The state government is pushing for pre-flight COVID-19 testing for overseas passengers landing in Melbourne, as seven infected travellers remain in hotel quarantine.

No new coronavirus cases have been recorded overnight, with just 10 days to go until Christmas.

All seven of Victoria’s active cases are returned travellers who remain in hotel quarantine.

There has not been transmission in the community for more than six weeks.

More than 8000 test results were received on Monday.

NEW PUSH FOR TRAVELLERS TO BE TESTED BEFORE ARRIVAL

The Victorian government is pushing for stricter protocols for returned travellers that would force pre-flight COVID-19 testing for all passengers and airline crews.

There is currently no requirement for returned travellers to be tested for COVID-19 before boarding an international flight for Melbourne.

But the state government is lobbying the Commonwealth and National Cabinet to adopt the protocol to reduce the risk of the virus returning to Victoria.

“Victoria has recently raised the issue of pre-flight testing for anyone entering Australia with the Commonwealth and at National Cabinet,” a spokesperson said.

“We will continue to advocate for all jurisdictions to support this additional safety measure to ensure everything that can be done to lower the risk of coronavirus re-entering Australia is done.”

The forced pre-flight testing would be regulated by the Federal Government.

The state government is also in ongoing discussions with international airlines around testing protocols and procedures for crew arriving into Melbourne Airport.

Airline crew are currently not tested on arrival to the airport, do not stay in hotel quarantine, and are only tested on arrival at their home or hotel.

International crew members are required to undertake home quarantine following an international flight.

They must either undertake up to 14 days of quarantine at home or hotel, and can only leave if it is for an international departure.

However concerned airport staff have told the Herald Sun airline crew come into contact with dozens of people on arrival at the airport increasing the risk of an outbreak.

Concerns have also been raised about a lack of oversight of the self quarantine requirement.

“I know for a fact some international crew have left their hotel during their quarantine period,” a whistleblower told the Herald Sun.

It is understood increased infection control training and requirements, including appropriate use of PPE, are in place for airline and airport staff.

HOW COVID HAS CHANGED THE WORK WARDROBE

A hybrid work wardrobe combining comfort with traditional office style will be the “new normal” on the fashion front in 2021.

Power suits, heels and ties are being replaced with softer tailoring, sophisticated casual wear and flats.

It comes as new research reveals wearing pyjamas while working from home was not linked to lower productivity. But the study, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, found more participants who wore pyjamas during the day at least once a week reported their mental health had declined while working from home.

Katherine Power, co-founder of The Wardrobe Edit, Matt Davis, senior sales consultant at Kay & Burton and lawyer Melisa Hennessy, founder of Hennessy Legal, have all returned to face-to-face work.

They all say their work wardrobes have changed and are unlikely to ever return to the more formal attire they used to wear.

“From my experience, an unexpected consequence of COVID was a more personal, approachable side of the workplace, as the workplace merged with the home,” Ms Hennessy said.

“My wardrobe changed with it, with more structured traditional work pieces going to the back of the cupboard and replaced with softer shapes, knits, skirts and trainers,”

Mr Davis also ditched the traditional suit and tie combo for a more comfortable, relaxed look.

“On weekdays I’m still wearing a suit, however open neck with no tie is definitely more accepted,” he said.

Ms Power said: “COVID has taught us to live in the now. I am making sure I have a great outfit on at all times so that my most loved pieces are getting worn.”

Outfits – available in store and online at David Jones

Katherine wears: GANNI silk stretch satin long skirt ruffled leo print; GANNI silk stretch satin leo print long sleeved top; and PUMA Future Rider

Matt wears: Country Road slim poplin travel shirt; Altea jacket single breasted patch pockets; Joe Black flat front half lined sports trouser; and Tod’s Polacco casual business shoes

Melissa wears: Acler Bastor belted mini dress (own shoes)

FAMILIES STRUGGLE IN AU PAIR SHORTAGE

Parents unable to use childcare due to the demands of their jobs, including shift work and rural locations, are on the brink after six months without new overseas arrivals to take up au pair positions.

Changes were made to Temporary Activity 408 visas allowing those working in “critical” sectors to extend their stays in Australia, including registered childcare and before and after-school care providers.

But people who were privately engaged did not meet the same critical sector requirements. Since her family’s au pair returned to Sweden, mum-of-three Fiona Burns is considering quitting nursing because of the high cost of childcare. “I am forking out half of my wage,” she said.

New Zealand is the only hope for essential worker ­families struggling to find au pairs after the travel bubble opened up the option of travel without quarantine.



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