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New restrictions on visitors to aged care facilities represent sensible steps toward addressing the impact of coronavirus on the country’s most vulnerable citizens, United Workers Union said today.

The union’s National Aged Care Director Carolyn Smith said: “Aged care workers are on the front line of this crisis and they welcome steps to keep their workplaces as protected from coronavirus as possible.

“While the restrictions may be inconvenient and distressing for some families, aged care workers are extremely aware of their responsibilities to ensure appropriate infection control measures.”

Ms Smith said aged care workers should be supported by their employers during the coronavirus crisis.

“Aged care workers need the assurance they will be supported to meet the long-term care needs of their residents if they have to take coronavirus-related leave.”

Ms Smith said the new restrictions on visits came on top of the rigorous infection control measures that were already being deployed throughout aged care facilities.

West Australian aged care worker Jude Clarke said: “Aged care workers are extremely conscious that they will be working in these facilities as the crisis rolls on, and we have to be well prepared for whatever comes next.

“That also means aged care providers need to be giving us the personal protective equipment (PPE) we need so we can safely do our jobs.”

This morning the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said aged care providers throughout the country would face new restrictions to aged care visitors including:

  • Limiting visits to a maximum of two people a day for a resident.
  • Visits only to rooms or outside, no visits in communal areas where the risk of transmission to residents is greater.
  • Only short visits.
  • No large group visits or gatherings, including social activities or entertainment.
  • No visits of children aged 16 years or less, unless under compassionate circumstances.

Visitors would also need to be banned if they had travelled overseas in the past 14 days, if they had had contact with someone with Covid19 within the past 14 days, people who were showing symptoms or respiratory infection and, after May 1, those who had not been vaccinated against influenza.