Anthony Albanese has ruled out scrapping the seven-day Covid isolation period that’s placing huge pressure on Australian businesses, hospitals and schools – with the NSW premier warning the rule could continue for up to two years.
Mr Albanese on Monday insisted he would not change the country’s policy and positive cases will still need to self-quarantine for a week for the foreseeable future – despite Australians with the flu being free from isolating.
‘The advice from the Chief Medical Officer … was that now is certainly not the time for (the isolation period) to be reconsidered,’ Mr Albanese told Adelaide Radio fiveAA.
‘That’s something that health officials will continue to look at, but given the increasing spread of the Covid, now’s not the time to change those provisions which are there.’
NSW premier Dominic Perrottet has pushed for a review of the weeklong isolation rule, suggesting it be cut to five days, with the premier raising the issue at national cabinet on Saturday.
Britain has scrapped isolation, while in Germany and the US, the quarantine period is just five days.
Anthony Albanese has ruled out scrapping the seven-day isolation period despite the prime minister facing increasing pressure to dump it
Mr Albanese insisted he would not make any changes and that positive cases would still need to self-quarantine for the foreseeable future
Mr Perrottet said bureaucrats have warned him the seven day isolation rule may be in place for another two years.
The Premier hopes isolation rules will be relaxed by September.
‘We need to look at reducing that period of time, because Covid is not going away. The advice we have received is that it will be here for another couple of years.’
‘As we move through the next phase of the pandemic we need to balance up the competing health issues – mental health issues, educational outcomes for our children, allowing people the opportunity to go to work.’
‘We need to get to a point culturally where there is a greater acceptance that if you’re sick and you have flu-like symptoms, you don’t go to work, you stay home until you’re better.
‘Now that’s culturally been something in the past but we need a greater emphasis on it so we can move away from mandates.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews agreed the isolation period should be reviewed some time down the track.
‘I don’t think it’s common sense [just yet],’ he said.
‘Even [Perrottet’s] own position at national cabinet on Saturday was not that it should occur right now in the middle of winter, but at some point.
‘We will get to that point at sometime in the future where we don’t have to isolate. But in the middle of winter, that’s not the right thing to do.’
Access to COVID-19 isolation payments will resume from later this week as health authorities try to stop the rising spread of virus cases across the country.
NSW premier Dominic Perrottet has pushed for a review of the seven-day isolation rule with the premier raising the issue at national cabinet on Saturday
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews agreed the isolation period should be reviewed some time down the track
Dominic Perrottet says he’s hoping that isolation requirements for Covid-19 can be reduced by the end of September
Employees who have tested positive for the virus and need to isolate from their jobs can receive the $750 payment, which will be available from Wednesday.
It comes after the federal government agreed to extend the isolation payments to the end of September. The scheme had expired on June 30.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the payments were reinstated following health advice on growing numbers of COVID-19 cases caused by a more infectious strain of the Omicron sub-variant.
He said the federal government would work collaboratively alongside the state and territory governments in helping to manage the third wave of Omicron cases.
The return of the isolation payments will come with a $780 million price tag, but the cost will be split among the federal, state and territory governments.
The government initially said it did not want to reintroduce the payments due to pressure on the federal budget.
With the rise in COVID cases, PM Anthony Albanese says the isolation period will not be reviewed
Mr Albanese has not indicated whether the September 30 deadline for the payments would be extended.
Case numbers are continuing to increase as a result of the BA.4 and BA.5 strains of Omicron.
Over the weekend, more than 78,000 new cases of COVID-19 were registered, with 107 deaths recorded.
More than 337,000 active cases were reported, while 4700 people were in hospital with the virus.
Experts have said the peak of the fresh wave of Omicron isn’t expected to hit until at least the end of July.
There’s been a 99 per cent rise in hospitalisations with COVID in the state since June 22.
‘We can’t force people to sit at home forever’: 2GB breakfast host Ben Fordham demands an end to Covid isolation rule
By 2GB breakfast host Ben Fordham
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has backflipped on a Covid policy over the weekend.
He’s brought back the $750 payment for people who test positive and face a mandatory 7 days isolation.
It’s for people who don’t earn sick pay.
So casuals and sole traders.
The Prime Minister has extended it until the end of September.
And I support that.
But here’s the broader issue.
At what point do we start making a tough call here?
The current system is sending us broke.
We’re forcing people to sit at home for a week after testing positive.
99% of them have mild symptoms.
And we’re then having to compensate them for missing work.
This latest policy backflip is going to cost taxpayers $780 million.
2GB host Ben Fordham says Australia needs to simplify things and remove the seven-day isolation rule for those that test positive for Covid
At some point very soon – we need to simplify things.
When you’re sick- you stay home.
And when you’re better- you come to work.
That’s how it works with the flu.
That’s how it needs to work with coronavirus.
There are no strict isolation rules in America, the UK, Sweden, Denmark or Norway.
They are back to normal.
We’re hanging onto old restrictions.
The whole point of getting the jab was to reduce the severity of the virus.
95% of us are double dosed.
More than 60% have had a booster.
And a fourth dose is available for people over the age of 30.
Yes, case numbers are high.
But the flu can kill people too !
And we’re not mandating how long you must stay home when you catch the flu.
And we’re not handing anyone $750 a week for doing so.
The NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet told us this morning:
‘In many cases at the moment- the current strand of influenza is more severe than the current strands of COVID.’
We can’t force people to sit at home forever.