COVID-19 DAILY UPDATE: Cases continue to increase

Victoria now has 574 confirmed cases of COVID-19 after 46 tested positive yesterday, with 2985 cases confirmed across Australia.

This morning’s data shows that Mitchell Shire has five confirmed cases while there have been increases in Macedon Ranges Shire, which is up to three confirmed cases, and the City of Whittlesea, which has 11 confirmed cases.

More than 27,000 people have been tested and 171 people have fully recovered after testing positive.

The majority of cases in Victoria, 363 of them, have been caught from overseas travel while 163 have been from contact with a confirmed case.

As reported by The Age, the State Government is working on a plan to turn the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre into a makeshift hospital to cope with an anticipated peak of the outbreak in May or June.

Pharmacy special authority extended

The State Government has extended the special authority of the emergency supply of Schedule 4 medicines without a prescription.

Patients will be able to receive a maximum PBS quantity or pack size until September 27, 2020 without a prescription, where the pharmacist is satisfied there is immediate need, usually a months’ supply for most medicines.

The medicine must have been previously prescribed and be for the continuation of current essential treatment where it is impractical to obtain a prescription.

Police checking on self-isolators

Police is continuing to conduct spot checks to ensure travellers are self-isolating after returning to Victoria from overseas.

The majority of spot checks are being performed in-person and police also have the ability to use technology such as FaceTime.

The dedicated operation, dubbed Operation Sentinel, will see 500 police also follow up tips from the general public and enforce bans on non-essential indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Police will proactively patrol places of mass gathering such as beaches and shopping centres to ensure restrictions are being complied with.

Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent said situations would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, and police have a range of options available to deal with those who refuse to follow the directions of the Chief Health Officer.

“People can be issued with an official warning, directed to return home, or charged on summons where a person repeatedly refuses to obey a direction or blatantly disregards the restrictions. People can also face heavy fines,” he said.

Woolworths to hire 20,000

With demand surging at supermarkets while many workers have been laid off from closed businesses, Woolworths is looking to hire 20,000 staff across its supermarket, online, warehouse and liquor businesses, including 5000 in Victoria.

Woolworths Group chief executive Brad Banducci said the company played an important role in keeping Australians employed.

“These new roles will not only help us better serve the increase in demand we’re seeing in stores right now, but also allow us to scale up home delivery operations  in the months ahead,” he said

Racing to resume

While Kilmore Racing Club’s Thursday meeting was cancelled, racing will resume across Victoria today after confirmation that jockey Mark Zahra tested negative for COVID-19.

Scheduled meetings at Warrnambool and Pakenham will proceed with the strict protocols that have been in place for the past fortnight.

The movement of horses into Victoria was also restricted overnight with horses able to travel to Victoria but any licenced or registered personnel are not permitted to travel with the horses and a Victorian staff member of the horse’s trainer must be on hand to take delivery of the horse.

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