Victoria Extends Isolation Exemptions To More Critical Industries

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Ahead of the national cabinet meeting the Victorian government announced that quarantine exemptions will be extended to a range of other critical industries.

Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed on Thursday that the ability for essential workers to forgo close contact isolation if they are asymptomatic would be extended to emergency services, education, critical utilities, custodial facilities and transport and freight sectors from 11:59pm on Tuesday.

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"So, all transport and freight, not just food production or food related transport and freight, those sectors will join the food sector in a broad sense," he announced. 

"They will be exempt if they are playing a critical role, they will be exempt from having to do home isolation. They will need to take a right test for five days and if that is negative, they can proceed to do that critical work that we need them to do and, in those circumstances, and given where the pandemic is up to where our broader context, that is a safe setting and critically important that they play those key roles in those industries and the food sector more broadly."

Andrews said that it was imperative that the common-sense approach was the best foot forward under the current Covid climate.

"They are important additions to make sure that whether it is waste or power, gas, all the way through to law enforcement at present, all of those sectors, they need to continue, regardless of the fact that we are in a global pandemic and have a variant of concern and exempting those workers, not all workers in those businesses but those workers is that make those sectors, exempting them from home isolation requirements is a common-sense way in which we can keep those services and important parts of our economy and society as close to normal as possible."

In a meeting with supermarket CEOs yesterday, the Premier said that the lack of delivery drivers has become the most critical bottleneck in the food supply chain across the state.

"Last week was distribution centres and bottlenecks there, this week it is truck drivers and a shortage of those to move. There is a lot of stock in many different parts of their round, but challenges are not so much about the availability of stock it is about moving the stock from one part of the country to the other. We continue to work with them and the unions to try and do whatever we can to ease that pressure."

In addition, the Victorian government is also targeting a supply of booster shots to supermarket staff ensuring the essential stores remain operational.

"The other thing I should note just by way of example, we will provide a booster, a third shot booster supply to Woolworths and to Coles and to that sector and they will run booster clinics inside their business, so we are taking the booster program to them...." the premier confirmed.

More to come.

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13 January 2022

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