“We’ll have more to say about changes to the public health orders over the course of the coming week,” Mr Foley said.
“As we’re seeing in NSW at the moment, and we’ve seen in Victoria, mask-wearing is a very important component of making sure that we cut off chains of transmission of the virus in the May/June outbreaks that we’re just at the end of mopping up now.
“As much as 25 per cent of those outbreaks were in indoor workplace settings, masks play a role in keeping that under control, those potential workplace transmissions are considered when the decision is made.”
He also warned returning holidaymakers, coming home as the school holidays draw to a close, that they must know if they have been in red or orange zones.
Mr Foley said he was not nervous about families returning from holidays interstate but reminded people some would be required to test and isolate.
“I’m not nervous because I have strong faith in Victoria Police along the Murray, and our authorised officers at the airports.” He said he also had faith in returning Victorians, who knew that by doing the right thing, keeping themselves safe, they would keep their community open.
“The truth is our biggest risk is Victorians coming back from areas where the virus is circulating in the community, and those are the red zones that are currently in place in large areas of NSW, particularly around Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, and in those areas of Greater Brisbane and some of the surrounding areas like the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.”
Authorities had been seeing high levels of compliance of people coming back through using the permit system, Mr Foley said. “I want to thank Victorians for that. We know there are many families who will be returning as school holidays wind up. We require them to get the appropriate permit and to follow the appropriate rules.
“To be clear, you are obliged if you’re coming back from an orange zone to get tested within 72 hours, and to isolate until you get your negative test. If you’re coming back from a red zone, then you are required to isolate for 14 days with a number of other restrictions on you.
“If those areas of red zone transition to orange zone during that period of time, the Department of Health will be in contact with you and figure out how that applies to your particular circumstances, and we hope sees you released in a safe way.”
Professor Cheng moved to the state health role from his roles in Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at The Alfred hospital and Monash University.
Professor Cheng briefly returned to Twitter on Sunday to post a note about his time as deputy CHO.
“I don’t think I’d fully appreciated the meaning of ‘public service’ before this – the dedicated army of people who try to make things better for Victorians,” Professor Cheng tweeted.
“Not everything goes to plan, but what matters is that we learn and that the system improves over time thanks to the tireless work of thousands of people.
“My thanks also to Premier Daniel Andrews, Deputy Premier James Merlino and Health Minister Martin Foley for the faith they have put in the public health team to guide Victoria through this challenging time.”
Professor Cheng also said the current outbreaks in NSW and other states reminded everyone that the pandemic was far from over.
“The last few weeks across Australia have been a reminder that COVID isn’t close to over yet, and I’m sure there will be many challenges to come as we navigate our way through the next stages of the pandemic,” he said.