National News

Vic regional rules tighten on horror day

Victoria is "essentially under stage four" restrictions as masks become compulsory everywhere amid growing aged care outbreaks and another horror day of cases and deaths.

The state's new cases skyrocketed on Thursday to 723, more than double Wednesday's figure, and there have been 13 more deaths, 10 of which are linked to nursing homes.

The latest case and death numbers are national highs, while there are 877 active cases relating to aged care facilities.

Of the major clusters, 94 cases are now linked to Estia Aged Care Facility in Ardeer and 111 cases are connected to St Basil's Homes for the Aged in Fawkner.

Ninety cases are linked to Epping Gardens Aged Care in Epping and 81 infections are associated with Kirkbrae Presbyterian Homes in Kilsyth.

Premier Daniel Andrews said Thursday's alarming numbers were driven largely by the outbreaks in aged care facilities.

"There are a number of positive cases in aged care and therefore they are being reflected in these numbers," he said.

"The other issue around targeted testing, where there's been significant outbreaks, the more outbreaks you have, the more testing you do, and you will find cases."

"There's not 700-plus community transmission cases," he said.

Mr Andrews said the compulsory mask directive first issued to residents of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire would extend to all regional Victoria from Monday.

The state government will also ban residents of the Colac-Otway, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains and the Borough of Queenscliff local government areas from receiving visitors at home from Friday.

"It's inconvenient, it's challenging, but it's essentially stage four for Melbourne and it's something we can do in regional Victoria without causing significant economic cost but get a really significant public health benefit," Mr Andrews told reporters on Thursday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he supported the new measures because the case numbers in the "Victorian wave" were very concerning.

"We have now been in this lockdown for some weeks and we are not getting the results we would hope for. And as a result the further measures that are taken are certainly necessary," Mr Morrison said.

"They will come at an impact to the economy - we understand that, but equally, not containing these outbreaks will have that effect also.

"And so it's important that we continue to work together to get on top of this and to take whatever actions are necessary."

The prime minister also said healthcare staff working at any of Victoria's virus-riddled nursing homes must wear personal protective equipment or the facilities will be marked down on their accreditation.

Venues such as pubs and cafes in Greater Geelong and the other five local government areas are allowed to remain open amid the latest restrictions.

But data shows family and friends visiting households have driven up infection rates.

"The large part of (transmission) is of course in workplaces," Mr Andrews said.

"But some of the transmission is in households and that makes sense when you think about it.

"People are not necessarily taking the distance in their family time ... you let your guard down."

Regional Victoria has 255 active cases, with 159 in six local areas around Geelong.

Anyone in Victoria who has had a positive coronavirus test is having a knock on the door from Australian Defence Force personnel or public health officials.

Mr Andrews said several people were not home when door-knocked and some had left to go to work.

"If you are a positive case you need to be at home and you need to be isolating," he said.

Mr Andrews said the latest Victoria fatalities were three men and three women in their 70s, three men and two women in their 80s, and two men in their 90s.

The deaths take the state toll to 105 and the national figure to 189.

© AAP 2020