Victoria and NSW are both set for a week of big changes to their COVID-19 rules and restrictions. 

Health Minister Martin Foley announced that things like vaccination, mask, and isolation requirements will be scaled back in Victoria, calling the incoming changes “important steps” to take.

Thanks to the state’s strong vaccination rate, the following changes will now come into effect from this Friday, April 22nd at 11:59pm:

Hospitality – pubs and cafés will no longer be required to confirm that customers have checked in using QR codes 

Masks – no longer required in primary schools, early childhood centres, hospitality venues or retail stores

Quarantine – anyone living with COVID-19 patients will no longer need to quarantine for seven days (a mask will still be required outdoors and five negative rapid tests over the seven days will also be required)

Hospitals – visitor restrictions will be removed except mask requirements

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International travellers – anyone who is free of COVID symptoms will no longer need to complete seven days’ quarantine and pre-departure tests will also be removed

COVID-19 patients – people who have had COVID will now be exempt from testing or quarantine for 12 weeks, an increase from eight weeks (workplace and social contacts must still be notified)

Foley did confirm that several other “critical” rules will still remain in place for now: anyone who tests positive for COVID must still isolate for seven days, while masks are still a requirement on public transport, at airports, and in sensitive health and aged care settings. The current two-dose and three-dose vaccination mandates for workers will also remain in place.

In NSW, Premier Dominic Perrottet also announced several key changes. From this Friday, April 22nd at 6pm, close or household contacts of someone with COVID no longer need to isolate with some caveats:  a contact must adhere to restrictions for a week from the positive result; they can’t visit sensitive health settings; a mask must be worn outdoors; daily rapid tests must still be undertaken if coming into close contact with others; they must work from home if possible.

Other changes to NSW’s restrictions this week include the lifting of vaccine mandates for some key workforces, although these mandates will remain in place for aged care and disability workers. From Saturday, April 30th, unvaccinated travellers also won’t need to undertake hotel quarantine.

For more on this topic, follow the Health & Wellness Observer or the Travel Observer.

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