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Vic child with ‘serious comorbidities’ becomes youngest COVID-19 death

A Victorian child under 10 has become Australia’s youngest person to die with COVID-19, as large crowds gather at pro and anti-vaccination rallies in Melbourne.

The state reported 1166 new infections on Saturday as active cases dived to 9581, down by about 30 per cent from Friday.

Victoria’s health department later confirmed the infected child was among five further deaths and had “other serious comorbidities”.

Previously, 15-year-old Osama Suduh from southwest Sydney was the youngest known person in Australia to die with the virus.

The teenager from southwest Sydney died in August after contracting pneumococcal meningitis, and while he was also COVID-positive it was not the reason for his hospitalisation or death.

It came as thousands gathered in Melbourne’s CBD on Saturday to rally against Victoria’s contentious pandemic bill and vaccine mandates.

The demonstrators loosely comprise of groups who oppose COVID-19 vaccines, mandates and the state’s proposed pandemic laws, which stalled in the upper house this week.

Protesters were watched on by police as they chanted “Kill the bill” and carried a range of flags and placards.

A counter demonstration nearby has also attracted a sizeable crowd but the group have pledged not to seek a confrontation.

Organiser Nahui Jimenez said the Campaign Against Racism and Fascism rallies in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth were designed to draw public attention to the “growth of conspiratorial, anti-human and fascistic politics”.

“Hostility to vaccines has become a gateway to the far right globally,” she said.

“We will not allow fascist groups to propagate their bigotry and occupy our streets without resistance.”

It has been reported figures associated with the neo-Nazi movement have joined the recurring protests, and the crowd staged a mock execution of Premier Daniel Andrews using wooden gallows on Monday evening.

Key Victorian crossbench MP Andy Meddick’s daughter Kielan was also allegedly attacked on a Fitzroy street on Thursday night and suffered a head injury after being confronted by an unknown man for spray painting an anti-vax poster.

Meanwhile, Victoria will join NSW in allowing fully vaccinated international students to fly into the state without quarantining.

The state government has clarified international students can skip quarantine if they are double-dosed and provide a negative test 48 hours before departure, as per requirements for all international travellers.

The first planeload of international students is expected to touch down in Melbourne next month under a plan ticked off by the federal government

It is the first step in the state’s bid to reboot its $13.7 billion education industry.

AAP

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