Melbourne relaxes COVID restrictions but Bill Shorten warns of ‘third wave’ in aged care homes

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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews declared the city’s tough curfew – along with a number of other lockdown measures – over on Sunday – but former Labor leader Bill Shorten has raised concerns about the impact on the state’s aged care homes, where the majority of COVID deaths have occurred.

Visitor restrictions for aged care homes remain in place with permitted visitors with those for someone over 18 for emotional and social support with a limit to just one visitor, nominated visitors with a limit of just a single person for an hour per day, or to visit a dying family member.

No contact is required to be made with an aged care home prior to visiting, but it is still recommended since visitors also need to follow each home’s testing and entry requirements.

But the Shadow Services Minister Mr Shorten said he is concerned worried about virus outbreaks in aged care as restrictions begin to lift.

There have now been 624 deaths linked to Victorian aged care homes.

“I’m concerned that aged care isn’t right yet,” Mr Shorten told Today.

“I’m concerned that if there is an outbreak it takes them days and days to do the testing, not hours.”

“The last thing we want is a third wave.”

It is a valid concern. The Federal Government has attributed the high rate of coronavirus cases in Melbourne’s aged care homes to the high levels of community transmission.

While new case numbers have dropped in Victoria, the rate of testing has also fallen.

How many unknown cases could be out there in the community – and will people still maintain social distancing measures as restrictions are eased?