Media release
Thursday, 19 March 2020

Twenty-nine new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) were confirmed yesterday – bringing the total number of cases in Victoria to 150.

The new cases include 17 men and 12 women, with people aged from their early twenties to their early seventies. The Department of Health and Human Services is continuing to investigate all new cases.

At the present time, there are two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria that may have been acquired through community transmission. Currently seven people are recovering in hospital. More than 17,180 Victorians have been tested to date.  Twenty-eight people have recovered.

Of the total 150 cases in Victoria, the majority have been identified in and around metropolitan Melbourne, with five in regional Victoria. A number of cases remain under investigation.

The regional Victorian cases have occurred in the local government areas of Greater Geelong (3 cases), Latrobe Valley and Ballarat.

Close contacts of the confirmed cases are notified and monitored by the Department of Health and Human Services and any public exposure sites are contacted and provided with advice about the transmission risks and any cleaning that may be required. 

All close contacts must self-isolate for 14-days. All people arriving from any international destination must also self-isolate for 14 days as per Commonwealth Government direction.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said we will continue to see more cases of COVID-19 in Victoria.

"We are reviewing this rapidly evolving situation daily and continue to provide up-to-date information to the community. We are all focused on doing whatever is necessary to minimise the spread of infection and keep Victorians safe," Professor Sutton said.

“For the virus to spread, extended close personal contact is most likely required. Close personal contact is at least 15 minutes face-to-face or more than two hours in the same room.

"At the moment, we urge the public to be mindful and take steps to minimise the risk of COVID-19. Everyone has a role to play in protecting yourself and your family. Hands should be washed regularly with soap and water. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. If you are ill, stay at home."

Extensive testing has shown that people who have passed through places where there was a confirmed case  have an extremely low risk of transmission and are not currently recommended for testing. This will help to ensure our hospitals, assessment centres and general practitioners can prioritise testing for those most at risk.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has a hotline for public information on COVID-19 which is 1800 675 398. Large numbers of calls will result in some delays and we ask Victorians for their patience as we work to manage the volume.

Further information is also available from the Coronavirus page.

Media inquiries

Department of Health and Human Services Media Unit (03) 9096 8860 or press@dhhs.vic.gov.au