“If we can see that these transmission chains are under examination then there is a reasonable chance for a slow, steady but gradual return to the workplace,” he said.
“But it won’t be a sentence on a given day. Rather, it will take into account what it means to be able to go back to work and maintain that distance and not overcrowded office space, which, you know, is clearly a higher risk in closed spaces.”
Asked if the office workers would be back in front of their buildings by Christmas, he said, “I think some, I think some can and should go back, but again, always, depending on the numbers. There is clearly economic activity by going back to work. Especially here in the CBD, it has to be in mind, but it has to be safe and steady, for sure. “
Professor Sutton said this year’s experience could “change the workforce forever”.
“People have discovered things about how to support them in the remote working arrangements going on and people may choose it for some flexibility and luxury …” he said.
He said how to achieve this needs to be negotiated in each workplace.
“I think there is clearly a benefit in people who work from home, in terms of the amount of physical spacing that is possible on public transport and the amount of physical spacing that is possible in office space,” he said.
“Again for people who are comfortable, happy and can be supported to work from home, this is not unreasonable to include it on an ongoing basis.”
Professor Sutton said there was “a lot of preparation” underway on how to reopen the office space.
“It’s going to be a changing workplace in that regard. There are some tough points, – public transportation, elevators – that you need to work through but I think again, if the numbers remain low, those stakes are much lower in the office as well.”
Health Minister Martin Foley said a balance must be struck between the companies that manage their employees and the health outcomes.
He said, “How employers and their workforce negotiate these things as the chief health official pointed out, must be set against health rules, but also against real-world delivery of business plans and economic impact.”
Should not be feared
Saturday’s single case comes as Melbourne residents celebrate the long weekend – the first weekend that restaurants, cafes and retail stores have opened since July – with penalties now imposed on home visits.
Melbourne can have two people from the same household plus dependents to visit their home. Only one Visit Event can occur per person per day.
Professor Sutton said it’s understandable that some Melbourne residents feel nervous about going out again.
“We deserve to enjoy ourselves now. We got to this amazing point where case numbers are so low and we have days where there are virtually no real cases so we have to go out, with all the precautions we’ve talked about, but we need to enjoy our life after three months of really restricted activity.” .
“I can’t talk about someone’s personal levels of anxiety but I’m confident to get out. We know how to protect ourselves. He’s doing the right thing, wearing a mask, keeping a distance, and making sure that if there are sick people around, we don’t interact with them.
“Through hygiene, cough etiquette, and wearing masks, we can continue our lives and should not be afraid.”
Europe is sweeping a second wave after enjoying the easing of the rules during the Northern Hemisphere summer, and Professor Sutton said vigilance should prevent that from happening here.
“We need to remain vigilant because there are countries in Europe that were in a festive mood only a few months ago and that are going through the worst times right now because as long as this virus is present, we need to be careful and make sure we are constantly on top of it.”
“This is our job but people can go about their lives with these change behaviors and I think people do and I hope people don’t feel much sense of anxiety and burden in terms of getting back to this normal lifestyle, but these are the hard habits.
“We spent a lot of time indoors, so I think we need to gradually return to this feeling of a new normal.”
The case could be a false positive
Professor Sutton said the new case on Saturday was of a “positive, low and isolated” person and the result would be subject to an expert panel process to determine if it was a false positive.
Melbourne has recorded 10 cases since Monday and only two “mysteries” with an unknown source in the past two weeks through October 28, while the regional state of Victoria has not recorded any total cases in the past two weeks.
Four COVID-19 cases emerged on Friday, with two “ weak positive ” cases considered that could be removed from the daily toll after investigations by a panel of experts. Another case may be a historical case, while one case is still under investigation.
There are “no plans” to quarantine one hospital
Age And the Herald You said Saturday that the Victorian government is in talks about the possibility of creating a single “coronavirus hospital” to treat all COVID-19 patients in a plan aimed at liberalizing the state’s health care system and stopping the virus from spreading among families.
A proposal to use a single site to treat all coronavirus patients, and to isolate Victoria state residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 in hospital, rather than in hotels, if they cannot safely isolate themselves at home, was discussed at this week’s meetings between officials from the Department of Health and Services. Human and Healthcare in Victoria.
On Saturday, Foley downplayed the possibility of ordering.
“We are always in conversations with our health professionals and stakeholders like AMA and others about the best way to respond to managing outbreaks of cancers and COVID cases, and the plans we have put in place with all of these groups are clear,” he said.
“While we don’t have any plans to implement this specific outcome. Of course we are always talking and looking for the best ways to respond to how to manage these really important issues and some of these conversations about the best way to respond to these issues are ongoing.”
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Ashley Macmillan is a breaking news reporter on The Age. Do you have a story? Email me at [email protected]
Matthew Dunkley is a digital editor for The Age. Based in the Melbourne newsroom, he was previously a business editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and Director of The Age and Melbourne Bureau for the Australian Financial Review.