COAG MEETING SYDNEY
More than 7000 Victorians will be fast-tracked for elective surgery to pre-empt the expected peak of coronavirus as the number of cases in the state jumped by eight overnight.
The cases, of six men and two women, aged from teenagers to their 60s, were almost all returning travellers.
It takes the number of Victorian cases to 57, Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said on Sunday. All cases are recovering at home in isolation.
One is a student - a known contact of a teacher from Carey Baptist Grammar School. The student was not at school while infectious.
The school will remain closed until the holidays, and as a precaution, 12 classmates will home-isolate.
It came as the state government announced a $100 million package to boost the health system's capacity to prepare for the pandemic's peak.
New hospital beds will be opened to manage coronavirus cases and more than 7000 Victorians will be fast-tracked for elective surgery.
More than $60 million will be made available for public and private hospitals to do extra surgeries, such as thyroid, prostate, hernia or gynaecological surgeries, so they can be done before the predicted peak.
Emergency surgeries will continue to be performed, but it's likely procedures in less urgent cases will be delayed, the government says.
Premier Daniel Andrews said every sector of the economy will be affected.
"We should not underestimate the change we face," he said.
Mr Andrews said the advice of health experts is not to close schools at this stage but he foreshadowed that significant disruption is likely.
Meanwhile, students at Geelong Grammar School's four campuses will finish their first term early this week amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus.
Jewish school Yeshivah - Beth Rivkah College also confirmed on Sunday it would extend its closure until March 23, after those in contact with a teacher with coronavirus started showing symptoms of the infection.
Loreto Mandeville Hall at Toorak will also reportedly close on Monday as a parent had tested positive for the virus and a secondary student was awaiting results.
While only one confirmed case of the virus may have been acquired through community transmission, Dr Sutton said more cases are expected and he urged the public to take steps to minimise the risk of its spread.
For the virus to spread, extended close personal contact is most likely required. Close personal contact means at least 15 minutes face-to-face or more than two hours in the same room.
Victoria's Supreme Court and County Court have also taken the unprecedented step of suspending all new jury trials indefinitely amid the spread of the illness.
Major events meant to be held in Victoria have also been cancelled to help halt the spread of the illness, including this weekend's Grand Prix and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Museums, art galleries and the state library are also expected to close from Monday, while footy fans won't be able to attend the AFL season opener at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday, with all games to be played without spectators for the foreseeable future.
The federal government has banned gatherings of more than 500 people starting from Monday.