Mandatory isolation periods for COVID-19 have been scrapped, following a decision by National Cabinet.
The rules forcing people to isolate themselves for five days (previously seven) if they test positive for COVID-19 will end from October 14, as per a decision made by the National Cabinet on Friday.
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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and state and territory leaders agreed people with COVID will no longer be subject to a five-day stay-at-home order, coming into effect from October 14.
The isolation period, however, will still apply to employees in vulnerable settings such as hospital workers and those in aged care, and disability care.
The decision to get rid of the mandatory isolation period will also mean the end of pandemic leave payments for affected workers, with the payments also ending from 14 October. Support will continue for workers in the above sectors.
This massive change marks the end of one of the last remaining pandemic restrictions which were enforced more than two years ago.
Some state and territory leaders had urged ahead of national cabinet for an end to mandatory isolation periods.
However, the president of the Australian Medical Association Steve Robson earlier on Friday blasted leaders who had advocated for a scrapping of isolation measures.
“People who are pushing for the isolation periods to be cut are not scientifically literate and are putting the public at risk, and they need to understand that,” he told the ABC.
“We’re seeing a huge upswing in the numbers of COVID cases again. It’s coming into holiday season when people would be travelling around the world.
“It’s a period of significant risk and we’re urging caution because we need to protect the health system.”