'All Our Schools Will Be Closed': Daniel Andrews Gives Victorians A Blunt Coronavirus Assessment
The Victorian Premier has warned "the time will come" for the state to take "extreme measures" in the wake of the spreading coronavirus.
Daniel Andrews conceded that Victoria will reach a phase of transmission of Covid-19 between Victorians unrelated to overseas travel and warned "We will need to ask Victorians to do things that we have never asked them to do before".
The Premier held a media conference at the Royal Melbourne Hospital on Tuesday to provide an update to the Victorian public on how the state government is dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.
"Not to alarm anybody, but to simply prepare people for what the experts tell us is not an 'if or if not', simply a matter of 'when'," he said.
There have been more than 100 confirmed coronavirus cases in Australia as of Tuesday. Eighteen of those have been in Victoria.
None of the Victorian cases have been the result of community transmission, but Andrews said this will change.
"We have been told by the experts that we are going to reach a phase where there will be such significant transmission of this virus between Victorians unrelated to overseas travel... that we will need to take extreme measures," he said.
Andrews said it is inevitable all schools in Victoria will eventually be closed and entire work sectors will be required to work from home.
The extreme and "challenging" measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 is aimed to stop vulnerable members of society contracting the virus as well as preserving the health system so it can continue to function for other time critical patients.
"(Patients that are) delivering a baby, or having a heart attack, or need urgent cancer surgery, or have just had a stroke ... we have to preserve capacity so that we can care for those Victorians as well," Andrews said.
Sporting and cultural events are also at serious risk of being cancelled in Victoria.
"It is simply unacceptable to allow people in those numbers, in that scale, that close together, all you are doing in promoting the spread of the virus," Andrews said.
Despite the extreme nature of Andrews' warning, the Premier stressed these measures are not being implemented immediately.
"We are not cancelling the Grand Prix next week, or footy the week after, we're not closing any schools apart from Carey (Baptist Grammar School), now is not the time for these things," he said.
"But that time will come, and it is appropriate, just like fire, to be frank with people."