If you’ve been a close contact of a COVID-19 case and been stuck at home in isolation, then this news will likely bring a smile. The rules for close contacts in NSW and Victoria are about to change.
Victorians will no longer have to show double dose vaccination status to enter a venue or check in using the Services Victoria app. COVID marshals will also be scrapped.
Close contacts of COVID positive cases will no longer have to quarantine, as long as they wear a mask in sensitive settings continue to conduct rapid antigen tests throughout their seven day exposure period.
Any Victorian who has had COVID will be exempt from testing or quarantining for 12 weeks,
Health Minister Martin Foley said he believes the state has passed the peak of the BA omicron variant.
“[Now] we are able to look to this group of sensible measures being able to take us into a still-challenging winter.”
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the state’s the high vaccination rates have allowed for the easing of restrictions. To date, more than two thirds of Victorians over 16 have had a booster shot, while 94.5 per cent of Victorians over 12 have had two doses.
“We’ve got 90 per cent coverage for those over 70, 85 per cent for those over 65, 82 per cent for those over 60, really terrific figures.”
NSW has similarly moved to put an end to isolation for the close contacts of a confirmed COVID 19 cases.
COVID positive people will still need to isolate for seven days but from 6pm on Friday 22 April, close contacts (defined as a household contact or an individual deemed by NSW Health to be a close contact) will not have to isolate, as long as they have no symptoms and comply with the following guidelines:
- Do not visit aged care, hospitals, disability, and correctional facilities unless a special exemption applies;
- Wear a face mask in indoor settings outside the home;
- Undertake daily RAT tests before coming into close contact with people outside their household, where practicable;
- Avoid contact with elderly and immunocompromised persons where possible;
- Work from home where practical;
- Notify their employer/educational facility that they are a close contact, and that they are not required to isolate as long as they comply with the above.
Close contacts will need to comply with the above guidelines for 7 days from the time a person in their household tested positive for COVID-19.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the lifting of isolation rules for close contacts were common-sense changes that would allow Australians to move forward out of the pandemic.
“These isolation rules have been necessary but thanks to our strong vaccination rates, we can make the changes announced today,” Perrottet said.
“This will provide immediate relief for so many workforces and businesses who have been hit hard by labour shortages as people are forced to isolate because they are a household contact.”
Public transport capacity caps will also be lifted, however the requirement to wear masks on public transport, planes, and indoors at airports and cruise terminals will remain in force.
From 30 April 2022, unvaccinated international returning travellers will not be required to undertake hotel quarantine.
The current requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, including taking a Rapid Antigen Test within 24 hours of arrival and complying with the NSW Health guidelines, will now be extended to unvaccinated travellers.
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