Victoria to ease COVID-19 close contact rules
SEVEN-day isolation for COVID-19 close contacts, compulsory masks for primary schools students and the vaccine mandate for hospitality venues will be scrapped in Victoria.
This morning (Wednesday, April 20), Health Minister Martin Foley announced a raft of restrictions would ease from 11.59pm this Friday, April 22 after the state passed the peak of its second Omicron wave.
“The Omicron wave is starting to subside … that’s why we’re in the position of being able to take some important steps over the coming days,” he told reporters today.
Close contacts of confirmed cases will no longer have to quarantine provided they wear a mask indoors and avoid sensitive settings. They must also return five negative rapid antigen tests over the seven-day period.
Similar changes are being unveiled by the NSW government.
Business groups have been calling for the seven-day isolation rule for household contacts of confirmed cases to be relaxed to ease ongoing staff shortages.
However, the Victorian government repeatedly flagged it would not move to wind back restrictions until the BA.2 Omicron sub-variant wave began to subside.
Victoria’s new pandemic-specific legislation shifted the power or changing COVID-19 restrictions from Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton to Mr Foley.
Premier Daniel Andrews previously flagged the state’s vaccinated economy, which includes a two-dose policy for patrons at hospitality venues, could remain in place until 2023.
Victoria’s seven day case average remains below 10,000, despite the state recording 10,628 new COVID-19 cases and 14 deaths today.