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Close contacts in NSW and Victoria no longer need to isolate

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COVID-19 isolation rules for close contacts will be scrapped in New South Wales and Victoria this Friday. 

The Department of Health defines close contact as: someone who lives in the same house as a positive COVID-19 case, or someone who has spent four or more hours with a positive case in a home, or health facility or aged care environment or similar.

Here’s what you need to know.

Victoria

The Victorian Government has announced that most COVID-19 restrictions will be removed from 11:59pm, Friday 22 April 2022.

Changes will include:

  • Patrons will no longer be required to have two doses or show their vaccination status before entering any venue. Check-in using the Service Victoria app will also end. 
  • Face masks will no longer be required in hospitality and retail settings, or at events of any size.
  • Close contacts will no longer have to quarantine – provided they wear a face mask indoors and avoid sensitive settings. They will also need to undertake at least five rapid antigen tests (RAT) that produce a negative result over the seven days.
  • Individuals will be required to notify their workplace contacts, in addition to informing their social contacts. Workplaces won’t have to individually identify and notify each potentially exposed worker.
  • Events with more than 30,000 people will no longer require public health pre-approval.
  • COVIDSafe Plans are still required in all workplaces.

New South Wales

Changes to COVID-19 rules in NSW will take effect from 6 pm tonight, 22 April 2022.

Here’s everything else you need to know about today’s changes.

  • Close contacts of a COVID case will no longer have to isolate for seven days. They will, however, have to take a daily RAT and wear a face mask indoors before having contact with people outside their household. 
  • Close contacts still can’t visit aged care, hospitals, disability or correctional facilities unless there’s a special exemption in place, and should work from home if it’s practical.
  • Close contacts should avoid contact with elderly and immunocompromised persons.
  • Aged care and disability employees must still be vaccinated.
  • Critical worker exemptions from isolation rules will no longer be required.
  • Close contacts will still need to comply with any COVID-19 safety measures that have been put in place in their workplace by employers.

Other changes coming into effect in NSW from April 30:

  •  The requirement for unvaccinated international returning travellers to stay in hotel quarantine will be removed. That means all returning travellers now have the same requirements — to undertake a RAT within 24 hours of arriving and comply with NSW Health guidelines.
  • Public transport capacity caps will be lifted.

The following rules remain in NSW:

  • The seven-day isolation requirement remains in place for anyone who has recorded a positive RAT or PCR result.
  • Masks still have to be worn on public transport, on planes, and indoors at airports and cruise terminals.

Current isolation period for close contact in other states

  • Queensland: Quarantine for seven days
  • Tasmania: Quarantine for seven days
  • South Australia: Quarantine for seven days
  • Western Australia: Quarantine for seven days
  • Northern Territory: If you’re fully vaccinated, quarantine for seven days. If you’re unvaccinated, quarantine for 14 days
  • ACT:  Quarantine for seven days.

(Sources: ABC News, Small Business Victoria)

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