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ACT to follow NSW, Victoria in isolation changes

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Canberra is poised to follow NSW and Victoria in winding back almost all virus measures. Photo: Getty
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On the eve of COVID-19 isolation rules being ditched for household contacts of people with the virus in NSW and Victoria, the ACT has followed suit.

The seven-day home quarantine for household contacts will be scrapped in NSW at 6pm on Friday and 11.59pm in Victoria.

Close contacts will have to undertake daily rapid antigen tests, wear masks indoors and work from home where possible.

They will also have to notify their employers and avoid high-risk environments like hospitals and aged care settings.

In the ACT, household contact quarantine rules will be scrapped after Anzac Day.

ACT Health announced from 11.59pm on April 26 household contacts will not have to quarantine if they have no symptoms.

ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the changes align with those in NSW and Victoria wherever possible, while accounting for local conditions.

People are to limit their movement in the community and minimise risks by wearing a mask indoors, avoiding crowded places, testing, working from home where possible and not entering high-risk settings for seven days.

Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania have all also flagged a review of COVID rules.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said easing restrictions was an important milestone for the state after an “incredibly challenging” two years.

“People haven’t been able to say goodbye to their loved ones, weddings have been postponed, people have lost jobs,” he told Sydney radio 2GB on Thursday.

“When it comes to COVID I think we all have a lot to be proud of. These changes [are] another mark in our COVID journey.”

The government would work with unions to determine which industries would still require workers to be vaccinated, with the health and education sectors likely to keep the vaccine mandate.

From April 30, hotel quarantine for unvaccinated international returning travellers will also end in NSW, while social distancing on public transport will also be ditched. Masks will still be required for commuters as well as on planes, inside airports and cruise terminals.

Industry groups welcomed the easing of restrictions, which they say will help address staffing shortages, particularly in retail and hospitality.

Australia’s latest 24-hour COVID data:

NSW: 17,447 cases, 16 deaths, 1641 in hospital, 69 in ICU

VIC: 10,674 cases, 11 deaths, 444 in hospital, 35 in ICU

QLD: 9281 cases, 15 death, 58 in hospital, one in ICU

TAS: 1468 cases, one death, 58 in hospital, one in ICU

WA: 9314 cases, two historical deaths, 248 in hospital, nine in ICU

SA: 4079 cases, three deaths, 241 in hospital, 11 in ICU

ACT: 1265 cases, one death, 61 in hospital, three in ICU

NT: 655 cases, one death, 49 in hospital, one in ICU

-AAP