The mandatory Covid isolation requirement will be scrapped following the latest meeting of national cabinet, with exemptions for those working in high risk settings such as health or aged care.
Prime minister Anthony Albanese announced on Friday that disaster payments for workers diagnosed with Covid would also end, with the same exemptions for high risk workplaces.
“We wanted to make sure that we have measures which are proportionate and that are targeted at the most vulnerable. We want to continue to promote vaccinations as being absolutely critical, including people getting booster shots,” he said following the meeting.
“And we want a policy that promotes resilience and capacity-building and reduces a reliance on government intervention.”
Targeted financial support will continue for workers in aged care, disability care, Aboriginal health care and hospital care sectors, with the new payment to be funded 50:50 between the federal government and states and territories.
The changes will take effect on 14 October.
Chief health minister Professor Paul Kelly said isolation was not the only response to dealing with Covid.
“Isolation itself cannot be seen in isolation,” he said.
“It needs to be seen in the context of that high vaccination rate, high previous infection giving further protection, the availability of treatments, the availability of vaccines, including the new buy vaccines and all the measures we have in place to protect vulnerable people where they are.”
“It is time to move away from Covid exceptionalism, in my view, and thinking about what we should do to protect people from any respiratory disease.”
Albanese said it was time for the nation to begin transitioning from its ‘emergency’ settings.
“Over a period of time, the nature of emergency measures is that they’re not there with no end date in sight,” he said.
“We are changing our position based on changing advice and changing circumstances. And that has to occur.”
“There’s not a role for government in running every bit of people’s lives forever. And that is my firm position. You know, this isn’t an ideological thing. This is a practical outcome that was agreed across the board.”
More to come
Source: The Guardian