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Centre focuses on virus in Vic aged care

The nation’s deputy chief medical officer has thrown his support behind an aged care response centre in Victoria in the face of a growing crisis in the sector from the deadly pandemic.

“This is about ensuring that there is appropriate emergency management structure, so there is excellent coordination of things like workforce distribution,” Dr Nick Coatsworth told ABC’s Weekend Breakfast program

He said it had become a very challenging environment where many aged care staff who had contracted COVID-19 were forced to isolate at home but the facility still needed to be run.

The centre is a joint venture between the federal and Victorian governments and comes as more than 500 coronavirus cases in the state are linked to home care facilities and evenly between staff and residents.

In the past two days, 12 older Victorians have died from the virus, taking the nation’s death total 145.

There were an additional 357 coronavirus cases recorded on Saturday.

There are now 1470 ADF members assisting in the state, with teams doorknocking for contact tracing where people have not responded to a phone call from health authorities.

There has been criticism of how the Andrew’s government has handled Victoria’s crisis, but that’s not something federal shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers is about to enter in to.

“Obviously the outbreak in Victoria has been really concerning and there’s no point sugar coating that,” Dr Chalmers told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program.

“It’s not for me to kind of play the blame game. I think on the whole all premiers and chief ministers around Australia have done their best on the the best available.”

NSW recorded 15 new cases on Saturday, including eight linked to the Thai Rock restaurant cluster and six returned travellers in quarantine.

Queenslanders in the NSW hotspot of Fairfield have until 1am on Monday to return home or face a fortnight of hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Queensland Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles says his team remains on high alert as coronavirus continues to spread in the southern states.

Western Australia has recorded two further historical cases through blood testing, including another from the Ruby Princess cruise ship.

But the state has had no new current infections for the seventh straight day.

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