Covid Victoria: zero new native instances, Pfizer provides dwindle, urges workplace masks to be scrapped
Victoria has passed four consecutive days without a new local infection, but vaccine supplies to the state will be reduced in the coming weeks.
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Victoria has not registered a new local Covid case for four days in a row.
But the state’s vaccine supplies will dwindle in the coming weeks, and Health Secretary Martin Foley is urging Victorians to get tested.
“There’s nothing more important to do than get tested,” he said.
In the coming week, 40,000 bookings for the vaccine are expected to be fulfilled.
Mr Foley said it was frustrating to see the state’s Pfizer supply cut in the coming weeks despite strong demand.
“We’re concerned – there is clearly an appetite for Victorians to get vaccinated,” he said.
“If you have the opportunity to get vaccinated, please come forward and get vaccinated,” he added, saying the state is able to more than double its supply of Pfizer vaccines.
The health minister said the government would “have more to say” about wearing masks indoors by the end of the week.
“We have indicated that we want some level of security for the school holidays that start later this week,” said Foley.
“But … wearing masks is a very important part of making sure that we cut the chains of transmission of the virus in the May / June outbreaks that we are just about to cut off.”
The state currently has 23 active cases, five of which were locally acquired.
In the hotel quarantine, a new infection due to an entry from abroad was also found.
PLEASE REMOVE OFFICE MASKS TO SAVE CBD
The number of workers in Melbourne’s CBD offices fell to 23 percent during the fourth lockdown, according to new data, leading to calls to scrap masks in offices to encourage people to return to the city.
Employees were slow to return to the office after the last lockdown in Melbourne, discouraged by colder weather and capacity limits in the workplace.
But the head of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Paul Guerra, said the wearing of masks in the office should be phased out to strengthen the workforce and rejuvenate the city’s retail, hospitality and beauty businesses.
“We are a long way from what we were five weeks ago (before the lockdown),” he said.
“It’s easy, take off the masks in the offices and, as leaders, encourage people to come back a few days a week, and then we can rediscover what we love about Melbourne.”
Movement data from oOh! Media tracking visits to business centers showed that office centers had reached 75 percent of 2019 levels prior to the fourth Victoria lockdown in late May.
However, during the second week of the lockdown, office capacity fell to 23 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Since the lockdown ended, the numbers in Victorian office centers have risen to 41 percent compared to 2019.
Mr Guerra said QR codes and office security IDs helped track people in case contact tracing was required.
“Let’s have some common sense here. As soon as you are in your office and are QR-coded, you can take off your mask. ”
Mr Guerra said he believed the city would never go back to what it was before the pandemic, but it would still be a great, if different, place.
“The Melbourne of February 2020 is gone,” said Guerra.
“I’m not an advocate of going back to the office full-time. But I advocate going back to the office three days a week, we would have been there five weeks ago.
“Now we have to give up the habits of being at home, and that’s hard to do when we get into the winter time.”
SNAG IN PLAN TO WITHDRAW INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Victoria’s recent plan to bring back international students has been cast into doubt amid concerns that the proposal will not be approved by the state’s chief health officer.
The state government said last week it presented Canberra with a plan for student arrivals, but the opposition said the proposal was insufficiently detailed and had no support from the official health ministry.
Any plan to bring students back to the competitive higher education sector could be further hampered by the national cabinet’s decision on Friday to cut arrivals in half to reduce the risk of Covid from overseas arrivals.
But Matt Bach, the state opposition spokesman for higher education, said students abroad need some reassurance in order to return to Australia to study.
“I am not calling for the resumption of students who return tomorrow, but we need a plan”,
Mr Bach said the Victorian government should come up with a final, rather than draft, plan with all approvals that would allow South Australia to launch a pilot student admission program and NSW to sign its plan.
A Victorian government spokesman said the draft plan was submitted to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment for feedback on June 18.
“The draft plan is a detailed document that describes how Victoria will facilitate the arrival of international students in a safe and measured manner.”
“The plan also addresses DESE’s protocols and requirements for the arrival of international students,” he said.
Prior to the pandemic and border closings, international education was Victoria’s largest industry, valued approximately $ 14 billion for the state economy.
In March and April, then-Victorian incumbent Prime Minister James Merlino wrote to the federal government calling for a separate quarantine program for regular international comers.
The program of the so-called “business cohorts” is aimed at international students as well as people who are involved in major events, theater and film productions.
The original plan was for 120 arrivals per week from May 24th.
Last week, the state government said it had presented a draft of its student arrival plan after consulting universities and the Commonwealth government.