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Open the regions call

Open the regions call

Aged car vaccination blitz as lockdown ease urged

With the latest COVID-19 outbreak infiltrating the aged care sector, staff are now the number one priority for vaccinations.

From today until Sunday, a vaccination blitz by the State Government will see workers in Commonwealth-managed private aged care facilities and the residential disability sector given priority access at State-run vaccination hubs.

The Traralgon Racecourse clinic is participating in the 5 day blitz, where workers can present between 9am and 4pm without a booking and wait in a priority queue to reduce their waiting time.

Meanwhile, Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull said that with another day of no coronavirus cases in regional Victoria, and concerns over live cases at the football now laid to rest, this week is time to ease restrictions in the country areas, should there be no cases by tomorrow.

"Keep the strong restrictions in the areas where there are active cases and higher risk, but the Covid-free country needs to be opened up," Mr Bull said.

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"The ‘ring of steel’ we had last time is far from what the title suggests, which is more a symbolic term only.

"Each day thousands of people travel in and out of Melbourne from Gippsland for essential reasons. For example, despite the work-from-home option, several hundred are currently travelling from Warragul into the city daily for work as they cannot work from home, with large numbers also from the Latrobe Valley.

"Then add freight drivers delivering food, medical supplies, building supplies and the myriad of other essential services that require transport are all coming in and out of the region daily from Melbourne.

"Of course we all need to stick the basic rules and those few who partake in non-essential travel to the regions should be slapped with the heavy fines that exist, but that can be done in the regions by the police locally.

"Like the way NSW successfully handled the Northern Beaches outbreak, we need to have restrictions in the areas that need it, and police it strongly, open up the regions that are coronavirus free, monitor the situation daily and make changes if and when required. And all along do the basics around hygiene and contact.

"Country people have proved time and again to be strong supporters of each other. Providing there remains no cases in the regions, if we ease restrictions people will support each other, whether it be booking a weekend away in another town, going out for dinner in their local town or supporting business in some other way.

"Country accommodation houses have done well in the past in booking-in only those from other country areas and essential workers - they can, and will, do that again.

"With so many travelling in and out of the city daily for essential reasons anyway, it is not right we cannot sit in a café in our local Coronavirus free communities and have a coffee with a mate.

"A short term state-wide lockdown was required while the football crowd issue was understood and cleared, but it is time to return to some normality for those country communities not impacted," Mr Bull said.

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