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Victorian authorities have yet to decide whether to postpone the start of the school year to allow more children to be vaccinated, despite saying they want a “national approach”.

The country’s health minister, Martin Foley, says that – as the national cabinet decided last week – “the issue of consistent return to school is very important”.

Victorian Minister of Health Martin Foley. Credit:Chris Hopkins

“Victoria supports this process,” he said during the health update this morning.

“I understand the Commonwealth this week [is] to begin the discussions to try to find a consistent approach to these problems. And Victoria will be part of those discussions.

“We know that kids have made it really difficult for the past two years. We all made it really hard. The children in particular couldn’t get vaccinated – they missed a lot of school to protect the rest of the community.

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“We want to make sure that their sacrifice – their commitment – is recognized and that we get them back to school as soon as possible and … that we do this safely and [we] will be active participants in this national approach. “

Meanwhile, new rules for visitors to hospitals and elderly care facilities will also apply in Victoria from Wednesday 11:59 p.m.

Elderly care facility residents are still allowed up to five visitors per day as long as their guests return a negative rapid antigen test result before they enter. Given the limited availability of rapid antigen tests, Acting Chief Health Officer Professor Ben Cowie says that if people don’t have access to the tests, guests will be limited to two people for an elderly care resident.

Hospital visitors must be given two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Wednesday. If this is not the case, you must return a negative rapid antigen test and wear a mask according to the N95 or P2 standard or equivalent prior to admission.

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