COVID-19 UPDATE: Victorian cases surpass 1000

VICTORIA now has 1036 coronavirus cases – an increase of 68 from yesterday.

The number of cases in the region have remained the same, with Mitchell Shire at seven, Macedon five and Whittlesea 14.

The total number of Victorian cases includes 551 men and 480 women with a total of five deaths in Victoria, and 23 nationwide.

There have been more than 49,000 tests conducted in Victoria, and of these tests, 57 confirmed cases may have been acquired through community transmission.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, there are 36 people in hospital being treated for COVID-19 with six in intensive care – 422 have recovered.

Of the 1036 cases, 828 are in Melbourne and 193 are in regional Victoria.

Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton said these were unprecedented times and the threat of coronavirus to public health is real and should be taken seriously.

“Everyone who’s unwell must isolate themselves and everyone who’s been told they’re in quarantine either as a returned traveller or close contact must do so,” he said.

“Social distancing will save lives. Everyone needs to comply with restrictions in place to keep yourself, your loved ones and the whole community safe.”

Child care becomes free 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced today childcare will be free for parents who are working during the coronavirus pandemic.

The PM also announced financial support would be provided to 13,000 child care centres across the country to ensure continued operation.

“Childcare and early childhood education is critical, particularly for those Australians who rely on it so they can go to work everyday,” he said.

Testing criteria broadened, funding in place

As part of a $1.3 billion boost, Victoria’s coronavirus testing criteria has been altered to include police officers, child protection workers, residential care workers, people working in homelessness and disability support.

A $1.3 billion boost will increase Victoria’s intensive care capacity.

The widened criteria comes as part of a ‘worst-case scenario’ preparation by the State Government which will see an increase in intensive care capacity in Victoria.

This will include an increase of intensive care beds from 500 to 4500 as the government prepares for the peak of coronavirus, expected in June.


Fines to enforce new restrictions

Stage-three restrictions have been in place since Tuesday, leaving only four reasons for Victorians to leave their homes; food and supplies, medical care and care giving, exercise, and work or education.

People who do not abide by the restrictions face strict penalties, as police patrol public places and can issue on the spot fines.

On the spot fines are being issued for people and businesses who do not abide by new restrictions.

People leaving their home for work or education purposes should have proof of their reasons for leaving home with them.

Fines include up to $1652 for individuals and $9913 for businesses who do not adhere by the new restrictions.

Under the State of Emergency, people who don’t comply could be taken to court and receive a fine of up to $20,000 or $100,000 for companies.