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NSW COVID cases grow, Victoria COVID cases grow, Qld COVID cases grow, ACT COVID cases grow, QR codes reintroduced in NSW, mask rules changed in Victoria, Omicron variant case surge continues


The Victorian government has extended its mask mandate to all indoor settings and major events attracting at least 30,000 people.

From 11.59pm this evening, masks will be required to be worn by Victorians aged 8 and up in all indoor settings, except private homes.

Acting Premier James Merlino.

Acting Premier James Merlino.Credit:Scott McNaughton

Victoria’s Acting Premier James Merlino said masks would also be required at major events over that 30,000-person threshold, but masks could be removed while people were seated.

Mr Merlino said the changes were “common sense” and “modest”.

“This is a sensible response which will allow businesses to stay open, bars and restaurants to continue to stay open and major events to go ahead.

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“Masks are a cheap and effective way to maintain the health of the community and it’s something public health experts have been calling for.

“We’re going to be recommending Victorians take advantage of the festive season and work from home. A lot of people are already doing this through the Christmas-New Year period. Again, it makes common sense.

“Ultimately, we’re able to keep our state open because more than 90 per cent of Victorians [aged 12 and up] got vaccinated and we’re vaccinating our way through this [Omicron] variant as well.”

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said authorities were also recommending to hospitality venues that they stick to seated service where possible, and that dance floors stay in outdoor, well-ventilated areas.

The Victorian government is also putting $31.6 million into supporting the Commonwealth’s vaccine booster program, which will ensure up to 900,000 doses can be delivered each week in the state.

Over the coming weeks, 28 vaccination pop-ups will be open and current, fixed sites will expand to operate 12 hours a day, seven days a week.

The boost to the vaccine program will also include a re-run of a grants program for GPs and pharmacies, with applications for grants of up to $15,000 opening today.



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