The Australian Covid isolation period has been reduced to five days for people without symptoms

The Australian Covid isolation period has been reduced to five days for people without symptoms

The Australian Covid isolation period has been reduced to five days for people without symptoms

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The national cabinet has decided to reduce the Covid isolation period from seven to five days for people without symptoms.

But the seven-day mandatory isolation will remain in place for workers in high-risk settings such as elderly care and people who are still ill.

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, announced Wednesday that state and territory leaders had accepted the change based on an update from interim chief medical officer Professor Michael Kidd.

Albanese called the approach “proportionate” to the changing circumstances of the pandemic.

“This would apply to people without symptoms,” he said. “Clearly, if you have symptoms, we want people to stay at home, we want people to act responsibly.”

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The national cabinet also agreed on Wednesday to lift the requirement to wear a mask on domestic flights. Both measures will take effect on Friday 9 September.

Albanese said the national cabinet is “collegiate” and reaffirmed the need for a coherent approach at the national level. Leaders will meet again in fifteen days to consider whether pandemic vacation payments would be extended beyond September 30, the deadline.

“Today we have decided to reduce [isolation]”Said Albanese. “This is a change. We have not changed the methods regarding payments ”.

Payments will be reduced, however, to approximately $ 535 from the $ 750 seven-day isolation fee.

The prime minister rejected suggestions that people would be forced into five days of solitary confinement since October without government support, saying it was yet to be determined.

He indicated that the five-day isolation period would be further shortened or canceled, but there was no timetable for that.

“We will continue to evaluate these issues and what restrictions are appropriate at any time,” he said.

The national cabinet had discussed the role of personal responsibility when it decided to cut the period of isolation, Albanese said.

“We talked about the people who care for each other, the people who take care of their health, the people who are responsible for it,” he said. “This is what happened. There are no mandatory requirements for the flu or a host of other diseases that people can suffer from and what we want to do is make sure the government responds to the changed circumstances. “

Kidd recommended that the reduction in isolation not apply to people working in aged care, disabled care or home care facilities to help protect people who were “particularly vulnerable”.

Prof Nancy Baxter, head of the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne, said the decision was not guided by health considerations.

“This is policy-driven, it’s not science-driven,” he told Guardian Australia.

“Politicians want to talk about the pandemic as if it’s over… and we’re getting this lowest common denominator where any restrictions you can get rid of, any protection you can get rid of is a good thing.

“For this reason we won’t see a spike in cases, but what will happen is that people will be infected at work who otherwise could have avoided it.”

Baxter also said Covid-19 cannot be considered as other viruses or the common cold, indicating the 550 people who have died in the past 10 days.

“What other virus is one of the main killers of Australians?” she said.

The latest data from the federal health department suggests that there are approximately 111,000 people currently suffering from Covid. About 3,000 people are hospitalized across the country.

The national cabinet had considered cutting the isolation period at last month’s meeting as the number of Covid cases was peaking across the country, but this was not supported by chief physician, Professor Paul Kelly. .

NSW premier Dominic Perrottet had advocated a reduction in the isolation period, arguing that people had to change their minds to manage the virus as with other infectious diseases.

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It was supported by the federal opposition leader, Peter Dutton, who said the community expected there to be a change and that “the premier and prime minister should deliver”.

“Clearly we are now entering a phase where the isolation period will shrink and the provisions … that were in place at the height of Covid will begin to relax,” Dutton said Tuesday.

Earlier Wednesday, the treasurer, Jim Chalmers, said the cost of the pandemic leave had to be taken into account by the national cabinet after the federal government agreed in July to extend assistance through September.

“We’ve shown in the past a willingness to be responsive to conditions, but that kind of support can’t go on forever given the economic and fiscal situation we’ve inherited,” said Chalmers.

However, the unions argue that as long as the isolation periods are imposed by the government, the support payment must remain in place.

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