Victoria's parliament closed for urgent cleaning after security guard tests positive to coronavirus

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Victoria’s parliament is closed for urgent cleaning after security guard tests positive to coronavirus – as politicians nervously wait to see if they need to be tested

  • Parliamentary security guard tests positive on Thursday for coronavirus  
  • Victoria’s politicians are on standby to see if they need to be tested for covid 
  • It’s not known whether he was working when Parliament sat earlier this month 
  • Victoria’s Parliament House and grounds are now closed for urgent cleaning 
  • State of Disaster, Emergency extended four more weeks as 41 new cases found

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A security guard at Victoria’s Parliament House has tested positive for coronavirus.

Victoria’s Parliament House and grounds have been closed for cleaning and contact tracing has begun. 

Politicians are waiting on advice from Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to see if they need individual testing, although some have already taken this precaution.

The security guard tested positive on Thursday to the virus.

Victoria’s Parliament House pictured on Sunday.

A security guard has tested positive to coronavirus, prompting the closure of Parliament for deep cleaning

The Legislative Assembly room, pictured in August.  The MLAs last sat on September 3 and 4, while the security guard tested positive on Thursday September 10.

It is not yet known whether he was infectious and working when parliament sat earlier this month. 

The Legislative Assembly last sat on September 3 and 4, while the Legislative Council sat on September 1 and 2, according to the Parliament of Victoria website. 

Legislative Assembly Speaker Colin Brooks and Legislative Council President Nazih Elasmar said in a joint statement on Sunday that the contracted security guard had stayed home on the day and started to feel unwell.

‘Deep cleaning of the areas where the person worked in the building has been undertaken and is continuing. This is on top of the ongoing high-level cleaning already undertaken in Parliament House each weekday,’ the statement said.

Victoria's parliament closed for urgent cleaning after security guard tests positive to coronavirus

A woman is tested for coronavirus in Bonbeach, Melbourne on August 20. Victoria recorded 41 new cases on Sunday for a total of 19,835 of which 1157 are active.

The States of Emergency and Disaster which underpin the new coronavirus rules have been extended by a month

Parliament House and grounds have been closed for cleaning until further notice, however it is likely they may be re-opened in time for the Legislative Council’s next scheduled sittings on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Parliamentary security guards are unable to work elsewhere under current contract arrangements. 

Victoria recorded 41 new coronavirus cases on Sunday bringing the state’s total to 19,835 with 723 deaths, the DHHS said in an emailed release.

There are 1,157 active cases of which 116 are in hospital and 11 in intensive care. 

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the number of ‘mystery’ cases, where the source of community transmission cannot be traced, has fallen by 11 since yesterday, however he has extended the State of Emergency and the State of Disaster for another four weeks, beginning tomorrow.

Victoria's parliament closed for urgent cleaning after security guard tests positive to coronavirus

The Parliament of Victoria building and grounds (pictured on Sunday) are closed until further notice. The Legislative Council is scheduled to sit again on Tuesday and Wednesday. It is not known whether this will be affected

Victoria’s State of Disaster came into operation on Sunday, August 2, alongside the Stage Four restrictions.   

The State of Emergency was already in force at the time, and the two declarations have operated together.  

The State of Emergency is what allows the Victorian government to make emergency coronavirus rules such as making face masks mandatory, introducing covid-safe work plans and requiring people to isolate in quarantine.

The State of Disaster gives the police special powers to enforce them. 

Mr Andrews said the two declarations underpin the emergency coronavirus rules.

‘It underpins taking those safe and steady steps,’ he told reporters on Sunday. 

The State of Emergency and State of Disaster are now scheduled to end just before midnight on October 11. 

MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:

Step one: The first step will come in to place on September 13.

Step two: The second step will be implemented when Melbourne has 30-50 COVID-19 cases a day on average over the past 14 days.

The aim is for this to come into place on September 28. 

Step three: The move to step three will occur when there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on October 26.

Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23.

COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal. 

Step one – 11.59pm on September 13:

Curfew will be eased to 9pm-5am

People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)

Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours

 Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’ 

Childcare and early educators to remain closed

Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions

 Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption

 Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry 

– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only

– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect

– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping 

Step two – September 28:

Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households

Childcare and early educators can re-open

Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4 

 There will be an increase to permitted workplaces

Step three – October 26:

Curfew is no longer in place

There are no restrictions on leaving home

Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors

 A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another 

Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class

– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite 

 Work from home is encouraged

– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor

– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed

– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment

– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked 

Step four – November 23:

Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors

 Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time

 All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place

– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue

– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants

Step five – COVID normal:

Public gatherings have no restriction

 There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes

– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers

  Schools to reopen as normal

– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records 

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