Good afternoon and welcome to another edition of what the hell are the most up to date COVID-19 rules in my state or territory? Today, we’re looking at the latest changes out of NSW and Victoria regarding COVID-19 isolation as a close contact.
What are the new rules regarding COVID-19 isolation?
As was announced on April 20, the NSW government has scrapped the requirement for close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases to isolate at home for seven days.
As the ABC reports, although close contacts will be able to move around as per usual, they will be required to take daily rapid tests, wear masks while in indoor settings and avoid high-risk settings like hospitals and aged care centres.
It has also been reported that the NSW is urging those who are classified as close contacts to work from home where possible and to notify employers of the exposure to COVID-19.
Of the news, NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said:
“It is important as we move to the next phase in COVID, that we support the community to understand how COVID is transmitted and how best we can protect the most vulnerable in the community.”
As of April 30, international visitors to NSW (vaccinated or not) will no longer be required to undertake hotel quarantine.
Over in Victoria, the story is very similar, with the ABC reporting that as of 11:59 pm on Friday, April 22, close contacts will no longer need to isolate for a week. Much like in NSW, Victorians who are considered close contacts will have to produce five negative RATs in the space of a week and wear a mask in high-risk settings in order to avoid isolation.
Health Minister Martin Foley said of the update that:
“We know that there will be a long plateauing and tail to this BA.2 Omicron sub-variant wave,” Foley said.
“But what we know is that we’ve passed the peak and we are able to look to this group of sensible measures being able to take us into a still-challenging winter.”
He also warned that a fairly serious flu season may be on the way in the cooler months.
When it comes to international travellers visiting Victoria, isolation rules will also be removed for unvaccinated individuals. Additionally, symptom-free travellers will not be required to take a test on arrival – it will be recommended, however.
Mask rules updates
In addition to the updates to COVID-19 isolation rules, Victoria and NSW also announced some changes to the way we move around the community.
In Victoria, it’s been announced that masks will no longer be required in primary schools, in early childhood environments, retail venues or other events. Checking in to venues using the Services Victoria app will also not be a requirement when heading out to hospitality or other venues.
In NSW, masks will remain a requirement on public transport, planes and at the airport (though there are a whole lot of people who seem to forget this rule). The only change here is that caps on public transport will be removed.
We’ll be sure to continue updating this piece as more announcements are made.