Australia Corona Virus

As he enters home isolation, Liberal leader Matthew Guy pushes for overhaul of the rules

‘No wonder half the state is in a semi-lockdown … because we’re all in isolation’.

Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy is pushing for an urgent overhaul of the state’s COVID-19 rules as he starts his seven days of home isolation.

On Tuesday, Mr Guy’s nine-year-old son woke up with a mild cough and he and his wife Renae were “shocked” when he returned a positive rapid antigen test.

The Liberal leader said he did not have any symptoms and was testing negative, joking that besides working from home his isolation would be busy with coffee and cooking.

“I’m negative. The other boys and Renae are all negative, but that’s what Victorians are living with,” Mr Guy said over a Zoom call.

“No wonder half the state is in a semi-lockdown, because we’re all in isolation from family members.”

Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy.
Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy. Credit: JAMES ROSS/AAP

Under the current rules, household contacts of a positive COVID-19 case need to also undergo seven days of home isolation, whether they are symptomatic or not.

Mr Guy has said the rule lacks common sense and should change for those who test negative and are not symptomatic.

“Are the isolation rules sensible? I’m not sure they are. [My son] Alex has a very slight cough and it was just offhand that I decided to test him. It’s not as if he’s unwell physically,” he said.

“I think you have got to apply common sense. If you’re doing tests and you’re negative and you feel fine then you should get on with life.”

Mr Guy said household contacts who were recording negative COVID-19 tests, but were symptomatic should also remain at home.

“But if you’re getting a negative test and you have no symptoms then, to me, it just doesn’t make any sense why we’re isolating thousands of Victorians,” he said.

Health expert says more data is needed

Despite Mr Guy pushing for the rules to change, epidemiologist Professor Catherine Bennett said more data was needed before any changes should be made.

“We recognise home as being one of the areas where it’s really hard not to pick up the virus if you have an infected person in the house,” she said.

“But we also know the infection risk is changing in the community with so many people now having had an infection.

“It would be great to know, though, from the people who are quarantining because they’ve been a close contact of a case … how many of those people do test positive during their quarantine period.”

Professor Bennett said the change to the isolation rules would be made “down the track” regardless, but said more data was crucial to ensure case numbers did not explode again.

Industry, Tourism and Sport Minister Martin Pakula said he returned a positive RAT test on Wednesday morning.
Industry, Tourism and Sport Minister Martin Pakula said he returned a positive RAT test on Wednesday morning. Credit: JOEL CARRETT/AAP

“There are a lot of people that go into quarantine that have already been infectious in the community, so it’s not like saying it’s working perfectly now. It’s also a trust system,” she said.

On Wednesday, Victoria recorded an increase of 11,749 new cases, but Professor Bennett said the increase was not overly surprising due to the infection rate of BA2.

A few weeks ago, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said once changes to the household rules were made, instead of an automatic seven days of isolation there would likely instead be a daily RAT test.

Mr Andrews is also in COVID-19 isolation after he tested positive on Monday.

Second Victorian government minister with COVID

Another Victorian government minister has tested positive to COVID-19 and will isolate for seven days, joining Mr Andrews in being confined to home with the virus.

Industry, Tourism and Sport Minister Martin Pakula said he returned a positive rapid antigen test on Wednesday morning.

“Felt a little less than 100% when I woke up just now so cracked open the RAT and … I’ll be resting up for the next week,” he tweeted.

All three politicians will miss the memorial for Shane Warne at the MCG on Wednesday evening.

– With AAP