THE EASING of isolation rules by the Victorian government will significantly reduce the length of time players in the state are forced away from clubs.
As of Friday, close contacts in Victoria will only be required to isolate until they produce a negative PCR test, rather than isolate for seven days from the point of exposure.
Already this pre-season, Richmond and Western Bulldogs AFLW sides have missed a week of training due to single positive tests among their programs, while Hawthorn's Finn Maginness returned a positive test after training at the club during his off-season.
There was also a positive case in Carlton's AFLW side, but no overlap between the person's infectious period and training sessions meant the team has continued to train as normal, aside from one close contact.
There have been questions from clubs about what will happen if a player or staff member tests positive during the season and the ability to field a side for a match is affected as a consequence, but the AFL is yet to settle on a policy.
However, the new government rules will greatly diminish the likelihood of Victorian sides being forced to miss or reschedule games due to the need to isolate.
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A person who tests positive for COVID-19 in Victoria will need to isolate for 10 days, while those who have a positive case in their household will still need to isolate for seven days.
"To ensure the safety of everyone in our game and the community more broadly, the AFL will continue to be led by state government protocols," an AFL spokesperson said.
Isolation rules vary around the country:
- In New South Wales, fully vaccinated close contacts must isolate for seven days, and then limit their activity (eg work from home, avoid visiting aged care) for a further week
- South Australian close contacts must quarantine until otherwise notified by SA Health
- In Queensland, close contacts must quarantine for 14 days, and casual contacts must isolate until a negative result
- Western Australian close contacts must quarantine for 14 days