Victoria records 459 new cases of coronavirus and 10 more deaths, marking the deadliest day in Australia since the pandemic began
Seven men ranging in age from their 40s to their 80s and three women in their 70s and 80s are the latest to die from the virus and take the state’s death toll to 71.
Mr Andrews said seven of the deaths were linked to aged care outbreaks and the man in his 40s was not connected to any outbreak.
More than 42,000 tests were completed on Saturday, the highest amount the Government has completed in a single day.
Mr Andrews said there were about 200 off-roster paramedics and third-year students helping with contact tracing.
“Their skills in dealing with dynamic circumstances means they are perfectly suited to that,” he said.
‘We are approaching the halfway mark. We’ve been clear that it would get worse before it got better, but stability had to be achieved before we would start to see numbers fall.
‘I can’t tell you where we will be in another 3.5 weeks, but what I can confirm for you… is that the data will drive the decisions.’
Mr Andrews said the situation would be many times worse if the lockdown had not been imposed and ending it too early would be a disaster.
From Monday, 20 Australian Defence Force personnel will begin working alongside Ambulance Victoria paramedics in joint crews.
Mr Andrews urged Victorians with symptoms to get tested quickly to avoid more workplace clusters developing.
“The biggest message today is if you’ve got symptoms then please get tested and get tested quickly. And then stay at home until you get your result. And if you’re positive then you have to stay at home for those 14 days.”
He also urged people to take advantage of the $300 hardship payment that would support them while they awaited test results if they were not entitled to income support from their employer.
People who don’t wear a mask face a $200 fine, and Mr Andrews hit out at a series of ‘sovereign citizens’ who claim the directive is invalid.
‘If it was a genuine error, a sense of any confusion – police use good judgement,’ he said.
They are about trying to shall fair as they possibly can be, but if you are just making a selfish choice that your alleged personal liberty, quoting some, I don’t know, something you’ve read on some website – this is not about human rights.
‘There are 10 families that are going to be burying someone in the next few days. Wear a mask! It’s not too much to ask.
‘What’s more, the nurse who will be treating you or a loved one, they will be wearing a mask, so you wear one to prevent that nurse from having to treat more patients.
‘It can’t get any more serious than that. 10 families are currently planning funerals. And the youngest among them, this he have’ lost someone in their 40s.’
Mr Andrews also pleaded with Victorians to stay home while they wait for coronavirus test results – as thousands have failed to do.
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.