Victoria’s tally keeps rising with the premier warning he may implement further measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus, as the police union called for a state of disaster to be declared.
The state’s confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 466 on Wednesday after 55 cases were confirmed overnight.
Four of the cases are health workers at Werribee Mercy Hospital in Melbourne’s outer west.
The hospital confirmed one emergency department worker tested positive to COVID-19 on Sunday.
Fellow staff members considered at risk of infection were isolated and tested, with three confirmed as also having the virus.
The national cabinet announced on Wednesday evening that coronavirus testing criteria will be extended to test all health workers with fever or acute respiratory infection.
Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton stressed anyone who may have come into contact with the healthcare workers will be informed and asked to enter quarantine, as with all confirmed cases.
That commitment came as the state government launched a new text messaging system to check on hundreds of close contacts of confirmed cases who are in isolation.
These announcements follow the implementation of stage two of the national shutdown.
The Police Association has called for a state of disaster to be declared, which would give its members greater powers during the coronavirus pandemic.
About 500 police officers are tasked with enforcing the closure of non-essential services in Victoria and the mandatory 14-day self-isolation for travellers.
Police have knocked on doors and video called individuals to confirm Victorians are self-isolating, but their association says that is not enough.
“If police are asked to control the movement of people in our community, those powers don’t presently exist in a state of emergency,” TPA secretary Wayne Gatt said.
“They could if delegated under a state of disaster.”
Individuals face fines of up to $25,000 and businesses could be forced to cough up $100,000 for breaching restrictions.
Premier Daniel Andrews warned Victorians restrictions will become more severe, as some states would have to ramp up measures faster than others.
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