Victoria’s pandemic declaration is set to expire, with the state to become the nation’s first to scrap mandatory COVID-19 isolation.
From 11.59pm on Wednesday, the pandemic declaration will lapse and Victorians will no longer have to isolate after testing positive for the virus, with people instead strongly recommended to self-quarantine.
Victoria and other jurisdictions unanimously agreed at national cabinet last week to ditch mandatory COVID-19 isolation from October 14.
But the Victorian government opted to end the requirement early rather than extend the declaration by 24 hours.
COVID-19 vaccination mandates will remain in Victorian hospitals, aged care facilities, day surgery centres and its ambulance service as part of Department of Health-issued directions despite the declaration ending.
Under occupational health and safety laws and public service directions, workers may also still be required to have COVID-19 jabs.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the new framework would give people the choice to do what is right for them and their community.
“We’re making sure there are still requirements in place to protect our dedicated healthcare workers and vulnerable Victorians in high-risk settings like aged care, disability settings and hospitals,” he said.
Meanwhile, Melbourne is in line for an mRNA research and development centre after Victoria struck an agreement with a German biotech company.
BioNTech has agreed in principle with the state government to develop a clinical-scale mRNA manufacturing facility in Melbourne.
The arrangement would see BioNTech deliver mRNA therapeutics and vaccines for research and clinical trials, including infectious diseases, cancer medicines and personalised cancer treatments.
The new facility will support researchers to translate their work into medical breakthroughs and establish clinical-scale mRNA manufacturing.
Treasurer Tim Pallas said the Victorian government had invested more than a billion dollars in medical research since 2014.
“This is a major coup for Victoria,” he said.