Victoria brings back restrictions: Return to office work paused, mandatory masks for indoor settings

Victoria

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. Source: AAP/Daniel Pockett.

Victorians will once again be required to wear face masks in indoor public spaces, and the state’s return to office-based work will be paused, as part of new state-wide restrictions announced on Wednesday night.

As of 11.59pm on Wednesday, February 3, masks are now mandatory in indoor settings and strongly encouraged during visits to people’s homes.

The cap on the number of workers allowed to return to office-based work across the state had been due to lift to 75% on Monday, February 8, however that plan has now been paused. The cap will stay at its current level of 50%.

Private gatherings will also be limited to 15 people.

The reintroduction of restrictions comes after a man who had been working in the Australian Open quarantine program tested positive for COVID-19.

The man last worked at the Grant Hyatt hotel on January 29. He had returned a negative test result after the end of his shift on that day but later developed symptoms.

The Victorian government has released a list of exposure sites visited by the worker, and anyone who has visited the locations at the specified times must isolate immediately, get a coronavirus test, and remain isolated for 14 days.

On Wednesday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the state’s public health team is still determining how the worker contracted the virus, but said they are “assuming the worst” and acting on the basis that he may have the highly infectious strain of the virus out of the UK.

New restrictions are needed because “we have to assume that this person has in fact infected others”, Andrews said.

Prior to this case, which will be recorded as community transmission, Victoria had gone 28 days without a locally acquired case of coronavirus.

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