Media release
22 March 2020

Sixty-seven new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) were confirmed yesterday – bringing the total number of cases in Victoria to 296. 

The new cases include 42 men and 25 women, with people aged from late teens to early eighties.

At the present time, there are three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria that may have been acquired through community transmission. Currently six people are recovering in hospital, and 70 people have recovered. More than 22,900 Victorians have been tested to date.

Of the total 296 cases, there have been 256 in metropolitan Melbourne and 25 in regional Victoria. A number of cases remain under investigation.

Multiple cases have occurred in the regional local government areas of Greater Geelong (8) Ballarat (3), Surf Coast (2), Warrnambool (2) and Macedon Ranges (2) and Latrobe, Yarriambiack, Gannawarra, Hepburn, Moorabool, Mitchell, Mildura and Greater Shepparton have all recorded one case.

The Department of Health and Human Services follows up and monitors all close contacts of confirmed cases and provides them with information and support. 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.

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

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. 

Extensive testing has shown that people who have passed through places where there was a confirmed case, known as casual contacts, 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.

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.

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 at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.

Media inquiries

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