Victoria has recorded its first coronavirus deaths, with three people succumbing to the virus overnight.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton on Thursday confirmed the deaths of three men in their 70s, stressing the vulnerability of the elderly to COVID-19.
All men were in a Melbourne hospital.
"The reality is if you're over 70, you're in a more vulnerable category, so that's a risk factor, and people with chronic conditions, pre-existing illnesses, will be at greater risk as well," he told 3AW on Thursday.
"But, you know, they were confirmed cases of coronavirus and this is what coronavirus does."
The state's total number of confirmed cases has also risen to 520, which is 54 more cases than recorded on Wednesday.
Prof Sutton said the number of daily fresh cases has stabilised, likely due to the number of international travellers entering Victoria falling away.
However he insisted Victorians "shouldn't be complacent".
"There will be a number of their contacts, a number of other potential community transmission cases that will grow over time, if we don't stay away from each other," he said.
Asked about why Australia doesn't move into a lockdown now - if such a lockdown is inevitable - Prof Sutton said there are people who argue that measures should be gradually stepped up.
"I'm known to be one to go earlier and more broadly, but everyone recognises that that's very difficult, it challenges our economy, it challenges people's individual lives," he said.
"I would more strongly make the argument that we need to be ahead of it and not get to a point where if we do step up and if it's inevitable, that we're not doing it too late.
"It's more powerful to make those social distancing measures now to change the trajectory of this epidemic."
The comments come a day after Premier Daniel Andrews warned he may implement further measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus, as the police union called for a state of disaster to be declared.
The state's tally includes four health workers at Werribee Mercy Hospital in Melbourne's outer west.
The hospital confirmed one emergency department worker tested positive to COVID-19 on Sunday.
Fellow staff members considered at risk of infection were isolated and tested, with three confirmed as also having the virus.
The Police Association has called for a state of disaster to be declared, which would give its members greater powers during the health emergency.
About 500 police officers are tasked with enforcing the closure of non-essential services in the state and the mandatory 14-day self-isolation for travellers.
Individuals face fines of up to $25,000 and businesses could be forced to cough up $100,000 for breaching restrictions.
- Australian Associated Press
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