‘WILL BE MANDATORY’: Victoria issues new Covid rules after cases rise
The Victorian Government has announced new rules around mask wearing as it tries to prevent a major Covid outbreak.
Late last night the Victorian Health Department issued the changes for Victorians aged 12 and above.
“Wearing a face mask will be mandatory indoors (not at home) unless an exception applies – this includes all workplaces, and secondary schools,” the department said. “Masks must also be worn outdoors if you cannot maintain 1.5m distance from people who aren’t from your household (such as at an outdoor event).”
The new mask rules came as the number of positive cases in Victoria rose to at least 11.
As the cases rise, the AFL had held a crisis meeting to discuss potential changes to crowd numbers in Victoria this weekend, with all players in the state to undergo testing.
“I don’t have any updates of any other changes in Victoria this weekend, whether it’s in crowds or games or others, the government is clearly working through it,” AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said on Wednesday.
“They are watching but we have no advice of any planned changes, but as we know things change on a day-to-day basis or an hourly basis.”
Geelong players have been able to travel to Western Australia under strict quarantine protocols ahead of their clash against Fremantle on Thursday night. Fremantle players would be tested after the game but were unlikely to have to isolate, the AFL said.
At least six of the new cases in Victoria are linked to a Sydney removal crew who worked in Melbourne while infectious and another two linked to a family in the city of Hume who moved to Melbourne from Sydney last week.
A school at Bacchus Marsh, northwest of Melbourne, said on Wednesday evening one of its teachers had tested positive. Two family members of the teacher also tested positive, according to media reports.
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The teacher from Bacchus Marsh Grammar attended the school’s staff day on Monday but has not been in contact with any students.
In a letter to parents, the school confirmed that it would close and that teachers were being tested and isolating.
“We have been informed that a member of the teaching staff has tested positive for Covid-19. The teacher was at the School’s Staff Day on Monday 12 July but has not been in contact with students on either Tuesday 13 July or Wednesday 14 July 2021,” the letter read.
“As a result of this, all staff who were at the Staff Day on Monday 12 July have been directed by the Covid-19 Public Health Division Department of Health to isolate and be tested. We are awaiting instruction from the Department on appropriate sanitation and cleaning of the school.
“Given the need for testing of virtually all staff and the need for additional cleaning, there will be no classes at the Woodlea or Maddingley Campus on Thursday and Friday 15-16 July for all students.
“In the event of a longer period of confinement for staff, online learning would commence on Monday 19 July.
“This is a fairly fluid situation and we will endeavour to keep parents informed of the situation as it develops as we have further information of any additional public health requirements.
“At this stage, I would strongly advise that if any student does start to present with any of the recognised Covid symptoms they are tested as soon as possible as a matter of precaution.”
Bacchus Marsh, 50km northwest of Melbourne, is a short drive from Ballan where Sydney removalists who carried the virus across the border visited a McDonald’s restaurant and a petrol station on July 8.
The ABC is reporting that the teacher has a friend who lives in the apartment building in Maribyrnong where the removalists worked.
“This is clearly a very rapidly moving situation,” Victoria’s Covid-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said.
“We’re very keen to make sure we get a very firm grip of this as soon as we possibly can.”
Four of the new cases were recorded on level three of Ariele apartments in Maribyrnong where the removalists stopped.
A further two cases were family members of Ariele apartments residents and one case was believed to have been infected at Coles in Craigieburn where a family returning from a red zone were not isolating.
Mr Weimar revealed on Wednesday that the removalists were in Melbourne on a workers’ permit but that they did not wear masks inside the apartment building.
He said that was a breach of the conditions of their permit. But perhaps most frustrating was the news that the crew have not been co-operating with contact tracers who only today found out there were two trucks involved.
Asked if the removalists had been deliberately evasive, Mr Weimar said: “They’re not being deliberately forthcoming, let me put it that way.”