26 September 2023

Coronavirus prompts State of Emergency

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A State of Emergency has been declared in Victoria to provide the Chief Health Officer with the powers needed to combat COVID-19 and enforce 14-day isolation requirements for all travellers entering Australia.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced the State of Emergency on Monday (16 March), saying it would be in force for four weeks to assist with measures to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19 and give the health system the best chance of managing the virus.

“Under a State of Emergency, Authorised Officers, at the direction of the Chief Health Officer, can act to eliminate or reduce a serious risk to public health,” Mr Andrews said.

“Indoor public gatherings of more than 100 people will be banned under changes made to the State of Emergency,” he said.

“The new measures are in addition to the banning of mass outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people and the 14-day isolation of travellers coming to Australia that are already in place.”

Mr Andrews said the new restrictions for indoor venues came into effect Wednesday (18 March) and meant that any gathering at venues like restaurants, pubs, or cinemas of more than 100 people could not occur.

“There are exceptions outlined in the directions, including places like supermarkets and public transport,” he said.

He said visits to aged care residents would only be allowed for a short duration and by a maximum of two people per day, except for palliative care.

“Children under the age of 16 will only be permitted to attend aged care facilities in exceptional circumstances,” the Premier said.

He said additional cleaning on public transport had been implemented in Victoria, and urged employers to consider staggered work times and remote working arrangements to reduce overcrowding at peak travel times.

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