Australia Corona Virus

Victorian government considers easing some COVID-19 restrictions as state records nine deaths, 8,501 cases

IMAGE: There has been a push from business groups to ease the requirements around mask wearing in offices.(ABC News: Rachel Clayton)

Source: ABCnews

The Victorian government is considering easing some of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions, but would not go into detail about what changes could be made.

t’s understood discussions about potential changes would be held throughout the morning.

There has been a push from business groups to allow workers to remove their masks in offices.

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Paul Guerra wants the government to scrap the “working from home” recommendation and office mask mandates.

“The signalling’s been positive, we know the impact of school hasn’t been negative in terms of hospitalisations,” he said.

“We want to see people come back together so that we can get the year under way, we can get the planning underway so that most importantly we can start to see areas like the CBD recover.”

Nancy Baxter from the University of Melbourne’s School of Population and Global Health said it was too soon to relax the rules around the wearing of masks indoors.

“It to me makes more sense to relax things like density limits on restaurants and things like that that will really help drive the economy than really go at masks indoors because that will really drive transmission,” Professor Baxter said.

“The best thing we can do to get people out of the ‘shadow lockdown’ is really to get cases down and relaxing masks won’t do that.”

In New South Wales, new settings come into effect on March 1 that will see workers return to offices and be able to work without a mask.

Nightclubs also want to be able to open dance floors which were closed in January as the Omicron variant took hold.

Yesterday, the government announced all elective surgery across public and private hospitals will resume by the end of the month.

Victoria records nine deaths, hospitalisations back over 400

Meanwhile, Victoria has recorded the deaths of a further nine COVID-19 patients.

The number of people in hospital after contracting the virus sits at 401, up slightly from the 397 reported on Tuesday.

Of the people in hospital, 78 are in intensive care units and 16 are on ventilators.

The state has reported 8,501 new infections. That tally is comprised of 2,840 positive PCR tests and 5,661 positive rapid antigen test notifications.

It takes the number of officially reported active infections to 50,042, up from 49,936 on Wednesday.

About 53 per cent of the state’s adult population has now had a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.