Minister’s Statement

Acting on advice from the chief health officer that there is a continued serious and potentially catastrophic risk to public health arising from COVID-19, I have extended the state of emergency until 11.59 pm on 21 June 2020. This extension will ensure the government can continue its enforcement of physical distancing, quarantine and isolation requirements, as well as other vital legal directions designed to flatten the curve of coronavirus to protect our health system and to save lives.

During May the government undertook a massive testing blitz, analysing more than 398 000 test results, and as of today we have had more than 521 000 tests that have been analysed since the start of the year. From 24 May the government started easing restrictions, thanks to the contribution of every Victorian who stayed home and who adhered to the directions and helped flatten the curve. The continued high testing rate in Victoria—the highest per capita testing rate in the nation and one of the highest in the world—taken together with our current low rate of community transmission, has provided the chief health officer and the government with the basis to slowly ease these restrictions.

But it is important to emphasise that the battle is far from over. As we settle into a new normal, the message remains to stay safe. That means continuing physical distancing, taking appropriate hygiene precautions, avoiding crowds, staying at home as much as is possible and getting tested if you have symptoms, no matter how mild they are. A vital part of this is continuing to work from home. This means that, if you have been working from home until now, you must continue to do so. This will limit the number of people moving around our state, gathering in offices and getting onto crowded public transport and help to protect those who do have to go to work, like our dedicated healthcare workers.

I take this opportunity to thank all Victorians who have been doing the right thing. We must keep at it to save lives. We must all continue to look after each other and continue to stay safe.