AS the number of COVID-19 cases in the City of Whittlesea reached 13 yesterday, council closed all playgrounds and skate parks until further notice.

It comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Sunday night that gatherings of more than two people would be banned as of midnight March 30, except for members of an individual’s household and for work or education purposes.

Premier Daniel Andrews said there were only four reasons Victorians could leave their home: for food and supplies, medical care, exercise and work or education.

Police have strong powers to enforce these directions and can issue on the spot fines, including up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 for businesses.

The City of Whittlesea last week clarified changes to essential services and reiterated what council facilities remain closed.

Maternal and child health services will now be offered over the phone until further notice, with exceptions of clinically essential cases.

“This follows advice from the Department of Health and Human Services,” a council spokesperson said.

“Home and centre visits will be replaced by a phone call from your maternal child health nurse at the booked appointment time.

“Where deemed clinically essential by your nurse, short face to face consultations, of no more than 15 minutes may go ahead.

“Parents should be reassured that the evidence so far is babies and children under five years old are at a reduced risk of serious illness from coronavirus.”

Residents can call the 24-hour MCH line on 13 22 29 and can also call council on 9404 8888 for concerns regarding baby’s feeding or breast feeding.

The immunisation service is still running and council sessions are operating as normal.

Kindergartens are permitted to continue, but many are now closed for the school holidays. Council customer service centres, community centres, Yarra Plenty Regional Library branches, pools and gyms, and sportsgrounds are all closed.

Council’s civic centre, offices at Westfield Plenty Valley, EDGE Youth Services and Epping Works Depot are closed.