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'We Have To Prepare For The Worst': $1.3 Billion To Fund Intensive Care Beds In Just One State

The Victorian Premier has announced the state government will be injecting another $1.3 billion to fund intensive care beds amid fears there won't be enough if the virus "gets away from us".

"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," Daniel Andrews said while providing Victorian residents with a coronavirus update this morning.

"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."

Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said the majority of the money will be spent on creating spaces for Intensive care beds at the Alfred, Monash and Austin hospitals in Melbourne.

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"This is worst case scenario planning," she said during the media conference this morning.

The other bulk of the funds will go toward protective equipment such as thousands of masks and gowns to keep healthcare workers safe.

One million face masks arrived in Victoria last week and the state is expecting another million to arrive this week.

Mikakos said this announcement marks an occasion where the entire Victorian health system -- both private and public -- is working together to fight Covid-19.

"[This] effectively brings 9,000 beds from Victoria's private hospitals into our system as well as, of course, they're intensive care beds," she said.

Health authorities and the state government are currently exploring "all options" including potentially using the Australian Defence Force to fly some of the equipment in to Victoria.

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"We will take every opportunity to make sure that Victoria is well prepared," she added.

"This is a massive scaling up of Victoria's hospital system, to make sure we are ready for the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. We certainly hope we never need to use this capacity."

Andrews confirmed he doesn't rule out turning a huge indoor space like the Melbourne Convention Centre into a dedicated intensive care centre.

The next stage of Victoria's coronavirus plan would likely be running the public transport system on a weekend schedule at all times.

There have been 51 new confirmed cases of coronavirus in Victoria overnight, taking the state's total to 968.

Contact the author: elyons@networkten.com.au