The State Government has announced upcoming changes to COVID-19 requirements in alignment with decisions agreed to by all states and territories at the National Cabinet.

Starting Thursday, the pandemic declaration will end, and Victorians will no longer be required to isolate after testing positive to COVID-19, with isolation for positive cases now strongly recommended.

Requirements for close contacts, such as continually testing negative on a rapid antigen test, will become strong recommendations – joining the strong recommendation to wear a mask indoors, which will remain in place.

Targeted financial support will continue for eligible healthcare workers, including in Aboriginal, hospital, aged care and disability care work, including those providing in-home care.

The financial support will continue supporting these workers to isolate if they test positive to COVID-19, protecting their patients.

On advice from the commonwealth chief medical officer, the decision to end mandatory isolation periods was unanimously agreed to by first ministers at a meeting of National Cabinet last week, with each jurisdiction to implement the change via their relevant public health legislation.

The Department of Health will put in place secretary directions to ensure there is no disruption to vaccination requirements in health service settings.

The directions – which are already used each year to require healthcare staff to be vaccinated against the flu – will allow for vaccination requirements in public, denominational and private hospitals, as well as public sector aged care facilities, day procedure centres and throughout ambulance service.

“We’re making sure there are still requirements in place to protect our dedicated healthcare workers and vulnerable Victorians in high-risk settings like aged care, disability settings and hospitals,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Powers also exist under occupational health and safety laws and departmental secretary directions to require vaccinations for people in workplaces, including in the public service – allowing employers to decide which measures are most appropriate to keep their workplaces protected against COVID-19.

Every Victorian business or organisation with on-site operations must still keep a COVIDSafe Plan at their workplace and workplaces should regularly review and update their COVIDSafe Plan.