Mandatory quarantine period for COVID-19 has been abolished as per the decision of the National Cabinet.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and state and territory leaders agreed after a meeting in the Capitol on Friday that people with COVID-19 will no longer be subject to the five-day stay-at-home order.
This change will take effect on October 14th.
However, the quarantine period will still apply to employees in vulnerable environments such as hospital workers and elderly caregivers.
The decision to end the mandatory quarantine period also means the end of pandemic leave payments for affected workers, which will end on October 14th.
Remaining payments to workers in vulnerable situations are split 50/50 between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories.
Prime Minister Albanese said the measures were balanced and would target the most vulnerable.
“We need policies that promote resilience and capacity building and reduce reliance on government intervention,” he told reporters in Canberra.
“It was a unanimous decision by the national cabinet today, with the support of all prime ministers and prime ministers.”
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the number of cases was low and the need for isolation eased, but the pandemic was not over.
But he said the emergency response phase of the virus has passed.
“We will almost certainly see a future peak of the virus well into the future, as we saw earlier this year,” he said.
“But now is the time to think that there is more we can do to protect the most vulnerable, and that is our main purpose.”
Professor Kelly said lifting the quarantine was a reasonable course of action.
“In my view, it’s time to move away from COVID exceptionalism and think about what we can do to protect people from respiratory disease,” he said.
“We can’t see isolation per se. We need to look at these measures and the protections we have, and other protections. We will retain the option to change these settings in the future.” It is important to keep
The prime minister defended his decision to end pay for pandemic leave, saying it was the right time for a change.
He said state and territory leaders supported the decision.
“It is not sustainable for the government to pay people’s wages forever,” he said.
“These measures were always assumed to be emergency measures in place.
“Flu and health problems have been around for a long time, and governments haven’t always stepped in to pay people’s wages, even though people have health concerns.”
Professor Kelly said COVID-19 will be around for years to come and the response to the virus will be proportionate.
Some state and territory leaders, such as New South Wales Prime Minister Dominic Perrotet, have called for an end to the mandatory quarantine period ahead of the national cabinet.
But early on Friday, Australian Medical Association President Steve Robson slammed leaders for advocating for the end of quarantine measures.
“People who are calling for shorter quarantine periods need to understand that they are ignorant of science and are putting the public at risk,” he told ABC.
“The number of COVID cases has increased significantly again. The holiday season is upon us as people travel around the world.
“We are urging caution because this is a time of great risk and the health system must be protected.”