Victoria's Coronavirus State of Emergency: Onto Staying Safe and Open

Victoria’s coronavirus state of emergency is extended until 16 December from the earlier deadline of 15 March. The bill to extend the state of emergency was passed in the Upper House on 9 March as the government scored support from crossbench members.

Victoria's State of Emergency

During a state of emergency, legislative bodies create specific laws that make these special powers legitimate. Opposition’s  Upper House David Davis said the crossbench members of the parliamentary (MPs) had a sell-out with the bill.  Mr. Davis said the government will continue to hold “unbridled power” until December.

Victoria's State of Emergency Victoria's Coronavirus State of Emergency | My Delta Care

With the ongoing pandemic, the Andrews government vowed to create specific legislation on public health and wellbeing during the state of emergency, which is extended until December. 

However, if vital legislation is created and passed early, the state of emergency may be lifted ahead of the end of the extension.

VIC's current coronavirus status

Here are the recent updates on coronavirus cases in Victoria as of 11 March, according to the Department of Health COVID website.

VIC's state of emergency set to stay for 2021

Under the bill, the nine-month extension of the state of emergency was passed by the Legislative Council after three crossbench MPs supported it, giving a single-vote edge for the government. 

VIC's state of emergency set to stay for 2021 Victoria's Coronavirus State of Emergency | My Delta Care

They are the Reason Party MP Fiona Patten, Greens leader Samantha Ratnam, and Animal Justice Party MP Andy Meddick.

The newly passed legislation also indicated that young people who breached safety protocols are subjected to lower penalties whilst the appeals processes are changed for individuals with detention orders.

Who gets the emergency powers?

Chief Health Officer Dr. Brett Sutton and other authorised officers appointed by Secretary Kym Peake of the Department of Health and Human Services will continue to enjoy legal powers throughout the period to enforce public health orders. 

Who gets the emergency powers Victoria's Coronavirus State of Emergency | My Delta Care

These include government rules about mask-wearing, hotel quarantine, and even searching of premises without a warrant. 

Also, state of emergency powers allow detention for a reasonable period to reduce or eliminate public health risks as well as restrictions like the hard lockdown enforced on North Melbourne public housing.

Government’s COVID-19 Responses

Data on the total number of people with dementia is currently not available. However, it is estimated that in 2020, there are between 400,000 and 459,000 Australians with dementia alongside Alzheimer’s disease.

It is expected to grow. The aging of Australia’s population will lead to an increase in individuals with Alzheimer’s over time, as the condition is increasingly common with advancing age and primarily affects older Australians. The cases of dementia are expected to increase dramatically. 

Impact of dementia: Australia statistics

The Victorian government led by Premier Daniel Andrews offers different support packages for businesses and people affected by the pandemic. Here are some of the programmes:

Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on the Elderly

Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on the Elderly Victoria's Coronavirus State of Emergency | My Delta Care

Out of 2,061 cases in aged care facilities in Australia, 1,988 came from Victoria with 655 deaths. Whilst many outbreaks in these facilities could have been prevented, staffing shortages and the alleged undelivered training in personal protective equipment use hindered the response.

Effects of COVID-19 on Australian seniors

The current pandemic has brought negative impacts on elderly residents. Primarily, non-COVID senior patients are neglected and denied treatment. 

Like people over 70-years-old who are asked to self-isolate and stay home, seniors in care facilities are not allowed to leave the facility and restricted to have visitors. Whilst this may limit the spread of the virus, these policies put them at high risks of anxiety and depression.

“Not over in January 2022”

With the recent nine months extension until December, Victoria now has the longest time in a state of emergency as approved by the Upper House. Premier Daniel Andrews said they needed to enforce rules and extension of restrictions to keep us open whilst keeping us safe, so mask-wearing is highly necessary.

Government’s projection of the pandemic

As Greens leader Samantha Ratnam noted, the battle against SARS-COV-2 is still far from over. Ratnam said this will not be over yet by January 2022. Thus, the Victorian government continues to require travel permits for those going to the state. Flights from New Zealand resumes at 11:59 pm on 11 March.

Vaccine rollout update

Since the COVID vaccine roll-out started on 22 February, Victoria had a total of 22,3173,984 administered doses. VIC continues to build more vaccine hubs, although it depends on the vaccine supply gathered by the government.

Closing

The extended state of emergency powers bill aims to further limit the spread of the virus. The government has nine months to extend its vaccination program to reach herd immunity. Also, the chief health officer could use his special powers to pass legislation to further protect its old and young people beyond the restrictions.

Check out helpful articles on Delta Care website about aged care and health concerns.

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