Victorian hospitals are now under strict visitor limits to protect patients and staff.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos has announced new limits that mean 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.

“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,” she said.

Groups of people going to visit the same patient will be turned away under the new directive.

The health minister said she is considering subjecting patients to temperature checks as they enter hospitals.

“We are treating this as if we are in war time conditions,” Ms Mikakos said.

“We do anticipate we will have a significant increase in presentations for COVID-19.

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

One million masks have arrived in Victoria this week, with another million set to arrive next week.

The state currently has 1000 ventilators, with another 2000 on order.