COVID-19 update – State of Emergency extended

  • State of Emergency extended
  • Mandating the use of face coverings
  • Visiting hospitals and care facilities

Today I approved the extension of the State of Emergency for Victoria in order to protect the community. This decision is based on the advice of the Chief Health Officer, and in consultation with the Minister for Police and Emergency Services and the Emergency Management Commissioner, that there continues to be a serious risk to public health posed by coronavirus (COVID-19).

The State of Emergency will be extended until 11.59pm on 16 August 2020, which allows us to continue to enforce physical distancing and isolation requirements, as well as other directions from the Chief Health Officer.

In order to address all of these issues and further limit the spread of the virus we are now mandating that if you live in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire, whenever you leave the house for one of the four reasons you must wear a face covering, if you are 12 years and over.

Just like remembering to take your keys when you leave the house, you need to remember to take your face covering – to keep you and other Victorians safe. This will be critical to reducing and limiting the spread of the virus.

We will give people time to organise to make or purchase a face covering so this won’t be enforced until after 11.59pm on Wednesday 22 July, although before this time you are still advised to wear a face covering.

Over the last week or so we have seen a continuing upward trend in cases in some types of workplaces, including those where there are groups of people working closely together, in aged care facilities and in health care settings.
Given the risks of transmission in these sensitive settings and to reduce the risk of spread between these facilities and the community, visitation will be restricted to those defined as carers only, with a limit of one visit per day for one hour for some categories of carers.

We know these changes will be very challenging but it important that we keep patients, staff and residents safe.

We will work closely with hospitals and care providers in the next few days to ensure these changes are made in a careful and sensitive way reflecting the specific needs of patients and residents. This includes continuing to provide exemptions for certain care situations such as end of life care.

We know this will be difficult for Victorian families, but ultimately this is about keeping the people we love safe.

Thank you to everyone who has been following the rules. This isn’t over. And until there is a vaccine or a drug or a cure, there is no such thing as “normal”. Now more than ever, we need Victorians to play their part.

Lives are counting on it.