News State Victoria News Victoria records eight deaths and 627 new coronavirus cases

Victoria records eight deaths and 627 new coronavirus cases

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Victoria has recorded eight deaths and 627 new coronavirus cases on Friday.

The tally is the second worst of the pandemic following the 723 and 13 deaths recorded on Thursday.

The deaths take the state toll to 112 and the national figure to 197.

The fatalities include the death of a man in his 50s from the regional Victorian town of Portland, in the state’s west. It was confirmed by authorities on Thursday night.

The deaths include another man his 50s, two men in their 70s, three men in their 80s and one woman in her 70s. Four are linked to aged care.

Victorians have been warned to expect further deaths in the aged-care sector, where at least 77 aged-care facilities have reported coronavirus outbreaks, with at least 13 of those having more than 20 cases.

The total number of active cases connected to aged care is 928.

Elsewhere, a doctor in his 30s was placed in intensive care on Thursday night with coronavirus.

There are 349 Victorians in hospital, 37 in intensive care.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews held crisis talks on Thursday night to discuss the introduction of tougher new restrictions in Melbourne.

“These numbers are still far too high. We could not open up with these numbers. We could not open up with significantly lower numbers,” Mr Andrews said.

“The data will tell us what, if any, next steps will be.

“We face a very significant challenge at the moment. Today’s not the day for announcements … let’s do that detailed analysis.

“Today’s not the day to speculate about what those measures may be. Today’s the day to acknowledge that work is going on

“We’ve stopped it from getting completely out of control but haven’t been able to suppress it sufficiently.

“I might add to that, in my discussion with the Prime Minister last night, there is a complete acknowledgement that there can be no economic recovery until we deal with this public health challenge.

“It is incredibly difficult, in fact it’s almost impossible for us to see businesses recover and survive, unless and until we get these numbers down.”

A stage-four lockdown, which would mandate the closure of all businesses except for essential services such as supermarkets, pharmacies, petrol stations and healthcare, is being discussed as one option.

The restrictions would be similar to those imposed in New Zealand in the early days of the pandemic.

Mr Andrews said 130 people not at home when door-knocked – around a quarter of the 500 who were visited by public health workers and army personnel.

More than 100 have been referred to Victoria Police over potentially breaking self-isolation rules.

Mr Andrews said there was no excuse for people who have been tested not to be isolating.

“It is simply unacceptable for you to have this virus and not be at home, if you’re out doing other things.

“There may be a handful who are out, getting some fresh air – that does not explain these numbers, these numbers go well and truly beyond anything like that.

“And all that will do is spread the virus.”

The state’s chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton noted the relative success in controlling the effective rate of the virus’ reproduction rate, which “was at 1.75, probably closer to 2… It’s now down to one.”

Professor Sutton was asked to expand on his previous comments that there is no evidence a stage-four or New Zealand-style lockdown will work here.

“That’s what we’re exploring now. Obviously, a step up in restrictions is a really significant measure but we are wanting it to be informed by evidence to the fullest extent possible, against that point of being proportionate,” Professor Sutton said.

“There are really significant consequences for what you do, in terms of increased restrictions. It has to be focused on what the data tells us about where transmission might be occurring. It may be the case that an intervention in a certain area will make a difference.

“It may also be the case that we look at restrictions in an area that are not a driver of transmission and that would be an unfortunate impost and unfortunate consequences for every who might be involved there.”

The latest figures come amid reports that 12 construction workers on casual contracts at the Premier Apartments construction site in Melbourne’s CBD in Spencer Street have tested positive to coronavirus.

The Multiplex construction site has been shut down.

Mr Morrison has already indicated tougher restrictions are likely for the state which has been in the eye of the coronavirus storm.

All Victorians will be compelled to wear face masks from Sunday.