Victoria lifting code brown health alert

Victoria will lift its COVID-19 health system alert as state authorities declare the worst of the Omicron wave has passed.

At midday Monday the unprecedented “code brown”, implemented more than three weeks ago, is due to be lifted.

Health Minister Martin Foley said on Friday the government is confident the alert can be safely lifted, but hospitals are “still going to be very, very busy”.

Melbourne public hospitals will continue to be restricted to emergency and urgent elective surgery with the exception of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Royal Eye and Ear Hospital.

Those two hospitals, and regional public hospitals can resume category two elective surgery if staff are available.

The code brown alert implemented in January came as the Omicron wave placed pressure on the hospital system, with urgent services cut back and staff leave postponed.

Victoria reported 7223 new cases and 18 virus related deaths on Sunday.

Some 465 people are hospitalised, with 181 people in intensive care and 17 on ventilators.

Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday there is room for the state to adjust some of its restrictions and requirements “now that we’ve hit the peak of Omicron”.

QR code check-ins are “under very active review” with announcements expected soon, Mr Andrews says.

Queensland has ditched check-ins at venues that don’t require proof of vaccination and Mr Andrews suggested Victoria would ease its requirements by the end of February, in line with NSW.

Density limits are also under review.

More than half of Victoria’s eligible population have received a third vaccine dose.


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