Changes to Public Health Order in New South Wales and Victoria

COVID-19 Restrictions
Changes to Public Health Order in New South Wales and Victoria
Key changes to Public Health Orders – NSW

As of 20 April 2022, the NSW Government announced that the Public Health Order requiring key workforces to be vaccinated will be lifted, with ‘vaccine requirements to be based on risk assessments under occupational work health and safety, in line with other jurisdictions’. However, Orders requiring aged care and disability workers to be vaccinated will remain in force.

In NSW, unvaccinated Australians returning from overseas will not be required to hotel quarantine after April 30 2022. Unvaccinated Australian travellers will be subject to the same restrictions as fully vaccinated travellers, which includes taking a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) within 24 hours of arrival and complying with NSW Health standards.

Additionally, from 6pm on 22 April 2022, close contacts will not be required to isolate, provided that they do not have symptoms and comply with the following guidelines for 7 days from the time a person in their household tests positive for COVID-19:

  • 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; and
  • 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.

The relaxation of isolation regulations for close contacts, according to NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, is a ‘common sense’ step that will allow the state to continue to recover from the pandemic. He believes the ease of restrictions 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.

Key changes to Pandemic Orders – Victoria

The Victorian Health Minister, Martin Foley, announced that as at 11.59pm 22 April 2022, close contacts in Victoria will no longer be required to quarantine, provided they wear a mask inside, avoid vulnerable environments such as hospitals and nursing homes and produce five negative RATs over the course of seven days. Furthermore, Victorians will no longer have to provide their vaccination status upon entering hospitality and entertainment venues, and check-in QR codes will no longer be required.

Masks will only be mandatory on public transport, in taxis and rideshares, at airports and in health, aged care and court settings. Quarantine for unvaccinated overseas visitors will still be required, with the newly established $200 million quarantine facility in Mickleham primarily serving COVID-positive persons who cannot safely isolate at home.

Importantly, the Victorian Government has not lifted the Pandemic Orders providing the blanket workforce vaccine mandate, and plans to keep its existing double- and triple-dose requirements

The Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews has claimed that he hopes to scrap the remaining restrictions when the Pandemic Declaration expires in mid-July. The Premier stated:

I don’t know what expert advice I’m going to get in the days leading up to the 12 of July. It’s my hope that we don’t need that, or we see something less than that, or we need some other arrangement. That’d be terrific

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