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Victoria has backflipped on a rule which outlawed partners visiting one another if they lived at separate addresses.
After a storm of protest by Victorian couples, the state's chief health officer confirmed in a Twitter post tonight that "Stay at Home" rules would come into line with the more relaxed attitudes of other states.
"We have no desire to penalise individuals who are staying with or meeting their partners if they don't usually reside together," Professor Bret Sutton tweeted.
"We'll be making an exemption."
This followed an earlier edict from the Victorian Police Minister that those who didn't live together wouldn't be allowed to visit each other at home.
Lisa Neville responded to someone on Twitter asking if she could clarify if you could visit your partner if they lived alone.
"You cannot visit your partner for social reasons," she said.
"There are select reasons you can go to the home of your partner. They are outlined clearly in the directives of the chief health officers."
The directives state you should not have visitors and in turn, you should not visit the homes of others during the stay at home direction.
"Of course, you can welcome a visitor into your home when they are providing you with care and support when you are unwell, disabled, elderly or pregnant," it continues.
Regarding ‘Stay at Home’ rules: We have no desire to penalise individuals who are staying with or meeting their partners if they don’t usually reside together. We’ll be making an exemption. Hope that helps.— Chief Health Officer, Victoria (@VictorianCHO) April 1, 2020
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The direction came into effect at midnight on March 30 and will continue until April 13.
It applies to everyone in Victoria and asks that all residents stay home to stop the spread of coronavirus.
"To date, the majority of confirmed cases of coronavirus are linked to overseas travel, however there are an increasing number of locally acquired cases emerging in the community," the directive states.
"By staying at home and limiting your contact with other people, we can all reduce the spread of the virus.
"If you can stay home, you must stay home."
Victoria has 968 cases among 4804 across the country.
Premier Daniel Andrews was also asked on the rules this morning during a press conference, reiterating you cannot visit your partner.
"That's not work, that's not caregiving, that's not medical care, that's not shopping for things when you need them. It does not comply with the rules, so people should not do that," he said.
A reporter then asked him if couples were allowed out to exercise together, why couldn't they go to each other's houses.
"Oh look, I try and make these press conferences as factual as possible," he responded.
"If you want lines for your stories, really, that's not what I'm here for. I'm here to give you the information and the facts and to answer questions as simply and as plainly as I can.
"If you don't need to do it, don't do it.
"We've all got to play our part, and those who aren't will be fined."
The rules are different to other states such as NSW and Tasmania which are still allowing couples to visit each other.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said visiting a partner counted as care because it was essential for mental health.
"I would put that under care, absolutely, mental health, that's under care … we need to look after each other," he said.
Originally published as Victoria backflips on partner visit rule