Good news for people who live in big houses or one of the front-facing industries affected by the latest Omicron outbreak. If you live in New South Wales or Victoria you’ll soon no longer need to isolate for seven days if your housemate tests positive for COVID-19.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports senior members of the state’s COVID and Economic Recovery Committee met on Tuesday night to review the isolation requirements. Government sources told the publication the Victorian government plans to overhaul household contact rules and mask rules this week too.
The state’s health minister Martin Foley is reportedly expected to announce the news by Thursday. It’ll take effect on either Friday or Saturday.
The NSW Government’s decision comes after the state’s health department saw a drop in cases this month. It recorded 20,000 daily cases in the first week of April but fewer than 14,000 in the past week. Nice.
Both states appear to have passed the peak of the latest Omicron wave.
James Wood is a mathematician at the University of New South Wales’ School of Public Health and runs modeling for NSW Health. He told the SMH the data shows NSW has passed the peak of the current outbreak.
He said a big reason for that was because it had spread to family groups in the past two months. That meant that there was a larger immunity rate in the community.
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews said on Tuesday restrictions would be scrapped “very, very soon”.
But it’s worth noting there’s still a chance COVID could come back during the winter months AKA peak flu season. Scientists and the Government warn the upcoming flu season could be particularly bad this year.
The deputy director for the World Health Organisation’s collaborating centre for reference and research for influenza Alan Barr broke down the issue for The Conversation.
He noted tourists and returning residents can only enter the country if they test negative for COVID-19. But there weren’t any similar rules in place to test for the flu. So it can easily spread in the community.
“Flu, a little like COVID, can be spread by infected others before symptoms arise or even if symptoms don’t appear, something we regularly see in children,” he said.
“So once flu arrives, it will inevitably spread.”