Thursday , January 26 2023

Australia’s toughest mask rules begin

25-12-2021

Bureau Report

MELBOURNE: Victoria has recorded 2095 new COVID-19 cases as the country’s toughest mask rules came into force.

There are 397 people in hospital with the virus including 75 in intensive care, and eight more people have died after testing positive to the coronavirus.

At least 27 of the new cases have been confirmed to be the Omicron strain of the virus, taking the total number of known Omicron cases in the state to 98.

The new mask rules, starting Christmas Eve, were part of acting Victorian Premier James Merlino’s “common sense, sensible changes” in response to the Omicron strain of COVID-19.

Under the new face mask rules children eight and over are forced to wear masks indoors for the first time in the pandemic.

Masks were already the rule in areas like retail and on public transport but will now apply to all indoor settings across Victoria like restaurants, bars and also in the workplace.

Victorians will also have to wear masks at major events at 30,000 but not while seated outdoors.

People are being encouraged to work from home over the holiday period.

Health Minister Martin Foley said hospitality venues were advised to stick to seated service and to only operate dance floors in well-ventilated outdoor areas.

Merlino urged all eligible Victorians to get their booster COVID-19 vaccine.

Despite the new restrictions Merlino promised the state was not heading into a lockdown.

“This is the commitment that we gave to the people of Victoria,” he said.

“The promise was if you go and get vaccinated, you can enjoy Christmas and New Year with your families and loved ones and that’s exactly what will happen.”

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