Omicron outbreak impacts grow

January 13, 2022 BY

New rules: It’s now mandatory to report a positive rapid antigen test for COVID-19. Photo: LUKAS COCH/AAP IMAGE

NEW orders are in place across the state, including the closure indoor dancefloors, with the exception of weddings, and mandatory COVID-19 vaccine boosters for essential workers.

Health Minister Martin Foley said the new orders, which kicked in at 11.59pm on Wednesday night, are needed due to rising hospitalisations as Victoria deals with the Omicron variant.

The orders demand workers in key sectors, including health and aged care, emergency services and food distribution, get their third dose to continue working.

Those currently eligible for a third dose will be given until 12 February to get it.

The mandate does not apply to retail supermarket staff.

Close contact isolation requirements no longer apply to food supply workers, including those in retail, manufacturing and distribution.

These workers must be asymptomatic and produce negative daily rapid antigen tests for five days.

Hospitality density limits of one person per two square metres for indoor hospitality and entertainment venues also returned, as well as visitor restrictions in hospitals and aged care settings.

Acting Chief Health Officer, Ben Cowie, said one in 40 people living in Victoria have tested positive to COVID-19.

A mandatory hotline and online reporting system opened last Friday for Victorians who test positive to a RAT to report their “probable” case.

Anyone who receives a positive RAT will be classified as a “probable” case and must isolate for seven days and notify their contacts. They will receive the same clinical and financial support as PCR confirmed cases.

On Sunday, Premier Daniel Andrews announced the pandemic declaration will be extended from Wednesday for three months, as the state deals with the outbreak of the Omicron variant “leading to significant case numbers not previously experienced in Victoria.”