Russia-Ukraine conflict escalates, NSW COVID cases rise, Sydney train shutdown fallout continues, Victoria COVID cases rise, NT COVID cases rise, Qld COVID cases rise

Premier Daniel Andrews said the governments of Victoria and NSW were drawing up plans to lift quarantine for asymptomatic household contacts, a move backed by federal health minister Greg Hunt, who said it was a matter of of the “next stage” of Australia’s response to the pandemic.

age and Sydney Morning Herald reported on Thursday that the country’s health officials are revising rules around household contact. Separately, Victoria and NSW health officials are working together on new arrangements for household contacts who test negative using regular rapid tests.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews visits the Underground Tunnel construction site in Kensington todayCredit:wayne taylor

The Victorian Prime Minister confirmed the talks on Tuesday and said the new rules would help avoid worker shortages that plagued some sectors and supply chains during the Omicron wave.

“I spoke about it with Prime Minister Perrottet. There have also been some national cabinet discussions,” Mr Andrews said, adding that the policy change would help “keep food on the shelves” by reducing the number of people in quarantine following a positive test. .

“There is a lot of work to do there. It’s a big change, though, and it could well mean there are more cases, so you have to do it with caution.

A small group of essential workers, such as nurses, teachers and food distribution staff, were exempted from isolation requirements in mid-January as staff shortages crippled essential industries. They are required to wear a mask, go straight to work and take regular rapid antigen tests. Plans being drawn up by officials in Victoria and NSW could extend these arrangements to all other workers.

Mr Hunt said easing restrictions on family contact was the “next step” for the nation. “I know that NSW and Victoria, with the support of the Commonwealth, are leading this work and I strongly support this direction,” he said.

“It has worked well with our nurses, with those in critical sectors, to ensure that there is an adequate workforce.

“People have been very responsible; if they show symptoms, they did not come to work. “Mr Andrews said the rules can only be relaxed for people who have had a third vaccination against COVID-19. “Although it’s more about honesty, people wouldn’t be able to prove it. It would just be another way to encourage people to go get a third dose,” he said.

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