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Health advice used to justify ongoing restrictions and lockdowns would be made public under proposed new laws to be introduced to parliament on Wednesday.
A private members bill from the state opposition would force chief health officer Brett Sutton to hand over documents used to impose restrictions on Victorians.
It comes as the state government on Tuesday refused to detail the make-up of the expert panel advising on lockdown decisions.
Opposition health spokeswoman Georgie Crozier said the laws, if passed, would smash the veil of secrecy surrounding ongoing restrictions.
“Victorians are increasingly sceptical and frustrated at being told what to do but not given the information upon which these life-changing decisions are being made,” she said. “The Andrews Labor government must lift the veil of secrecy and that’s exactly what my bill will do.
“Victorians are smart and deserve to know the truth.”
Ms Crozier said the bill would ensure increased transparency and accountability of the decisions made by the chief health officer and the state government.
She said throughout the pandemic, the government had persistently refused to be open with Victorians about its decision-making process.
The bill would require the chief health officer to produce to parliament documents upon which the decision was based to make a direction or order that imposed restrictions, while a State of Emergency exists. It would also create a review mechanism to appeal against the production of certain documents if the chief health officer believed it contrary to public health interest.
A government spokeswoman said a range of factors and experts were relied on when considering public health responses. “Victoria’s senior public health team is made up of expert medical professionals and some of the leading public health physicians and infectious disease experts in the country including Professor Brett Sutton and Professor Allen Cheng,” she said.
It comes as just two cases of coronavirus were detected in the Victorian community on Tuesday.
Both cases are linked to current outbreaks, with the new infections including a child linked to the West Melbourne cluster, and a worker at the Arcare Maidstone aged care facility.
The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre was listed as an exposure site after a positive case attended the South Wharf site between 3.15pm and 4pm on Monday June 7.
In a shocking twist, that person had been tested and, instead of isolating, had attempted to get vaccinated.
The convention centre was listed as a Tier 3 site, meaning anyone who visited during the time should be on alert for any symptoms.
Two primary close contacts were identified, but Mr Weimar said authorities were confident there was no wider public risk.
HOW MELBOURNE’S LOCKDOWN WILL BE EASED
Melbourne’s lockdown will end on Friday, but residents are set to be restricted to travelling 25km from their homes in a bid to prevent a Queen’s Birthday weekend exodus to the regions.
Under a new restrictions regime, students are expected to return to the classroom as early as Friday, with visitors to the home still banned and public outdoor get-togethers capped at 10 people.
Cafes and restaurants will be limited to 50 customers, while gyms are expected to remain closed. Masks will remain mandatory indoors, with density limits in offices.
Read the full story.
HOTEL QUARANTINE BEHIND DELTA OUTBREAK
Health authorities are desperately trying to work out how the highly-infectious Delta variant was able to leak out of Victoria’s troubled hotel quarantine program.
Acting Premier James Merlino on Tuesday announced that genomic sequencing revealed an identical match between the strain at the centre of the current West Melbourne outbreak and a man who returned from Sri Lanka early last month.
While conceding that there had been another breach of hotel quarantine, authorities are still in the dark on exactly how the virus spread from the man to the community.
“I’m very surprised that (the virus) got out,” Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said.
Four theories are being probed, with the most likely being that the man infected hotel quarantine residents or staff, who then spread the virus further.
Prof Cheng said it was not yet known if there was more than one missing link.
It is Victoria’s eighth hotel quarantine breach, according to authorities, including the leaks from the Stamford Plaza and Rydges on Swanston Hotel, which sparked the state’s second wave that killed 801 people, infected thousands of others and plunged Melbourne into a 111-day lockdown.
Mr Merlino defended the state’s besieged program, saying “we do our absolute best in hotel quarantine”.
AUSSIES TO GET COVID VACCINATION CERTIFICATE
Australians who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 will receive a certificate, paving the way for governments and businesses to enforce tough rules on those who are not inoculated.
The certificate will be available securely through the Medicare app – and eventually added to digital wallets on mobile devices – as the federal government pushes ahead with the plan to help incentivise Australians to get the jab.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants fully-vaccinated Australians to be able to bypass state travel restrictions, although the national cabinet is yet to agree, while businesses could seek to use the certificate to withhold services from those who refuse the vaccine.
Read the full story.
Originally published as Push to reveal health experts’ lockdown logic