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Covid-19 Victoria: Three men charged over 'brawl outside Northern Hospital' in Epping

A brawl erupted outside a Melbourne hospital after three men were refused entry to see a relative who had reportedly died of Covid-19.

A group of about 15 people gathered outside Northern Hospital in Epping just after midnight on Monday.

Three men in the group tried to enter to see a patient, who AAP understands was a man with COVID-19 who had died.

Hospital staff asked the group to leave and 'an altercation took place', Victoria Police said.

Two police officers and three security guards were injured during the ensuing brawl and were treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Three men have been charged after allegedly brawling with police when staff at Melbourne's Northern Hospital reportedly refused to let them see a relative who died of Covid-19

A Northern Health spokesman said the three men were family members 'attempting to access the hospital' who had 'exhibited unacceptable behaviour'. 

The hospital, in the city's northern suburbs at the epicentre of the state's Covid-19 outbreak, is reportedly struggling to deal with the surge in cases.

Footage shared on Monday showed at least 12 ambulances forced to queue outside the Melbourne hospital.

Victorian Ambulance Union general secretary Danny Hill said 'burnt-out' health workers were doing their best to cope with the influx in cases.

'There's only so many resources even in a major hospital,' he told the Herald Sun. 

He told the publication that ramping - where paramedics are forced to look after patients outside a hospital in a parked ambulance - was not uncommon.

'If there's no beds then the ambulance has to stay and wait with the patient.

'What that means is the crew is not available to respond to other patients in the community when they need assistance.

'That has a flow-on effect to you or your friend not getting an ambulance if they break their leg playing footy or they have a car accident or a relative has a heart attack.'

Three Roxburgh Park men, aged 38, 41 and 47, have been charged with several offences including affray, recklessly cause injury, assault in company and assaulting police.

They have been bailed to appear at Heidelberg Magistrates Court on February 28, 2022.

It comes as Victoria recorded 867 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and four deaths, as well as an additional 149 infections from previous days.

It is the state's highest daily figure since the start of the pandemic, surpassing the previous record of 847 cases on Saturday.

The state's health department said more information would be provided on the deaths later on Tuesday. They bring the toll from the current outbreak to 29.

The department also said an additional 140 cases have been added to Monday's tally and nine cases to Sunday's tally due to test results 'incorrectly recorded by a third-party software vendor'.

This means there are now 9261 active infections across Victoria.

There were 49,450 coronavirus tests processed and 35,160 vaccine doses administered at state-run hubs on Monday.

It comes as general practitioners and pharmacies in Melbourne suburbs hardest hit by COVID-19 are eligible for grants to help speed up the vaccination rollout.

Premier Daniel Andrews has announced grants of up to $10,000 for clinics and pharmacies in 11 local government areas with high COVID-19 infections and low vaccination rates.

Mr Andrews said the grants would allow GPs and pharmacies to operate additional hours, hire more staff or rent out space to run vaccination hubs.

More than 78 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and over have now had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 47.7 per cent have had two doses.

Melbourne's lockdown will remain in place until 70 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 are double-vaccinated, which is forecast for October 26.

A more significant easing of restrictions will occur when the 80 per cent double-dose target is met, forecast for November 5.

However, some modest changes will be made to restrictions on Wednesday, when the state pass 80 per cent single-dose vaccination coverage.

This includes extending the travel limit to 15 kilometres, as well as the resumption of golf, tennis and cricket and group personal training for up to five fully vaccinated adults.

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