Premier announces extra $1.3b health spend, as Vic cases rise to 968

An extra $1.3 billion will be pumped into Victoria’s health system, after the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose by 51 overnight, to 968.

The number of community transmissions is now 39.

Premier Daniel Andrews has pumped an extra $1.3 billion into Victoria’s health system. Credit:AAP

Premier Daniel Andrews said the $1.3 billion was additional to the $500 million announced last week, "to make sure we have the critical care capacity, the beds, gown, masks, the ventilators, all the different equipment so we are able to treat many thousands of patients".

"We would hope and if we all work together, perhaps we won't see the need to be treating thousands of patients," Mr Andrews said.

"If this gets away from us, the $1.3 billion I'm announcing today, the $500 million we announced last week, that will be nowhere near enough," he warned.

"There will be nowhere near enough intensive care beds if this gets away from us. No country in the world can have enough intensive care beds if this virus really takes hold and people have not done the right thing."

About $1.2 billion of the new funding will be spent on 4000 new ICU beds, taking the state's total beds to 4500. Money will also be spent on new personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers, including gloves, gowns and masks.

Mr Andrews would also not rule out converting a big space, like the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, into a temporary ICU ward should that be necessary.

Eight fines had been handed out for breaching Victoria’s coronavirus gathering and social distancing rules, he said.

"That number may change overnight but that's my latest advice. The fines are steep. They are a very significant cost if you get caught and you will get caught if you are doing the wrong thing," he said.

"But ultimately no gathering. No party, no choice that you make is worth someone else's life. It just isn't.

"And if we all work together we can be successful or as successful as possible and avoid those terrible scenes that we see on our TVs every day in places like Italy, some parts of the US, France, Spain, we can – we have to do everything we can – we have to do everything we can to avoid that."

He said there was confusion about the rules but it was easy to be clear if people remembered to stay home, unless it is absolutely necessary not to be.

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