Victoria has added 1193 new infections to its COVID-19 caseload, all except two of them locally acquired, and 13 virus-related deaths, seven of them historical.
The state is now managing more than 11,400 active coronavirus cases. There are 323 COVID patients in Victorian hospitals, 68 of them in intensive care and 29 who require ventilation.
The latest six fatalities were of people aged in their 50s-90s. The others reported on Saturday died in November. This means the total number of deaths in Victoria since the pandemic began stands at 1414.
Health officials say virus testers managed to process almost 83,000 results in the 24 hours to Friday evening, while there are more than 28,400 active primary close contacts in isolation throughout the state.
Victoria is 92 per cent fully vaccinated for everyone aged 12 and over and 94.2 per cent one-shot covered.
No new cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed, with authorities continuing to respond to three existing infections.
"One of the positive cases is a returned traveller who was previously identified with the Omicron variant while in hotel quarantine," the health department said in a statement.
"The other two positive Omicron cases sat together in the same row on a flight that landed in Melbourne from Dubai on 30 November.
"A third person who also sat in the same row has tested positive for COVID-19 and genomic sequencing is under way to confirm the variant."
Testing is also being conducted in relation to four other passengers on the same flight and three household contacts.
On the advice of Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton, Premier Daniel Andrews made a formal pandemic declaration on Friday applying to the entire state from 11.59pm on December 15, when the current state of emergency expires.
It's the first since new public health laws came into effect.
Mr Andrews said he was satisfied there was a serious risk to public health throughout Victoria arising from the pandemic and thousands of active cases who require care.
The chief health officer also advised protective measures were necessary to ensure the Victorian health system was not overwhelmed.
The state's Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment bill allows the premier to declare a pandemic and health minister to enforce orders such as lockdowns, mask-wearing, vaccination mandates, and quarantine.
The new laws were required as the state of emergency could no longer be extended but quickly became a lightning rod for anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination groups, who occupied the steps of state parliament for weeks in protest.
Mr Andrews says the framework has more oversight than a state of emergency, with an independent joint investigatory committee and ability of the parliament to disallow orders.
Saturday marked the sixth consecutive day Victoria has recorded more than 1000 virus cases.
Australian Associated Press
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