The Victorian government has announced an amendment to isolation rules for close contact essential workers on Thursday morning, following industry pressure as a result of extensive staff shortages.
From next week, asymptomatic workers in education, transport, emergency services, critical utilities and freight will be exempt from the seven-day isolation requirements.
"They can proceed to do that critical work that we need them to do and in those circumstances and given where the pandemic is up to ... that is a safe setting and critically important that they play those key roles in those industries and the food sector more broadly," Premier Daniel Andrews said.
The staff will need to remain asymptomatic and receive negative rapid antigen tests for five days.
However COVID commander Jeroen Weimar stressed the rules did not apply to everyone in the relevant industries.
"This is not an open slather," he said, "it applies to close contacts of a COVID positive case."
"Somebody who lives with somebody who already has COVID and what we allow for is for that person to leave the normal seven-day quarantine and attend work for the critical work function."
The isolation exemptions will also only apply to work attendance - close contacts must still home quarantine for all other purposes.
National cabinet is meeting tonight to discuss a nation-wide consensus on essential worker isolation requirements.
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