were in intensive care and 88 are on ventilators.

Figures released by the state government over the past week show those who aren’t fully vaccinated continue to make up the bulk of patients admitted to hospital and intensive care.

To date, 75 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over have been fully vaccinated and a total of almost 4.5 million jabs administered at state-run clinics.

There were 28,232 doses of the vaccine administered across Victoria on Monday, with more than 55,679 test results returned.

There are currently 24,715 active cases across the state.

As students return to face-to-face learning, schools are grappling with a surge in coronavirus cases in the community which has led more than 200 schools to temporarily close this month.

New COVID-safe protocols mean schools no longer have to close for 14 days if a positive case has attended, but can reopen in some situations as soon as the next day.

The new protocols enable more students to be in class, but also require schools to perform a new juggling act: educating both the students who are on campus and those who are in quarantine.

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