Victorians urged to stay home this Easter

Victorians have been urged to "keep doing the right thing" by staying home over Easter .
Victorians have been urged to "keep doing the right thing" by staying home over Easter .

Victorians are being warned to stay home this Easter long weekend to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and potentially save lives on the roads.

"We want to get through this Easter without seeing a loss of life on our roads and we want to get through Easter without seeing a broad spread of COVID-19," Police Minister Lisa Neville said on Thursday.

"Both of them kill and both of them leave family and friends who are grieving."

The advice is to plan for the Easter Bunny to hop into people's primary home, she said.

Victorians are only meant to leave their homes for essential travel, including to buy food and to exercise under the stage three restrictions.

The police COVID-19 hotline has had a significant number of calls since it kicked off, Ms Neville added.

As for the roads, Assistant Commissioner Libby Murphy said police will be out in force over the long weekend operation.

"We don't want to see people die on the roads this Easter, we will be quite focused on speed," she said.

Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said officers were issuing fines for "deliberate, blatant and obvious breaches" of the COVID-19 restrictions.

Police officers conducted 1065 coronavirus spot checks in the past 24 hours.

This brings the total to 17,104 since March 21.

Police have also arrested 54 people in an operation targeting commercial burglaries in Melbourne's CBD and inner suburbs as the coronavirus forces the majority of city workers to work from home.

Operation Nights Watch, which focuses on opportunistic crimes such as commercial burglary, initially ran from April 1 to 8 but will continue indefinitely in the CBD and City of Yarra, police said on Thursday.

Twenty-six warrants in total were issued for offences including burglary, theft and drug-related offences.

Police checked more than 1300 people over the seven nights, with 110 offenders also in breach of COVID-19 restrictions and fined $1652.

Multicultural Affairs Minister Ros Spence on Thursday said she understood that for faith communities, Easter was usually the time of year to come together.

"Unfortunately, this year must be different," Ms Spence said in a statement.

"We each need to stay home. And for the good of our community, we must.

"I encourage Victorians to be innovative and find new ways to express your faith."

Victoria recorded just 16 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, the lowest since march 16, bringing the state's total to 1228.

Fifty people are in hospital, 13 of those in intensive care while community transmission cases have risen by nine to 110.

"These figures show us that Victorians continue to do the right thing and the tough measures we have put in place around social distancing, around what people can and can't do, around staying at home are making a difference," Ms Neville said.

"But we need people to continue to do the right thing."

Australian Associated Press