Minister’s Statement

I rise to update the house on our continued measures to contain COVID-19. As I have said many times in this house, this is an evolving situation, but we will not hesitate to take the measures necessary to slow the spread of this virus. Last night the national cabinet, comprising the Prime Minister, our Premier and all first ministers, considered the latest advice of our health experts on what more can be done to flatten the curve and to keep Australians safe and healthy.

As a result of the decisions made at national cabinet, revised directions have been issued, banning all non-essential indoor mass gatherings of more than 100 people and all non-essential outdoor mass gatherings of more than 500 people, effective from 5.00 pm today. In order to protect our most vulnerable Victorians, the national cabinet also agreed to impose strict restrictions on people visiting aged-care facilities. This will mean allowing only short visits, with only two visitors each day, with exemptions on a case-by-case basis, including for palliative care.

This is the biggest public health challenge we have faced in our lifetime, and it will significantly impact on all of us. We know that these decisions are difficult and confronting for people, but they are necessary to fight the pandemic. It is imperative for all Victorians to comply with these new measures to protect the health of all Victorians. By making these hard choices now, we will save lives later. We need to do all we can to slow the spread, to push out the peak of the pandemic and to give our health system the best chance to cope with the challenges yet to come. If we look out for each other, we will get through this.