Victoria’s Premier Dan Andrews released a statement on Wednesday morning following the decision of the National Cabinet to release a new round of stricter measures, including tighter limits to funeral services and weddings as well as the immediate suspension of a number of businesses.

Mr Andrews said that Victoria is grappling with “a more imminent threat than most other states” due to the number of cases, hence there would need to be individual measures taken. For this reason, he said there would be a Stage 2 of measures announced today, and added that there would also be a Stage 3 in order to get the “health system ready for what’s coming”.

“Every country in the world that is running ahead of us would give anything to have had more time,” he said.

He said that the closure of non-essential venues and activities in Victoria would begin at midnight tonight.

READ MORE: Australia’s PM expands coronavirus restrictions with stricter measures for weddings, funerals and travel

“We don’t take these actions lightly but to put it bluntly: If we don’t slow this thing down, we won’t just have people waiting in line for Centrelink – we’ll have people waiting in line for machines to help them breathe,” he said. “I know this is stressful and I know this is scary.”

He gave the reassurance that things like supermarkets, petrol stations, banks, post offices and bottle shops will stay open as well as a number of other services.

Mr Andrews congratulated employers who have already put in place arrangements for employees to work from home. “Every employer has got an important responsibility to do just that,” he said.

“But I want to be very clear: the more people ignore the rules and ignore the advice – the more this virus will continue to spread,” he said. “There is no social occasion or celebration that’s worth more than a human life. For Victorians that means if you can stay at home, you must stay at home. We are all being asked to make sacrifices. Because if we don’t, people will die.”

READ MORE: Premier Daniel Andrews launches hotline to assist coronavirus impacted businesses

Click here to follow Victoria’s coronavirus cases in real time.