Enforced Masks Remain after Melbourne Lockdown

Posted by Tiffanie Turnbull AUGUST 22 2020 - 11:49AM on 22nd Aug 2020

Enforced Masks Remain after Melbourne Lockdown

Thirteen new COVID deaths in Victoria take the national toll to 485 and the state's to 398.

Enforced face masks will remain part of life in Melbourne for some time after COVID-19 lockdown restrictions ease.

Health authorities on Saturday confirmed 13 more coronavirus deaths and 182 new cases across Victoria.

"Masks will need to be part and parcel of our lives for some time after stage four (restrictions)," Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said.

The number of new daily infections dipped below 200 for the first time in more than five weeks on Friday, and again on Saturday.

Mr Sutton said the downward trend is promising, but restrictions won't be lifted in full until community transmission is eradicated in the state.

"If we've got no community transmission whatsoever, then I'm not going to be recommending masks beyond that... if we can get there.," he said.

"There are other levels that we can get to where maybe we don't require masks in all settings at all times, in the way that it's recommended at the moment."

The figures released on Saturday take the national toll to 485 and the state death count to 398.

Among the 13 deaths recorded were a man in his 50s, a woman in her 70s, three women and two men in their 80s, three women and two men in their 90s, and a woman in her 100s.

All but three of the deaths were linked to aged care outbreaks.

There are more than 1600 active cases across 129 aged care sites. The 10 most infected facilities have between 107 and 209 cases each, according to government data.

More than 600 Victorians remained in hospital on Saturday, with 22 of the 36 people in intensive care requiring ventilation.

Tough lockdown restrictions including a curfew remain in place across Melbourne until at least September 13.

It comes as the state's inquiry into the hotel quarantine scheme on Friday heard from a security supervisor that he "had to keep an eye on" a couple of guards to ensure they didn't leave their posts, fall asleep or spend too much time on their phones.

He had assumed they were fired, but later discovered they had been moved to a different hotel.

The supervisor, who was subcontracted by Wilson Security, said he was concerned by the amount of "subcontracting on top of subcontracting".

Australian Associated Press