COVID-19 Health Alert

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new virus that can cause an infection in people, including a severe respiratory illness.
People of all ages have been diagnosed with COVID-19, but those known to be?most at risk of severe illness are elderly people and those with pre-existing medical conditions.
The most common coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms reported are:

  • Fever
  • Respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue

Visit DHHS – About Coronavirus for more information about the virus.
Coronavirus hotline – 1800 675 398
If you suspect you may have the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) call the dedicated hotline – 1800 675 398 – open 24 hours, 7 days.
Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.


DHHS information, updates and advice about the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

What’s new?

Developments in the outbreak

  • As of 26 March 2020, Victoria has 520 total confirmed cases, including three people in intensive care and three people who have died. 149 people have recovered.
  • Up-to-date epidemiological data is now available on our website.
  • From midnight 25 March, category three surgeries will not take place in public hospitals in Victoria until further notice.
  • Physical (social) distancing measures should be consistently applied, including clinical settings. The rule of 1 person for every 4 square metres must be maintained to ensure a safe physical distance.

New Orders for Pharmacists and Prescription medications

  • Today, two public health emergency orders came into effect and can be found here: http://www.gazette.vic.gov.au/gazette/Gazettes2020/GG2020S158.pdf
    • Pharmacists can supply prescription medications without a prescription for one month in emergency circumstances except for Schedule 8 medicines.
    • Doctors prescribing Schedule 8 medicines for non-drug dependent patients will not be required to apply for a Schedule 8 treatment permit for the next six months, but instead check SafeScript.
    • Practitioners will need to apply for Schedule 8 treatment permits for drug dependent patients, including opioid replacement therapy.
  • During the pandemic health practitioners should take all reasonable steps to access SafeScript, as it is a very effective in providing up-to-date information about a patient’s prescribing and dispensing history.

Current directions arising from the declared state of emergency

  • A direction for non-essential activity (No 2) was signed on 26 March 2020. This direction prohibits the operation of non-essential businesses and undertakings to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). These directions update the non-essential activity direction from 25 March.
  • prohibited gatherings directions was signed on 25 March 2020. This direction replaces the direction given on 22 March, adding two new categories, namely social sports gatherings and weddings and funerals.
  • An isolation (diagnosis) direction was signed on 25 March 2020. This direction requires anyone diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) to isolate at home or another suitable location to slow the spread of the disease.
  • A direction for hospital visitors was signed on 23 March 2020. This direction prohibits non-essential visits to hospitals.
  • This follows directions for aged careairport arrivals and cruise ships docking that were signed on 21 March 2020. The Aged Care Directions make provision for restricted access to residential aged care facilities to limit the spread of COVID-19 within a particularly vulnerable population.

Key messages

Supporting healthcare workers

  • It’s everyone’s responsibility to support essential healthcare workers – such as doctors and nurses – to stay at work during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
  • Healthcare workers may need extra help to ensure their children have care so they can work during this period.
  • Where possible, partners of essential healthcare workers – who are not healthcare workers themselves – should support them to continue working by taking care of children.
  • Older people – such as grandparents – and other at-risk groups should not be engaged as carers to reduce their risk of infection.
  • Victoria will expand its dedicated contact tracing services. From 26 March messages to close contacts will be sent via a new platform called Whispr, which will require the person to respond back to the contact tracing team confirming they are self-isolating at home.
  • Any healthcare or residential aged care worker with a fever or respiratory symptoms should be tested.
  • The government is encouraging the community to limit their day-to-day activities outside their homes.
  • Additional personal protective equipment and testing equipment are due to arrive in the coming weeks.