THE Premier Daniel Andrews has announced that the ‘State of Emergency’ in Victoria will be in place for at least another month, to Monday, May 11 and might well continue on beyond that point.
He made the announcement this morning while informing the community that there were only three new COVID-19 cases recorded overnight, to Sunday, April 12.
It enabled the Premier to wish all Victorians a ‘Happy Easter’ and to congratulate them on their commitment to the strict restrictions in place.
“Happy Easter, a very different Easter to anything we’ve experienced before. I want to say thank you to every Victorian who is celebrating this special day in a very different way, it’s protecting our health system and its saving lives.
“Our strategy is fundamentally working. The alternative of course if we look at places like New York and some parts of Europe is not something we want to see repeated here and that’s why it’s so important to go hard and then maintain those settings.”
Mr Andrews went on to announce that the government was extending the state of emergency for a further four week, until midnight on Monday, May 11 and “may well continue beyond that point”.
He went on to provide an update on the daily statistics: 1268 confirmed cases, three (3) more than Saturday, 28 are in hospital and 16 in intensive care. There was no increase in the number of deaths from coronavirus, still listed at 14, but there was a death among those being kept in isolation after returning from overseas.
Although Mr Andrews did not comment on the nature of that death, he did say the government was responding to the rise in the number of mental health issues by increasing the government support to agencies like crisis and suicide support service Lifeline [131114) through an additional $60 million in funding.
He said police have so far conducted 19,303 isolation and other COVID-19 checks, issued a further 92 infringement notices in the past 24 hours, 900 in total since beginning Operational Sentinel.
Mr Andrews did stress however that he “very impressed with the way the vast majority of Victorians were responding.
See the full press conference with the Premier Daniel Andrews and Mental Health Minister Martin Foley online at:
What we must do
There are only four reasons for Victorians to leave their home: food and supplies, medical care and care giving, exercise, and work or education. Police have strong powers to enforce these directions and can issue on the spot fines, including up to $1652 for individuals and up to $9,913 for businesses.
Under the State of Emergency people who don’t comply could also be taken to court and receive a fine of up to $20,000. Companies face fines of up to $100,000. Police will be out in full force over the Easter long weekend issuing fines to anyone who disobeys these directions.
With the Easter holidays in full swing, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton repeated his strong message that Victorians must continue to be vigilant in practicing physical distancing and staying at home for all but essential outings.
“The rules are clear, and they don’t change over Easter – stay at home,” Professor Sutton said.
“This is tough for many families, but no Easter holiday is worth a life. Stay at home, protect the health system, and save lives.
“This is not a normal Easter. Travelling, visiting friends, heading to the beach or staying in regional Victoria could see all our hard-won gains evaporate.
“Physical distancing will save lives. I urge people not to look for loopholes and do the right thing.”
For information on measures and restrictions in Victoria for slowing the spread of coronavirus visit www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au