Coles has finally reopened its delivery and click and collect services to all customers after being forced halt the services due to increased demand for products during coronavirus panic buying.
Seven new cases of COVID-19 have been identified across the state overnight.
The new cases bring the Victorian total to 1336. It follows yesterday’s increase of just one.
There are currently 119 active cases.
Health minister Jenny Mikakos said 138 cases may indicate community transmission.
There are 28 people in hospital, including 12 in intensive care, one more than yesterday.
Victoria has increased its level of testing after expanding the testing criteria, with 88,000 people now tested.
SUPERMARKET DELIVERY RETURNS
Both the click and collect and home delivery services will be available to all customers from tomorrow. It comes as the delivery service option was stripped from everyday customers and only made available to vulnerable shoppers through the Coles Online Priority Service.
Vulnerable customers will continue to remain a priority for the supermarket giant.
DRUNK COMMUTER AMONG THOSE FINED FOR FLOUTING RULES
Police issued a total of 89 fines over the past 24 hours.
One was given to a drunk person who lived in Geelong but was on the train in Frankston.
Police also fined the owner of a Frankston massage parlour that was operating non-essential services.
Two employees inside the parlour were also fined.
Police also busted five people driving in the same car in Williamstown.
ELECTIVE SURGERIES WILL RESUME THIS WEEK
Elective surgeries will resume within days, providing relief for Australians in pain who have been left in limbo by the suspension of operations.
The National Cabinet are set to meet on Tuesday to lock in a plan to restart elective surgeries this week, with the priority to be low-risk, high-benefit procedures, including IVF treatment.
All category two and three procedures — supposed to be completed within 90 days and within a year — have been banned since March 26 to free up hospital beds for what was expected to be an influx of coronavirus patients.
About 50,000 Victorians had already been on the waiting list, and despite a state government blitz to fast-track 7000 operations, the suspension inevitably caused further blowouts and delays for patients in need.
As many as 3000 Victorians have had cataract procedures deferred.
But as the number of new coronavirus cases dries up, the National Cabinet is believed to be ready to restart elective surgeries.
About 58 million protective face masks were secured over the weekend, bolstering staff equipment supplies needed to ensure surgeries could go ahead safely in hospitals.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth said it would be a “very cautious and safe but ultimately consumer and patient-focused reintroduction”.
“We recognise there are Australians out there who are in pain, have disability, can’t be in the workforce, need to take very potent pain medications, that need their elective surgery done,” he said.
“This is not something we are going to sit on for many weeks.”
Australian Medical Association president Dr Tony Bartone recommended a gradual restart of category two procedures, with category three procedures to be considered after that.
“Many elective surgeries are for health conditions that will only worsen over time,” he said.
“Restarting some elective surgery in a responsible way also ensures that our facilities do not lay idle, and reduces patient wait times.”
The move to ease the ban has also been backed by the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.
RACS president Dr Tony Sparnon advised beginning with day procedures because patients requiring post-operative care would “put pressure on high-dependency and intensive care units” also needed for coronavirus patients.
“The resumption of elective surgery should be to help patients who are suffering or unable to function as normal,” he said.
Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the Health Department had been “actively planning” how and when to reintroduce elective surgeries “when it is safe to do so”.
“National Cabinet is considering when more elective surgery can resume,” she said.
KEEPING VULNERABLE FAMILIES SAFE DURING LOCKDOWN
Operation Ribbon will see the state’s 31 family violence units lead a targeted approach to keep vulnerable families safe from harm while lockdown laws are in place.
The move was announced today by Police Minister Lisa Neville and Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton, who said they would be reaching out to known victims and checking on high-risk perpetrators.
“We know that family violence remains a heightened risk during this period of self isolation, and that’s why this operation will be so critical,” Ms Neville said.
“We have seen declines in other crimes during this period but family violence is not going to reduce during this period.
“This is a crime that is more likely to increase.
“For those women and children particularly out there who are concerned… don’t hesitate (to contact police).
“Ring triple-0, reach out to a friend. But also know through this operation Victoria Police will be reaching out to you.”
An additional $40m has also been allocated to help victims of domestic and family violence through crisis accommodation and other supports.
“This operation is absolutely all about how Victoria Police can better support women and children and victims of family violence during a really high risk period,” Ms Neville said.
“They’re there to help those victims and they’re there to hold perpetrators to account.”
NSW STUDENTS HEAD BACK TO SCHOOL
Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed face-to-face schooling would gradually resume from May 11 – week three of term two.
Schools will also have the capacity to conduct temperature checks on children and additional cleaning will be undertaken at school grounds.
“This is really to ensure not only our school community safe but everybody feels safe within them whether you’re a parent, student or teacher,” she said.
VIRGIN GOES INTO VOLUNTARY ADMINISTRATION
Virgin Australia informed the share market this morning that Deloitte had been appointed as administrators after a board meeting late yesterday.
Administrator Vaughan Strawbridge said: “Our intention is to undertake a process to restructure and refinance the business and bring it out of administration as soon as possible.”
He said there had already been several expressions of interest from parties wanting to take over the businesses.
Virgin chief executive Paul Scurrah said the decision was “about securing the future of the Virgin Australia Group and emerging on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis”.
NO LIGHT AT END OF TUNNEL
Knowing her hip replacement surgery would soon be going ahead was the “light at the end of the tunnel” for Vikki Poulter.
The 33-year-old has been on a public waiting list for a double hip replacement for more than two years and things were finally looking up after she underwent the first operation — to replace her left hip — in February.
But the second one, on her right side, now hangs in the balance as the government decides when non-urgent elective surgeries can resume.
“Not having a date — I’m used to that,” she said.
“It’s just knowing that the surgery was going to be happening was the light at the end of the tunnel.
“I’m in this situation now where, do I tell my work I can work from home? But then who knows when I will be having surgery again.”
Ms Poulter, who uses crutches to walk after being diagnosed with hip dysplasia in 2017, said she felt “forgotten” now that elective procedures were on hold.
“It’s a waiting game with no indication of when the waiting game is even going to end,” she said. “That’s what’s been the hardest.”
Ann Wilkinson, 60, has been struggling to see for months due to a cataract in her left eye.
She was scheduled to have surgery two weeks from today to correct her vision but has been told it is unlikely to go ahead.
“It’s not life-threatening (but) I know my eye is deteriorating every day,” she said. “It’s like trying to look through a dirty window.”
Ms Wilkinson is in constant pain from headaches and eye strain.
“I was quite disappointed and to me — it may not be an emergency for everybody — to me (being able to see) it’s an essential service.”
SOCIAL GATHERING RESTRICTIONS COULD LIFT IN WEEKS
Daniel Andrews has said restrictions on recreational activities and limitations on social gatherings could be scaled back on May 11.
The Premier said that if Victoria’s rate of new coronavirus cases remains stable over the coming weeks, the government will look to easing off restrictions in “low risk” activities.
Speaking to Rafael Epstein on ABC’s Drive on Monday, Mr Andrews said he couldn’t confirm that restrictions will be loosened yet because he doesn’t want to make “promises he can’t keep”.
Mr Andrews added that restrictions on restaurants and bars will remain in place.
“What I will say is if we continue to see a high degree of compliance, people doing the right thing, the numbers remaining stable and low then I think some of the social restrictions [could be eased],” Mr Andrews said.
“The recreational sporting activities we said can’t happen, some of the reasons for leaving your home and some of the limitations around the number of people there’s allowed to be at any one time.
He added: “They’re probably the lowest risk and that’s what you’ve got to be guided by. The last thing we want to do is give back all the progress we’ve made.”
– Sharon McGowan
NEW NUMBERS SHOW WHY WE’RE BEATING CORONAVIRUS
Australians have embraced social distancing with almost all — 98 per cent — saying they have changed the way they interact with others, an Australian Bureau of Statistics household survey says.
The survey found nine in 10 were avoiding public spaces and gatherings, while one in seven of the 1000 households surveyed reported self-isolating and taking further steps, including wearing a face mask as a precaution.
The survey was carried out by the ABS in the first week of this month.
It is the first survey in a new series designed to provide an overview of how households are responding to the changing social and economic environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While it highlighted people’s commitment to flattening the infection curve, the survey also revealed the economic hit the crisis was having.
Just under a quarter of people said they were working fewer hours a week — a further breakdown of that cohort showed 60 per cent were working less because of a reduction of hours offered and 15 per cent said they had been stood down by their employer.
“The survey found that around 3 per cent of people who had a job in early March no longer had one by early April,” Michelle Marquardt, ABS program manager for household surveys, said.
Sixty-three per cent of surveyed households had a job — but the ABS said the survey was not comparable to the official workforce measure.
In a sign the crisis was affecting businesses in different ways, 12 per cent of people said they were actually working longer hours than they had a month earlier.