ADF personnel partner with Victorian ambos

Australian Defence Force personnel will partner with paramedics in Victoria to contain COVID.
Australian Defence Force personnel will partner with paramedics in Victoria to contain COVID.

Defence troops will soon ride alongside Victorian paramedics as the state braces for an "inevitable" rise in the number of ambulance staff forced into quarantine.

Victoria recorded 270 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, tipping Australia's total case numbers over 10,000 for the first time.

The number of people in Victorian hospitals continues to climb steeply, including 26 in intensive care units with 21 of these on ventilation.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has struck a deal with the prime minister to partner Australian Defence Force personnel with paramedics.

Most response crews will now include a member of each agency.

"That will be a general-duties ADF person who can support the inevitable number of paramedics who will finish up having to quarantine, having to isolate, having to be furloughed because of exposure or potential exposure," Mr Andrews told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.

A further 1000 defence personnel have been sent to Victoria to help enforce stay-at-home orders and vehicle checkpoints.

The reinforcements are on top of 400 troops already working across the state to help ring-fence Melbourne during the city's second lockdown and boost testing efforts.

The troops will remain in Victoria until at least August 19.

"We will help Victoria with whatever it takes to save lives and to save livelihoods," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

"This is a serious situation facing not just Victoria, but the whole country."

The Commonwealth has also released another five million surgical masks from the national stockpile for aged-care and home-care workers and those in general practices, community pharmacies and allied health.

All aged-care staff in Victoria have been told they should wear a mask while at work.

The NSW government is introducing stricter operating rules for pubs after 28 cases were linked to a southwest Sydney venue.

Pubs will be allowed a maximum of 300 guests and group bookings will be capped at 10 people.

Venues will also be required to record contact details of every patron, rather than just the person who made the booking.

Anyone who attended the Crossroads Hotels in Casula between July 3 and 10 must get tested for coronavirus and self-isolate for 14 days even if the test is negative.

South Australia has announced its July 20 border reopening date for NSW and the ACT has been called off, as new outbreaks spark concern across the country.

Meanwhile, the Queensland government has introduced legislation to increase the penalties for people caught flouting public health directions, including $4000 on-the-spot fines or six months behind bars.

Australian Associated Press