- Melbourne NewsVictoria To Ease COVID Restrictions, Including Vaccine Mandates, Mask Rules And Visitor Caps
Victoria To Ease COVID Restrictions, Including Vaccine Mandates, Mask Rules And Visitor Caps
Living safely and sustainably
A major overhaul to Victoria's Covid restrictions from next week, will see vaccine mandates, mask rules, visitor caps to care facilities and isolation rules all ease.
The raft of pandemic health changes will come into effect from 11.59pm on Friday, June 24, even as the state's winter flu season escalates.
Stay up-to-date on the latest news with The National Briefing - keeping you in the loop with news as it hits
"This is a sensible implementation of minor and progressive changes," Minister for Health Martin Foley said.
"Business wanted a bit of time in the run-up to that and the public health advice was more than happy to give that."
Work jab mandates requiring three doses of a Covid vaccine, will be scrapped in education, food distribution, meat and seafood processing and quarantine accommodation sectors.
Teachers who have only be double dosed will also be able to return to work, while work-from-home rules for unvaccinated general workers will also be lifted.
However, triple-dose vaccine mandates will remain for workers across certain sectors, including residential aged care, disability care, healthcare, and emergency services.
Deakin University epidemiologist Catherine Bennett said Victoria's high vaccination rates means mandates have now become obsolete.
"Essentially there's no real argument for having a two-dose mandate," Professor Bennett told ABC News.
"You either go to three if you've got an argument for a high-risk setting or you would remove the mandate now, given the high immunity in the population."
- Prof Bennett
Masks will also be scrapped in airports, in line with a statement from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) earlier this week.
However, they will still be mandated on flights, along with other forms of public transport including trains, trams and buses.
Further changes also see Victorians who test positive for Covid no longer confined to their homes.
From Friday a positive case will be able to leave their home, but not their vehicle, in order to drive a household member directly to or from education or work.
While visitor caps are set to be lifted across the state's aged care and disability facilities, with people required to test negative on a rapid antigen test on the day of the visit.
Mr Foley said although the pandemic was not over, easing Covid restrictions represented a positive step towards living with the virus.
"The Covid numbers seem to have plateaued and gradually come down, the last few weeks we've seen a reduction in numbers to Saturday's low figure," Mr Foley said.
"What these measures are about is a highly vaccinated community learning to live safely and sustainably alongside Covid."
- Mr Foley