The Victorian premier has begged young people not to rationalise small gatherings with their friends thinking they are immune from COVID-19, with eight people under 30 in hospital across the state.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has issued a plea for young people across the state to “do the right thing” and take the second wave of coronavirus infections more seriously or “restrictions will get tighter”.
In a Facebook post on Saturday night, the premier said he understood how “hard and frustrating” the tighter restrictions are for young people but urged them to resist going out and mixing with their friends.
“You might be put in a position where you're asked to choose between going out or staying home.
"You'll be asked to come over, to hang out, just a few drinks - nothing big. Nothing risky,” Mr Andrews said in the post.
“You might even find a way to rationalise it: It's a small gathering, you won't get caught, your mates don't have the virus.
“But let's not ignore the facts before us.”
Of the 3,995 people across Victoria currently sick with the virus, 42 are in intensive care.
Two children are also in hospital and eight people under the age of 30.
These are "young people just like you - with no idea how long they might be there, or just how bad things might get," said Mr Andrews in his post.
Stage three lockdowns in Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire, now in place for 17 days, have failed to bring down case numbers, with Victoria announcing 357 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday and a further five deaths.
The state toll now sits at 61, the national figure at 145.
The deaths were women aged in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, and a man in his 80s.
In his Facebook post, Mr Andrews said those numbers weren’t "casualties of some war being fought in a distant place" but "real people - real Victorians - and none of them ever thought they'd be fighting for their lives".
"I know it's hard, I know it's frustrating, and I know you're over this – believe me, I am too… [but] if people ignore the rules, or pretend this isn't happening, restrictions will get tighter, case numbers will grow larger, and more lives will be lost," he said.
The premier ended the post with a simple message for Victorians to "do the right thing".
Victoria's chief medical officer Brett Sutton on Saturday said the state's case numbers "have remained stubbornly high".
"[They] haven't gone up significantly, haven't gone down significantly in the past week," he said.
"There is no magic bullet here. There is nothing that will all of a sudden see numbers hit zero in the next couple of weeks.
"This will have quite a tail even if we see numbers start to drop in the next week or two. It's not going to be something that suddenly disappears in a way that wave one did."
The premier has refused to rule out further restrictions but has pointed to masks being the current strategy to stop the spread.
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