Vic CHO pushed return to working from home

·1-min read

Victoria's Acting Chief Health Officer Ben Cowie proposed a return to working from home earlier this month amid a fresh wave of COVID-19 cases, documents show.

During a meeting with new Health Minister Mary-Anne Thomas, Mr Cowie strongly recommended Victorians work from home "where practical to do so" until the end of August due to concerns over the BA.4/5 variants.

"Transmission of COVID-19 is increasing in Victoria currently because of BA4/5 variants of concern," he said in documents published by the state government under pandemic legislation requirements.

"I recommend that the three existing pandemic orders (Public Safety, Workplace and Quarantine Isolation Testing Order) be continued."

Mr Cowie also recommended masks be worn in additional areas including in early childhood and school settings, but acknowledged face mask requirements "are not universally supported in the community".

Last week, Ms Thomas confirmed she rejected the official health advice regarding broader mask mandates.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the government advice was not about to change.

"You're not going to see mask mandates anywhere in the country but you will see consistent advice from government that it is strongly recommended that people wear masks inside, people act on their symptoms, get tested, isolate," Mr Andrews said.

"We would all like to change the isolation period down from seven days but right now it is not the time to do it. There is a unity around all of that and it is obviously a good thing."

Victoria on Wednesday recorded 12,984 new cases and another 28 deaths, with 906 in hospital including 45 in ICU.

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