'We won't hesitate': Premier says stage four restrictions 'will be worth it'

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

While NSW Premier Gladys Berejkilian has hinted restrictions may be eased across the state as early as next month, her Victorian counterpart Daniel Andrews has other ideas.

The Victorian premier told reporters on Tuesday there would be no hesitation in ramping up restrictions to stage four amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"If and when there is a need to do more, we won't hesitate to do that,” Mr Andrews said.

The premier says while cases are stabilising across the state, it is no time for complacency and further restrictions are possible as numbers are expected to rise.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has indicated stage four restrictions could be imposed. Source: AAP

"We know there'll be pain, we know there will be disruption, but that is a price worth paying if it saves lives," he said.

"That's what the first three stages have done, the stability in these numbers hasn't happened by accident."

More testing means more cases, Mr Andrews says

Victoria increased testing for the coronavirus from Monday, with the premier saying it stood to reason that the more testing that was done, the more positive cases would be found.

"The point is, this will change rapidly, as it has every single day since we've been in this crisis," Mr Andrews said.

The premier also outlined the state's plan for school students when term two begins next Wednesday, telling them they must learn from home if they can.

About 4000 SIM cards, 1000 internet dongles and more than 6000 laptops and tablets will be released to students to help the effort.

But schools will remain open for students who cannot stay home.

"We've got about a million students enrolled in government and non-government schools," Mr Andrews said.

"We cannot have a million students moving around the Victorian community every day."

Year 12 students could take longer to matriculate with end of year exams pushed out to at least December, but aren't likely to require a further year of study.

Ms Berejkilian clarifies stance on easing restrictions

Ms Berejkilian responded to media reports that NSW was looking to ease restrictions in place as early as May 1.

She stressed such a move would rely solely on the health advice she was receiving.

“I don't want to raise expectations, but at the same time, there could be a chance, if the health experts deem it appropriate for us, to look at some relaxations,” she told reporters on Wednesday.

Social distancing will still need to be adhered, Ms Berejiklian stressed. Source: AAP

“If the advice in a couple of weeks is that there might be a couple of aspects that we can tweak to provide relief to our citizens, well then, we'll take that advice.”

However she stressed relaxing restrictions would result in more people contracting the virus and ultimately more people losing their lives.

“I need to be very up-front about that. Every time you relax a restriction, more people will get sick. More people will die,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“And it's a horrible situation to be in, but they're the choices and we need to be up-front about that.”

She also warned not to confuse restrictions with social distancing and that keeping 1.5 metres from one another would remain for the foreseeable future.

- with AAP

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