Premier Dan Andrews has extended Victoria’s pandemic declaration for another three months.
Despite an almost complete double vaccination rate (94%) of Victorians aged 12 and over, and two thirds of all adults tripled vaccinated, Mr Andrews claimed the extension was essential to protect public health of citizens of the most locked down state and city in the western world – in the face of rising cases of the new BA.2 Omicron sub-variant.
Starting from the 12th April, the extension will last until the 12th July.
Mr Andrews said the announcement was made following advice from the Acting Chief Health Officer and the Minister for Heath. A familiar explanation that will be wearing thin with most Victorians.
The declaration gives the government power to unilaterally impose restrictions & lockdowns, and its extension will do nothing to help rebuild confidence or aid events operators, currently struggling to rebuild their business.
Clearly mindful that Victorians have had their fill of COVID related interventions, Health Minister Martin Foley was at pains to point out that the Victorian government aims to have ‘the absolute smallest footprint of restrictions that we possibly can have’.
Victorian Opposition leader Matthew Guy said the decision to extend the pandemic laws were unnecessary as COVID-19 could be managed under existing legislation. “We’re not going to put COVID behind us, we have to learn to live with it. We can do that sensibly through the laws that exist today,” he said.
“But it appears the state government in Victoria wants to keep this crisis going so state of emergency, state of disaster, pandemic legislation, that’s not going to help us recover and rebuild.”