Premier Daniel Andrews has announced stage 1 easing of restrictions in Victoria. Now households are allowed to have up to five people visit them in their homes from midnight on Tuesday, May 12. These Stage 1 easing of restrictions will remain in place for the next three weeks.
This stage 1 also allows groups of up to 10 to gather for sport and recreation – which includes “hiking, fishing, playing golf, going for a walk, kicking a footy”.
This means AFL players, and other professional athletes, will be able to train in groups of up to 10 from Wednesday. The AFL Commission meets later in the day to finalise its return-to-play plan. Some believe it could be as early as June.
Victoria is now in line with other states, with sporting codes able to lift training limits from two people to ten.
“They should be family and friends. After all, they are the people that mean the most to us and that’s where it’s hurt, people not being able to connect with the people that are most important to them,” Premier Andrews said this morning.
“It is a first safe, cautious appropriate step. We are not other states, we face our own unique challenges.”
It seems the premier has had a change of heart on schools.
“We had, for the purposes of certainty, said to parents across the state that they should plan and assume that learning from home would continue for the entirety of term two… We now believe that a gradual, staged return to face-to-face learning is safe, cautious and appropriate, given the testing we’ve done and the circumstances we face.
“We are very close to being able to make some significant announcements on schools”, the Premier said, still leaving parents and students in some suspense for now.
Victorian Premier @DanielAndrewsMP statement on easing of #COVID19 restrictions #springst pic.twitter.com/Bhi1thmsvi
— Political Alert (@political_alert) May 11, 2020
“We ask people to use common sense and good judgment. Things like camping won’t be allowed. We think that is appropriate, just for the three weeks. That may change in June,” he said.
Daniel Andrews said Victorians who could work from home should continue to do so for the rest of the month.
Fore Cafes and Restaurants, it is status quo as the Premier said it was “not appropriate” for Airbnbs or hotels to take bookings. Also overnight camping remains prohibited.
This restrictions ease has come about after the state government launched a testing blitz to test 100,000 Victorians in a fortnight and managed to test 161,000 with only a handful of cases reporting positive.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the Victoria’s testing blitz had uncovered “low levels” of community transmission of COVID-19.
“We discovered 30 new cases, and in a sense that seems like a lot compared to the previous new weeks where numbers were down significantly, but those cases would have been there regardless of testing,” he said.
As restrictions ease, there is likelihood of more positive cases or even outbreaks and the state government is preparing for those eventualities with rapid response squads part of a $20 million fund announced this morning.
“As we ease restrictions, there will be further positive coronavirus cases, and possible outbreaks,” Ms Mikakos said.
“To limit these cases and keep Victorians safe, the government has outlined its plan for a new ‘outbreak unit’ within the Department of Health and Human Services’ public health team.”
Testing blitz will also continue in Victoria for those with even the mildest of symptoms for the next month, with a target of a further 50,000 tests within a week, and 150,000 by the end of May.
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