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Vaccine mandates, masks in airports to be scrapped, while visitor restrictions at aged care to be eased & More Trending News

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Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions will ease from next week, with mask requirements, vaccine mandates and isolation rules all set to be relaxed.

The tranche of changes is due to be introduced from 11.59pm on Friday, June 24, with further easing of restrictions earmarked for the end of winter. 

“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.”

Airport mask rules, third dose mandates lifted

In line with a statement from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) earlier this week, masks will no longer be required to be worn in airports. 

They will remain mandatory on flights, as well as all other forms of public transport, such as trains, trams and buses.

Workplace vaccine mandates are also set to change, with Victoria’s high vaccination rate credited as a major factor.

Government-imposed third-dose mandates in education, food distribution, meat and seafood processing and quarantine accommodation sectors will be scrapped.

Education workers will also be able to return to work without a third dose.

However, workers in sectors that interact with vulnerable people — such as residential aged care and disability care, healthcare and emergency services — will still be required to have three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Rules requiring general workers to work from home unless they are double-vaccinated will also be lifted. 

Employers will still be able to set their own workplace conditions with regards to vaccination status.

About 68 per cent of Victorians aged 16 and older have received three doses of a vaccine, while 94.6 per cent aged 12 and older have received two doses. 

Mask mandates will be removed at Victoria’s airports following new recommendations from the AHPPC.(ABC News: Danielle Bonica)

Isolation requirements for positive cases eased

Victorians who test positive for COVID-19 will no longer be strictly confined to their homes.

Under the incoming changes, a positive case may now leave home to drive a household member directly to or from education or work without leaving their vehicle.

Positive cases may also leave home to seek urgent medical care, get a COVID-19 test or, in an emergency, including the risk of harm.

The seven-day isolation requirement will still be in effect outside of these conditions.

Changes to visitor rules in healthcare settings

Visitor caps to care facilities, including residential aged care and disability will be removed.

Visitors will be able to see any number of people, with a requirement that they test negative on a rapid antigen test on the day of the visit.

If a test is unavailable, a person can only be present for limited reasons such as end-of-life visits.

Facilities are able to introduce their own visitor rules to respond to local outbreaks or specific risks.

Victoria’s seven-day COVID-19 case average has dropped consistently throughout June, reaching its lowest point since March.

Mr Foley said that while the pandemic was not over, the easing of restrictions represented a major 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 today’s low figure,” Mr Foley said.

“What these measures are about is a highly vaccinated community learning to live safely and sustainably alongside COVID.”

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Health officials give greenlight to scrap masks at airport

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