Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has warned “everybody will pay a price” if people do not do their part to help drive down the state’s coronavirus case numbers.
In giving the latest update on the situation in Victoria, Mr Andrews has also made financial support available to more people forced to stay home while waiting for test results.
He again urged people to get tested and reminded younger Victorians they would be able to go back to the pub with friends sooner if the health advice is followed correctly.
Here are some of the other key takeaways from Mr Andrews’ press conference on Thursday.
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Victoria records another 403 cases, five more deaths including a man in his 50s
Mr Andrews said three of the deaths a woman in her 70s, a man in his 80s and a man in his 90s were connected to aged care facilities.
Another man in his 50s and a man in his 70s also died overnight, bringing the state’s death toll to 49.
Other key figures released on Thursday:
- 1,154 cases may indicate community transmission
- 3,630 cases are currently active in Victoria
- 3,298 people have recovered from the virus
- Of the total 7,125 cases, 6,558 cases are from metropolitan Melbourne, while 398 are from regional Victoria
- Total cases include 3,607 men and 3,442 women
- 447 cases are linked to 35 aged care sites
Mr Andrews said there were 3,630 active cases across Victoria and that a significant proportion of the state’s recent new cases were younger people.
He said if case numbers continue to grow, “there will be a number of people in that cohort that sadly die”.
“The point needs to be acknowledged, this is not just a disease or a virus or tragedy that will only be visited upon very, very old people,” he said.
“It has, around the world, been visited on many people of otherwise healthy status.”
Of the 403 new cases, 69 are connected to known outbreaks and the rest are still under investigation.
There are 201 people in hospitals, including 40 in intensive care.
More than 1.4 million tests have been completed in the state this year, including 27,151 tests on Wednesday.
He said every day the numbers were stable but did not decline, “the maths of this” said people would die.
“It’s not alarmist, it’s a fact,” he said.
The Victorian Premier has again urged people who have been tested to stay home while they wait for results.(ABC News: Patrick Rocca)
Mr Andrews said no family was likely to be left untouched by the coronavirus.
“This is not something you want to get, it is not something you want to spread. Regardless of your age, gender, your faith background, your postcode, your income level, everybody is in this together,” he said.
“And everybody will pay a price all of us if we don’t get to the other side of this. And we all need to play a part.”
Financial support broadened to help those waiting for test results
Victoria already has a $1,500 hardship payment for eligible workers who test positive to the virus or are a close contact of a confirmed case and have been told to self-isolate.
On Thursday, Mr Andrews broadened the financial support and announced a $300 payment for people who have to isolate after being tested for coronavirus.
Yesterday, the Premier revealed about nine in 10 people were continuing to move about the community after developing symptoms, and just over half of people who had been tested did not immediately self-isolate.
Many of those people are understood to be in insecure or casual work, and Mr Andrews said the policy was a “direct result” of that.
Can I receive a $1,500 hardship payment?
The Victorian Government says there are “no questions asked” for workers self-quarantining, but the criteria to receive the coronavirus support payment are more complex than that.
“A payment of $300 will be available to anyone who has taken a test and then needs to isolate until they get their test result, is in work but does not have sick leave that they can fall back on,” Mr Andrews said.
He said it would require people to provide a pay slip or a statutory declaration but “it’s about getting these payments out as fast as possible”.
Mr Andrews said there were still “administrative details” that were being worked out for the new $300 payment.
“But this is about trying to make sure that that wicked choice between feeding your family, between providing for your family, as an earner, doesn’t compromise or see you making bad choices for every other family across our state,” he said.
Mr Andrews said the pattern of people not isolating was “contributing in a very clear way to the growth in cases”.
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Measures in place now about preventing third wave
Mr Andrews said there was a “massive team” of health officials, Commonwealth public servants, private-sector workers, ADF personnel and police who had been working on containment efforts.
He said if businesses are to reopen and restrictions are to be lifted, numbers needed to be driven down, not just kept stable.
He urged people to come forward for testing as soon as they have symptoms and then immediately self-isolate to prevent people from spreading the virus “at the height of your infectivity”.
“This is a second wave that’s all about the one and two percenters,” Mr Andrews said.
“It’s all about the small things, the small improvements all those small and hard-won gains that will see that replication rate come down and then to see case numbers come down as well,” he said.
People who have been tested whilst not showing symptoms had been told in the past they did not need to self-isolate whilst waiting for pathology results.
Mr Andrews said he had received advice that the signs telling asymptomatic people they did not need to isolate have been amended.
“The advice that was presented was wrong, people should isolate and wait for the test result,” he said.
He said modelling showed if the stage three restrictions had not been put in place a fortnight ago, there could have been “four, five, six, 7,000 cases over the period of a week, and even worse than that”.
“But stability is not enough,” he said.
“Stability won’t get us beyond this. We have to find those small, incremental gains. We have to also see compliance in the community at extraordinarily high levels.”
Wear masks now so you can enjoy a beer sooner
Victorians who do not wear face masks in public could be hit with a $200 fine.(AAP: David Crosling)
Mr Andrews said he was “deeply grateful” to Victorians who were wearing masks, staying at home and “making sacrifices”.
In a direct plea to younger people across the state, Mr Andrew asked them to “follow the rules” around wearing masks, social distancing, getting tested and isolating.
Victoria’s new face mask rules
Wearing masks will be compulsory for people outside the home in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire from Thursday. Here’s what we know about the new rules.
“It’s pretty simple. If you want this to be over, if you want to get to the other side of it and find that COVID normal … and be able to go and have a beer, or go and have a meal with a friend and be able to move around the community much more freely than you can now, you’ve got to follow the rules,” he said.
Mr Andrews has also clarified why people walking have to wear masks but those out running don’t have to.
He said it was about allowing people to exercise without the hindrance of breathing through a mask.
“It would be very challenging for people to run while wearing a mask,” he said.
“Some people will be able to do it, but if they can’t they should carry it with them and wear it before and after.”
Mr Andrews has not said how long masks could remain mandatory, but that they would be required, “so long as they can make a difference”.
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