Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has given the federal government responsibility for changing the rules for isolating close contacts of COVID-19, following increased calls for the state to scrap them.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was ultimately up to the prime minister to decide whether Victoria scrapped close contact isolation requirements. At this time, close contacts of COVID-19 cases in Victoria must self-isolate for seven days.
At his first in-person press conference since coming out of lockdown because of the virus, Mr Andrews said he was “surprised” that the federal government had suggested that the responsibility for changing the rules lies with the states.
“The national cabinet, which is chaired by the Commonwealth, has asked the Australian Key Health Officials Protection Committee – [which is] again, chaired by the Commonwealth, to address this issue,” the Prime Minister said.
“They came back as a panel and they said, ‘Not at this time.’ I hope that time will come, however, and that we will be able to make these changes.”
Mr Andrews said the committee’s decision made sense, given that the current outbreak of COVID-19 is expected to “peak in the coming weeks”.
“I see people… [saying], “There was no infection in my household, so this should be the rule for every household.” Well, with me – despite our best efforts – that’s not what happened. So I think it’s a bit dangerous to focus on just one household; it is always better to consult the opinions of experts.