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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Victoria's Social Distancing and Public Gathering Restrictions Could Be Eased in Two Weeks

In the meantime, the State Government wants to test 100,000 Victorians for COVID-19.
By Samantha Teague
April 27, 2020
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Victoria's Social Distancing and Public Gathering Restrictions Could Be Eased in Two Weeks

In the meantime, the State Government wants to test 100,000 Victorians for COVID-19.
By Samantha Teague
April 27, 2020
  shares

Victoria's strict rules around social distancing and public gathering could be wound back in two weeks, Premier Daniel Andrews revealed in a press conference this morning, Monday, April 27. In the meantime, though, the state wants to test 100,000 Victorians for COVID-19, which would be the "biggest ever testing program in the state's history".

While the number of new COVID-19 cases has dropped in Victoria and the country — with only one new case reported locally and ten nationwide in the past 24 hours — the Premier has said "we will not be easing any restrictions before May 11", which is when the second four-week state of emergency ends.

Before they look at easing restrictions, the Premier says the the government wants data from the testing blitz to "double check" and "absolutely make sure" it has a handle on COVID-19. "With that data, with those test results, we'll have options to ease some of the restrictions that I know are frustrating and challenging and difficult, but restrictions that are working," the Premier said this morning.

Exactly what restrictions could be relaxed come May 11 is still unknown, but the Premier has confirmed they'll be proceeding "carefully and cautiously". "It won't be a situation where we wind all the way back to before stage 1 [restrictions], but there will be options," the Premier said.

The Premier and Victoria's Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton both urged any one with symptoms — even mild symptoms, such as a runny nose or scratchy throat — to come forward and get tested over the next two weeks. If you have symptoms and want to get tested, you can call the 24-hour hotline on 1800 675 398 or see what testing clinics are closest to you via the Victorian Government's website.

There are currently 43 specialist testing sites across Victoria, but the government will also be launching new drive-through and walk-up clinics in the coming week, as well as new mobile screening clinics, which will head to homes and workplaces.

Increased testing is one of the conditions outlined by Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier this month under which COVID-19 restrictions could be eased. Another one was a contact tracing app, which launched last night.

With restrictions looking to remain in place until at least May 11, the Premier is telling Victorians in the meantime to "keep following the rules" and "get tested".

To find out more about COVID-19 testing and find you local clinic, head to the Victoria Government's website.

To find out more about the status of COVID–19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.

Top image: Kate Shanasy

Published on April 27, 2020 by Samantha Teague

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