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COVID-19 in Australia

Test boss denies Vic cluster family mix-up

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A growing outbreak in Melbourne’s north has on Sunday resulted in the delay of easing lockdown restrictions.

Victorian testing boss Jeroen Weimar has vehemently defended the state health department after criticism from a family at the centre of a Melbourne COVID-19 cluster.

 

A frustrated family member says the Department of Health and Human Services cleared the family to leave isolation, with an email from October 17 backing up the assertion.

Two days later, the family unwittingly sent their Year 5 boy back to East Preston Islamic College while infected with COVID-19.

The boy had been due to undergo a day-11 test on 20 October and should not have been at school, Mr Weimar said.

The family, which has asked not to be named, told that the DHHS did not explicitly warn the boy should stay isolated.

A published email, dated 17 October, also reads: “As discussed, your family has met the Department of Health and Human Service’s (sic) criteria to end isolation”.

Mr Weimar refused to concede his team got it wrong, and said they had been “explicitly clear” with every single household member.

We absolutely accept there may have been a misunderstanding but the information we have provided is accurate and to the point

“I have seen those letters. We send them individually to named individuals,” the DHHS testing commander said.

“There are eight individuals in that particular household and there is a chain of almost daily discussions, telephone calls, meetings with people to explain to them what is going on as part of that wraparound care that we provide.

Both issues reflected that the government is NOT listening. Yes, the Victorian government have tried their best but they need to listen carefully to the voices of the community.

CALD communities who are new to this society need more resources and detailed instructions to help them to be engaged in this war with Covid-19. We have just recovered from a big setback and we cannot afford another mistake.

 

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COVID-19 in Australia

Melbourne’s coronavirus restrictions ease, so what are the new rules?

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After a “cautious pause” to await thousands of test results in Melbourne’s north, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has provided a long-awaited update to Melbourne’s coronavirus restrictions.

The city will be able to take some “big steps” from 11:59pm on Tuesday October 27.

Here’s what’s changing.

 

Leaving home, the 25km limit and the ‘ring of steel’

People in Melbourne will be allowed to leave their home for any reason. The four permitted reasons, which have been in place for months, are being scrapped.

However, for people in Melbourne the 25-kilometre travel limit will remain in place until 11:59pm on November 8.

The “ring of steel” between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria will also remain until that date.

 

Visiting friends and family

Visiting people at their homes will be allowed from Wednesday. Melburnians will be able to host daily visits from up to two adults and their dependents from another household from 11:59pm tonight 

The visits must remain within the 25-kilometre radius rule and the once-a-day rule applies to both the people hosting a visit and those attending.

Households will also be asked to keep a record of who has visited their home and when, so that contact tracing can be done more swiftly later if an infection emerges

Retail and hospitality

 

All retail stores will be allowed to reopen from Wednesday.

Beauty, personal services and tattoo parlours can return as long as customers can wear a mask throughout the procedure.

 

Restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs will be allowed to seat a maximum of 20 people indoors, provided there are no more than 10 people per space and no more than one person for every 4 square metres.

 

 

Outdoors will be restricted to one person per 2 square metres, up to a maximum of 50 patrons.

Groups will be capped at 10 people, seated 1.5 metres from other groups.

 

Community sport is back for kids and adults

All outdoor sports will return for those aged under 18.

Adults will be allowed to participate in non-contact outdoor sport.

 

Weddings, funerals and religious gatherings

Weddings will increase to a maximum of 10 people.

 

Funerals will increase to a maximum of 20 mourners.

 

Indoor religious gatherings will be capped at 10 people indoors, or 20 people outdoors, plus one faith leader.

 

Additional changes will be introduced on November 8

We’ve already mentioned some of the changes coming in on November 8, namely that the 25km travel limit for Melburnians will go and the regional-metropolitan border will come down.

November 8 will also be the day Victorians get a sense of what the rest of November, and indeed Christmas, might look like with the Premier set to unveil an updated roadmap.

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COVID-19 in Australia

COVID-19 in AUSTRALIA

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Covid eliminated in six weeks with stage-four lockdown in July, do you agree?

The Covid-19 virus in Victoria could be eliminated if only stage-four lockdown was immediately introduced in the early period of the second wave. Victoria was only in stage-three lockdown from 9 July, when there were 860 active cases of the virus in the state, and it eventually entered stage-four on 2 August, but it was already too late.

According to the MJA analysis, led by a professor of epidemiology at the University of Melbourne’s school of population and global health, Tony Blakely, who previously estimated elimination of the virus in New Zealand to within a week of when it first occurred, and also predicted Australia was likely to experience a significant second wave, found that if Victoria introduced a six-week stage-four lockdown with masks from 9 July, elimination of the virus was possible.

In Blakely and his team’s modelling analysis, curfews or a 5km travel limit were not included, but adding a lockdown of closing all schools, department stores and hardware stores, most people except essential workers working from home, and mask-wearing made mandatory.

Though Victoria had lost such opportunity, Blakely believed there is still a light to reduce community transmission of the virus in Victoria as the numbers of cases have dropped greatly since Wednesday.

On the other side, a professor of epidemiology at La Trobe University, Hassan Vally, said whether Covid could be eliminated or not was just “a great deal of randomness or plain luck”. As concerning different countries’ pandemic situation, no one could predict the development of Covid. He believed that the issue is continuous and surely better models and better analyses could be found in the future.

 

Only a tiny fraction of Victoria’s lockdown fines paid

Until August 24, police have issued 19,324 fines during Victoria’s lockdown, while only 845 of the fines have been paid. The fines are worth more than $27 million.

Those fines should be paid in 49 days, including an initial 28-day payment period and a further 21-day reminder period. While 18 per cent of the unpaid fines have already reached the ‘notice of final demand’ stage. Enforcement of the fines can include vehicle wheel-clamping, delay of registration, takeover of personal property, and even imprisonment. However, the fines are quite high for ordinary people to pay. So civil liberties groups suggested police to show more mercy with fines, issuing more warnings instead of issuing fines to coronavirus lockdown rules’ breakers. And Fines Victoria responded that there were other payment options for those people who are facing financial difficulties. They could either pay their fine off over an extended period or do unpaid community work.

Besides, vulnerable people raised their concern about their rejected appeal though they have many reasonable excuses. Examples included a man with mental health issues who was fined for riding a bike outside his house and a young woman with a developmental delay who was fined for shopping more than 5 kilometres from her home.

 

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