Coronavirus: Victoria records 217 new cases as three more people die

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·News Reporter
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Three more Victorians have died from coronavirus with the state recording 217 more cases.

Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Saturday a man and woman, both in their 80s, died from COVID-19.

Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services later confirmed a third death – a woman in her 90s.

“If there are further details, and it is appropriate to go through those at a later date, then of course we will but we take this opportunity to send our best wishes our condolences, our thoughts and prayers to the families of those... Victorians,” Mr Andrews said.

“This will be a particularly sad and challenging time for them.”

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to the media during a coronavirus press conference in Melbourne, Australia.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said two more Victorians had died from COVID-19. A third fatality was confirmed by the Department of Health and Human Services. Source: Getty Images

The latest deaths take the state’s coronavirus toll to 35.

Saturday’s high number of new cases comes after Victoria reported 428 new cases on Friday.

Three nursing homes with coronavirus cases

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said some of Victoria’s reported cases had been linked to three nursing homes, including one in Ballarat and another in Bendigo.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the third was a Bupa facility in Edithvale.

“As I said we continue to be concerned about the number of our rates that we have across aged care facilities in Victoria, they have been to date concentrated in Melbourne, but now having facilities in regional communities as well is concerning, and just highlights the fact that all Victorians need to be vigilant about this highly contagious virus,” Professor Sutton said.

“At the present time, there is a lot of work and dialogue happening with the Commonwealth and with the sector around these specific issues.”

Tower lockdown comes to an end

Mr Andrews said the tower at 33 Alfred Street in North Melbourne, which had been in “hard lockdown” for two weeks, will have its lockdown ended on Saturday at 11.59pm (local time).

However, he told reporters not all residents would be permitted to leave the building.

“I want to be really clear with residents and with the broader community that that lockdown doesn't end for every single resident,” Mr Andrews said.

“There are a number of people, maybe as many as one-third of those residents, who are either those contacts of somebody who has tested positive... while that lockdown has been in place, so they still have days where they need to be in their residence and nowhere else.”

Cleaning takes place inside the Alfred Street Public Housing Complex in North Melbourne.
A cleaner works inside the Alfred Street Public Housing Complex in North Melbourne on Friday. Source: Getty Images

The premier added it was “very challenging” for those stuck inside, but the government would continue to provide groceries, perishable food and cooked meals along with mental health support and counselling.

“It's a massive team down there, doing their very, very best,” Mr Andrews said.

Stage-four restrictions

Despite murmurings of stage-four restrictions, Mr Andrews reinforced metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire remain under stage-three lockdown.

It means residents in these areas can only leave the home to provide care, for work and or education, exercise or to purchase essential items.

When asked what stage four could potentially look like, the premier said he was unwilling to “speculate”.

A man with a face covering is seen running through Carlton Gardens in Melbourne, Australia.
A man jogs through Carlton Gardens. Source: Getty Images

“If everybody wants to make it less likely rather than more likely that we have changes to the rules, if people want this lockdown to be over sooner rather than later, then thank you to everyone who is doing the right thing and they have to again appeal to those who aren't,” he said.

“Please make choices for you, for your community, for every single family across our state.

“It is a small number of people that are really just not following the rules at all, but each of us have to just exercise that good judgement, do the things you need to do, and only the things you need to do.”

Mr Andrews said changes to restrictions would be made based on daily case numbers.

People walk along St Kilda Beach to get their daily exercise in Melbourne, Australia.
Two people go for a stroll along St Kilda Beach. Source: Getty Images

When asked if there were “gaps” in stage three, due to large numbers of cases being reported daily, Mr Andrews said “it’s an important question”.

“There have been some minor changes, some advice around trying to exercise in your local community, the notion of day trips as we spoke about you say, that was principally so Victorian police could have total clarity about how to apply the rules, but it also serves to give people advice,” the premier said.

“We have seen some stuff on social media the last 24 hours or so.

“They have a very clear message to everything all Victorian, particularly some of those featured on social media, whether you are in Broadmeadows or Brighton, stay at home means stay-at-home and if walking your local streets is boring, well, being bored is much better than being in intensive care.”

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