Andrews Government Extends Quarantine For Test Refusals in New Rule

Andrews Government Extends Quarantine For Test Refusals in New Rule
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews holds a press conference at Treasury Theatre in Melbourne, Australia on Sept. 26, 2020. (Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Close contacts who refuse a COVID-19 test in Victoria will spend 21 days in quarantine under a new rule.

The state government has announced mandatory quarantine will be extended 10 days for close contacts if they opt not to be tested on day 11 of isolation.

The change will come into effect from 11.59 p.m. on Oct. 11.

Premier Daniel Andrews said a “very, very high percentage” of people had submitted to testing but the rule was designed to provide authorities with an even more complete picture.

“This is just double checking, triple checking that you haven’t, in fact, still got the virus,” he told reporters on Sunday.

Under another new rule from Sunday, regional Victorian businesses will have to take all reasonable steps to ensure patrons aren’t from Melbourne before seating them.

Metropolitan Melbourne residents are only allowed to travel into regional Victoria for permitted reasons but must abide by the city’s rules while there.

It comes after an infected Melbourne man dined at a Kilmore cafe, sparking a fresh outbreak in regional Victoria.

Victoria’s state of emergency and state of disaster have been extended to 11.59 p.m. on November 8.

But the premier said no one should read the four-week extension as a guide to shifting rules.

“This comes from detailed public health advice, and there will be a time where we do not need to extend these things and I look forward to that day,” he said.

Victoria reported one more death and 12 new cases on Sunday, ending a three-day stretch without a fatality.

Health authorities on Sunday released the latest statistics which takes Victoria’s death count from the virus to 810 and the national toll to 898.

In the fortnight up to Oct. 10 metropolitan Melbourne recorded a rolling average of 9.3 new cases per day, with the figure at 0.4 for regional areas.

Public health authorities decided weeks ago that the two-week rolling daily case average needed to drop to five, with less than five mystery cases, for lockdowns in the city to ease in line with regional Victoria.

Cases with an unknown source for 14 days as of Thursday were 10.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said a cluster linked to Box Hill Hospital had grown to 12, with two cases added on Sunday.

The Chadstone Shopping Centre outbreak also recorded one new case, taking the total number of infections to 33.

Prof Sutton said he was aware of several new family outbreaks, with one in the city’s west linked to five infections.

Another has resulted in three cases across two households.