National death toll rises by three, as Victoria brings in mandatory face mask rule

Victorian authorities have reported three more coronavirus deaths, as well as 363 new infections within the last 24 hours, and restrictions are set to tighten further.

Two men and a woman, all in their 90s, sadly passed away overnight. It brings the state’s death toll from the virus to 38, and the national death toll to 121.

It comes as Victorian battles to get a hand on community transmission, with the Premier announcing new restrictions to come into place this week.


From 11.59pm on Wednesday, everyone within the lock down areas of Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire will be required to wear a face mask or covering when outside their home.

At present, people within the lockdown areas are only allowed to leave the house for essential work, medical appointments, one hour of exercise, or supermarket shopping.

Children under 12-year-old will be exempt, as well as teachers when they’re teaching in the classroom.

Premier Daniel Andrews says there are a few exceptions to the new rules, but everyone should be using their common sense.

“Most of us wouldn’t leave home without our keys, we wouldn’t leave our home without our mobile phone. You won’t be able to leave home without your mask and then wear it where it is absolutely essential to stop the spread of this virus.

“Now, common sense, as I said, will be the rule here. If you’re out running, part of your daily exercise, then it may not be practical to wear the mask while you are running.

“But you should bring the mask with you and you should wear it before and after you have gone for your run.

“There’ll be some other environments, for instance, where you’re going into a bank, for instance, then you would need to take your mask off.

“If you worked at a call centre, then it may be very challenging for you to perform your duties wearing a mask. 

“Again, common sense is what should guide us, and that common commitment, that universal commitment if we all do things like this, we will stop the spread of this virus,” Premier Andrews said. 

Police will be out and about to enforce the new restrictions, with everyone warned that there’ll be fines of $200 if they don’t comply.

“I hope that not one single fine needs to be issued. That is my genuine hope. And I think that if people just use common sense.

“Masks or face coverings, a homemade – homemade face covering whether it be a bandanna, a scarf, a mask, no matter what grade that mask is at, is better than no face covering at all,” the Premier said.

People living within the Melbourne area or the Mitchell Shire are now being asked to think really hard about how often they’re leaving their homes and how necessary it is.

Premier Andrews says people should only be out in public if they absolutely have to be, warning that further restrictions could be brought in if people aren’t doing the right thing.

“If we can see high degrees of compliance, if we see people wearing masks, so all of us when we’re out and about for those four lawful reasons wearing masks, then that will mean it is less likely we have to move to things like only having exercise only doing that daily exercise, for instance, in your own local postcode.

“Or things like saying – well, you will – you can only go shopping within a certain radius or certain distance from your home. We don’t want to get to those steps, if we have to, we will, but the next step in our fight against this virus is for everybody to be wearing masks when they’re out for those four permitted reasons.

“And again, can I remind Victorians that the four reasons are not an invitation to leave your home. They are acceptable reasons that you can leave your home.

“But only when you need to, only when you really have no other option.

“Stay-at-home means just that – stay-at-home – and moderate your behaviour, spend much more time at home than you otherwise would.

“That should be your default setting and work your way backwards from then. Do I need to go shopping every single day?” Premier Andrews said.

Victoria’s state of emergency has also been extended through to August 16, with daily case numbers showing no signs of letting up just yet.