Geelong cases double

A microscopic image of the coronavirus.

By Luke Voogt

Coronavirus cases have doubled to 21 in Geelong and four on the Surf Coast, according to the latest Department of Health and Human Services data.

The data, last updated at 8.44am today, showed an increase from 11 in greater Geelong and two in the Surf Coast the day before.

The rise comes as Victoria recorded its first three deaths with two men aged in their 70s, dying in Melbourne hospitals overnight on Wednesday.

Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton today announced a third death, another man in his 70s, which brought the Australian death toll to 12.

Professor Sutton again warned everyone to take social distancing seriously during a press conference today.

“This is the most important thing to get across,” he said.

“If you don’t have to be outside your home, stay at home.”

The department confirmed 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Victoria today, bringing the state total to 520

“The total number of cases includes 300 men and 216 women [and] four cases under investigation [with] people aged from pre-school age to late eighties,” the department said.

“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 [and] 149 have recovered. More than 26,900 Victorians have been tested to date.”

Of the total 520 cases, more than 50 occurred in regional Victoria, according to the department.

All close contacts of confirmed cases and people arriving from overseas must self-isolate, the department warned.

“While most Victorians are voluntarily complying with requests to isolate, police have strong powers to enforce the direction if it’s required.

“Under [Victoria’s] 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.”

“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.

The rise follows federal government introducing stage two restrictions this week aimed at limiting social gatherings to a maximum of 10.