Your guide to the new rules if you’re a COVID close contact
18.11.2021

Your guide to the new rules if you’re a COVID close contact

close contact
WORDS BY JORDAN MCCARTHY

The rules have changed for positive cases and close contacts making life easier for businesses and schools.

In a major shake-up, anyone who’s been exposed to a tier-one site will no longer be designated as a close contact. People will still receive a message stating that they were at a tier-one site, but there is no need to isolate and you only have to get tested if showing symptoms.

With the state expected to reach the 90% double vaccinated mark in the next couple of days, the government announced a wide-ranging easing of restrictions this morning.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in Melbourne here.

Principal among the changes to take place at 11:59 pm tonight are an easing of the way the state will manage positive cases and close contacts.

These changes will reduce the amount of days that positive cases need to isolate after testing positive, as well as the amount of days spent in isolation for non-household close contacts and a change in the designation for those found at tier one sites.

The isolation period for positive cases has been scaled back to 10 days. Non-household close contacts of positive cases will no longer need to quarantine for a full 14 days, only needing to isolate until they return a negative test result. The turnaround time for a standard test is generally 24 to 48 hours.

Schools are likely to be the biggest beneficiary of this change, with students now able to be back in the classroom within a couple of days of receiving a negative test result.

Likewise, patrons and staff from offices, restaurants, pubs and clubs will no longer have to isolate, providing a massive boon for businesses.

Among other changes, contract tracing will no longer be conducted by the Department of Health and exposure sites will no longer be published, another change that businesses are likely to appreciate.

The abolition of density limits and the change in case management should help revive a hospitality and entertainment industry that has been severely impacted by the pandemic and lockdowns.

“By focusing on high-risk settings, cases and contacts – and safely removing rules that could sweep hundreds of thousands of people into long quarantine at any one time – Victoria is charting a path for the rest of Australia for how to live with COVID-19 as a manageable endemic when cases inevitably increase nationwide,” Victorian health minister Martin Foley said.

Find out more information about being a close contact here.