Face masks mandatory state-wide as virus numbers soar

Face masks mandatory state-wide as virus numbers soar

Coronavirus
GET TESTED: Daniel Andrews said people who were sick should get tested, and quickly.

GET TESTED: Daniel Andrews said people who were sick should get tested, and quickly.

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Get tested and don't go back to work, strong message from Premier.

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UPDATE THURSDAY: Victoria has recorded an alarming new high, with 723 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in the past 24 hours.

Sadly, there were a further 13 deaths, taking the total death toll to 105.

Premier Daniel Andrews made the grim announcement at a press conference on Thursday morning and said there would be further restrictions in regional Victoria.

"Most of today's cases are in metro areas. But we have seen a significant jump in regional communities. It's vital we stop this virus further seeping into regional Victoria," Mr Andrews said.

"That means from Sunday 2 August at 11:59pm, a face covering will be mandatory whenever you leave home - and wherever you live."

"I understand this will a big step for some. But by covering your face, you're protecting your community, and protecting those extra freedoms your community enjoys," Mr Andrews said.

"By covering your face, you're keeping local businesses open, and keeping local people in work."

From 11.59pm tonight there will be no visitors allowed to people's homes in the Colac Otway, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains and Borough of Queenscliff council areas.

"By not seeing your mate, you might be saving their life. By not hugging your mum, you might be keeping her alive. And by covering your face, you're contributing to the safety of every single Victorian. Day by day, decision by decision - we can get on top of this. But we need your help."

Mr Andrews thanked Victorians who were doing the right thing.

"This is one of the biggest challenges our state has faced. And yet, really, we're all being asked to make the smallest of sacrifices," he said.

"Reflecting today's numbers, we'll continue to look at workplaces - how and what and where more can be done to protect workers, their families and their communities."

WEDNESDAY:

There are an additional 295 positive cases of COVID-19 in Victoria and 196 current active cases in the state's regional communities.

On Wednesday, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews announced the new figures which were a big fall from the 532 recorded on Monday.

Mr Andrews said despite that there were still numbers of people who had symptoms that were continuing to go to work.

"If you are sick you must get tested, you must get tested quickly. You cannot go to work," he said.

Test results in locations, including Colac, Castlemaine and meat processing plants, had raised concerns for small communities in regional Victoria.

Despite the number of cases linked to Australian Lamb Colac outbreak exceeding 50 active cases since July 20, the government had rejected calls to implement stage three restrictions across the Colac Otway Shire.

"What we know for Colac is that the vast majority of those cases are related to (the ALC) outbreak," Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said on Wednesday.

"We do need to keep an eye on those other cases in Colac that may not be able to be linked to that outbreak - that's a consideration for Colac as it is for all of regional Victoria.

"(But) Colac's (cases) are overwhelmingly related to an outbreak that has had broad testing across the workforce."

As the lockdown of the greater Melbourne area and the Mitchell Shire continues, recent positive test results indicate other parts of the state need to be alert.

The latest figures indicated that there were 196 current positive cases in regional Victoria, however figures from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) show the number of active cases in most local government areas were fewer than two.

As of July 28 there were 89 cases linked to Bertocchi Smallgoods in Thomastown, 76 cases to JBS in Brooklyn, 57 to Australian Lamb Company in Colac and 10 cases have been linked to Don KR Castlemaine.

"If we were to continue to see outbreaks, people attending work quite obviously when they shouldn't be, then every option comes on the table," Mr Andrews said on Tuesday.

"That's not the position at the moment."

He said abattoirs and meat processing plants were not the only high-risk sites.

"We shouldn't single them out to the exclusion of others. t's not just cool stores, meatworks, abattoirs, whatever you want to call them, there are lots of different sites, including aged care, warehouses and distribution centres," he said.

Mr Andrews said WorkSafe staff had done 200 inspections in the last week, passing on the message that employers also had a role to play.

"Business owners have a really big stake in this also, we really have to keep anyone who has symptoms away from work," he said.

"Businesses, where there were infection outbreaks, would be subject to deep cleaning, involving thousands of public health team workers. It's got to be enterprise by enterprise, workplace by workplace, and I am confident they are stepping up to do that work."

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