Coronavirus

As cases surge to record high, Daniel Andrews warns 'people will die' if sick Victorians don't stay home

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews stressed the importance of complying with public health restrictions. Source: AAP

Victoria has recorded 532 new cases of COVID-19 and six more people have died from the virus, taking the national death toll to 161.

New coronavirus cases have again surged to record levels in Victoria, with 532 infections reported in the 24 hours to Monday morning. 

Premier Daniel Andrews said there had also been six further coronavirus deaths, while 44 people were battling the infection in intensive care. 

"The key message today for every single Victorian regardless of where they work and regardless of where they live - you simply can't go to work if you have symptoms," Mr Andrews said on Monday.

"Otherwise, these restrictions will be in place for longer than they should be, and I'm sorry to say, we will see more people die, particularly in aged care," he said.

"If people are going to work sick, people will become infected. And therefore, people will die."

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Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd said 2,884 Australians had been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past seven days, with 259 people in hospital. He said the figures were "very concerning".

"The tragedy of COVID-19 is that we know with the number of new infections that we have seen today, that there will be many further deaths in the days ahead."

Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the number of new infections linked to Victoria's aged care sector was "disturbing". 

"These are very challenging numbers. We're at a very challenging stage with this wave."

"The aged care outbreaks are absolutely a consequence of community transmission, but they represent a tragedy for the families involved," Dr Sutton said.

There are currently 560 active COVID-19 cases linked to residents and staff of at least 40 homes across the state, including 82 cases at Estia Health in Ardeer and 84 at St Basil's Homes for the Aged in Fawkner.

Victoria's previous daily record for new coronavirus infections was 484 on 22 July. 

The state on Sunday recorded Australia's highest single daily death toll after 10 people died.

Coronavirus is now "deeply embedded" in Victoria and will take a while to control, according to health authorities.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said it was hoped case numbers would come down by now, three weeks into Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire's six-week lockdown.

"The virus is deeply embedded within the community in Victoria," Mr Coatsworth said on Monday.

"We know that Victorians in those lockdown zones are mixing far less, the movement data shows us we're about where we were in that first wave when the curve started to flatten.

"The other bit of silver lining is that those numbers, whilst deeply concerning, are bouncing between about 350 and 450 a day and certainly we're not seeing doubling during the week, which has to be a good thing."

'Alarming behaviour'

Another 152 coronavirus restrction fines have been dished out to Victorians, including 23 for failing to wear a mask.

In addition, 10 people were fined after attending a church service in St Albans.

But Victoria Police say the breaches to COVID-19 directives have been the exception rather than the rule.

"The vast majority of people are doing the right thing to protect the health and safety of our community," said Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent in a statement.

"However, the behaviour of those who blatantly choose to disregard the rules on the insistence their human rights being breached is alarming.

"Worse yet, it seems these people are more interested in notoriety and getting likes on social media than the health and wellbeing of their fellow Victorians."

Videos released on social media of a woman challenging Bunnings workers who asked her to wear a mask to enter a store went viral on Sunday, sparking outrage.

"My message to anyone planning to break the rules is simple: no one has a human right to infect other people and place the entire Victoria community at risk," Mr Nugent said.

There's a $200 fine for not wearing a face covering in public without a valid reason.

Residents in metropolitan Melbourne are subject to stay-at-home orders and can only leave home for essential work, study, exercise or care responsibilities. It is also mandatory to wear masks in public.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus 

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