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Masks made mandatory in Melbourne as COVID-19 numbers grow

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Masks have been made mandatory in Victoria’s lockdown areas as the state’s struggle with high infection rates continues.

And Premier Dan Andrews has warned that we face Stage 4 restrictions if masks or face coverings aren’t worn.

Another 363 new cases were detected in Melbourne on Saturday, and three people died of the virus.

All three of the deceased were aged in their 90s.

In announcing those numbers, Mr Andrews confirmed masks will become mandatory in Melbourne and Mitchell shire from 11.59pm on Wednesday.

Failure to do so by anyone over the age of 12 will incur a $200.

Chief health officer Brett Sutton advised against masks for toddlers, and voluntary for primary school children.

Mr Andrews said the masks didn’t have to be medical-grade masks, listing bandanas and scarfs as suitable alternatives.

“Common sense is what should guide this,” he said, adding that some activities, such as jogging and medical conditions, would be exempt.

And if locked down Victorians don’t heed the message, Stage 4 restrictions are on the table.

“We are going to be wearing masks in Victoria, and potentially other parts of Australia, for a long time.”

Meantime, the Premier revealed that new data showed workplaces were a major issue.

“80% of our new cases since mid-May are through workplace transmission,” he said, listing private aged care as an area of concern.

Numbers breakdown

  • 363 new cases
  • 36 connected to known outbreaks
  • 327 under investigation
  • 2837 active cases in Victoria
  • 130 in hospital, 28 in ICUA
  • Victorian death toll now at 38