Visitors to Victorian hospitals will face tougher restrictions from midnight tonight under a new Covid-19 safety measure announced by Victoria’s Health Minister Jenny Mikakos on Monday.

Visitors will be limited at both private and public hospitals to protect patients and healthcare workers.

“The limit will be, a patient will not be able to receive a visitor for more than two hours at a time and not be able to have more than two visitors per day,” Ms Mikakos said.

“There are some exemptions particular for partners who are having their babies also for patients who are experiencing palliative care, so they will be some exemptions for that but we need to keep very strictly to these restrictions.”

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People who visit the same patient in large groups will  now be turned away. People are advised to keep away from hospitals if they are unwell. Furthermore, visitors in the future may be forced to undergo temperature checks as they enter hospitals.

Ms Mikakos said that a significant increase in presentations for Covid-19 are expected. “We are treating this as if we are in war time conditions,” she said.

“This is a public health emergency we have not seen in our lifetime.”

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There were 61 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in Victoria today, with the state’s total at 355.