Victoria has recorded its first three deaths related to coronavirus (COVID-19).
All were men aged in their seventies. All died in Melbourne hospitals.
The deaths came as the state’s total number of cases increased to 520.
In Victoria, the total number of cases includes 300 men and 216 women. People are aged from pre-school age to their late eighties. Four cases are under investigation.
At the present time, there are nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria that may have been acquired through community transmission. Currently 14 people are in hospital, including three patients in intensive care. One hundred and forty-nine people have recovered. More than 26,900 Victorians have been tested to date.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said these are unprecedented times. The threat of coronavirus to public health is real and everyone must take social distancing seriously.
'Sadly, Victoria has recorded the first three deaths in Victoria related to coronavirus. Our thoughts are with their loved ones at this difficult time,' Professor Sutton said.
'We’re doing everything we can to save lives and slow the spread of this deadly virus, but we all have a role to play to protect those who are most vulnerable.
'I can’t be clearer; if you can stay at home, you must stay at home.'
The Department of Health and Human Services follows up and monitors all close contacts of confirmed cases and provides them with information and support. All close contacts must self-isolate for 14 days.
All people arriving from any international destination must also self-isolate for 14 days as per Commonwealth Government direction.
While most Victorians are voluntarily complying with requests to isolate, Police have strong powers to enforce the direction if it’s required. Under the State of Emergency people who don’t comply with a directive could receive a fine of up to $20,000. Companies face fines of up to $100,000.
'Everyone who’s unwell must isolate themselves and everyone who’s been told they’re in quarantine either as a returned traveller or close contact must do so,' Professor Sutton said.
'Social distancing will save lives.
'Everyone needs to comply with restrictions in place to keep yourself, your loved ones and the whole community safe. We urge everyone to stay 1.5 metres away from everyone else, wash your hands often with soap and water and cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow.'
The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has a hotline for public information on COVID-19 which is 1800 675 398. Large numbers of calls will result in some delays and we ask Victorians for their patience as we work to manage the volume. Further information is also available at
Reviewed 25 March 2020