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Victorians warned of challenging winter

Daniel Andrews COVID-19
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will isolate after returning a positive COVID-19 result. Photo: Getty
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The combination of flu and COVID-19 is set to create a difficult winter, Victorians are being warned.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Thursday would not give a timeline for the removal of the remaining few coronavirus public health measures, including masks for hospitality and retail workers.

“At this stage I’ve got no advice that we’ll be able to take off those mask rules,” he told reporters.

“We are open and things are closer to normal than they have been for a long time.”

However, as the more contagious BA2 sub-variant of the Omicron coronavirus strain starts to dominate in the state, the government has been pushing for people who have not yet got a third dose of vaccine to get it done ahead of the colder months.

“Winter will be challenging, it always is whether you’ve got a pandemic or not, flu for instance, always knocks our health system around every single winter,” Mr Andrews said.

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley was sent into isolation on Wednesday afternoon after a family contact tested positive for the virus.

The state reported seven deaths and 9752 new cases on Thursday.

There are 197 people in hospital with coronavirus, including 23 in intensive care with four on ventilators.