COVID Iso Period Cut to Five Days and Face Masks Scrapped on Domestic Flights

australia covid restrictions

The COVID isolation period has been cut from seven days to five days while passengers will no longer be required to wear a face mask on domestic flights.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced an overhaul of COVID policy today following a meeting with National Cabinet on Tuesday night.

“First ministers reinforced their commitment to continued collaboration between Commonwealth, state and Territory governments in managing the pandemic,” he said.

“The National Cabinet agreed the isolation periods for COVID-19 positive cases would be reduced from seven to five following a positive test.”

However, the changes will not apply to everyone. Only those without symptoms after five days would be allowed out of isolation, while those who work in “high risk” settings, like aged care, disability care, and home care would still have to remain in isolation.

“Clearly, if you have symptoms, we want people to stay home. We want people to act responsibly.”

Currently, anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 has to isolate themselves for seven days. That will change when the new rules take effect from next Friday, September 9.

More info on the changes will be coming through Services Australia, Albanese said, explaining that government staff would update information by next Friday.

In addition, the PM announced that the National Cabinet agreed masks would no longer be required to be worn on domestic flights. These changes will also come into effect from September 9.

With the cut to the isolation period, questions remain as to paid pandemic leave. Albanese did not determine exactly when and how that paid government leave in order to isolate would be removed but noted that changes would come “at an appropriate time”.

“We haven’t changed the arrangements with regard to payments, we will have a meeting about that in a couple of weeks time,” he said.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has been calling for nationally consistent COVID policies while VIC Premier Daniel Andrews has said that if COVID isolation is to remain mandatory, then payments must also be given out to workers who cannot take leave.

Will We Soon Have No COVID Self-Isolation Rules?

On September 14, Albanese flagged that all of Australia’s COVID isolation rules could be potentially scrapped at the end of the month. Moreover, he may have given his hand away.

“There are different arrangements in place in countries, but what we are seeing is gradually a move towards COVID being treated like other health issues,” stated Albanese.

“Clearly, we saw that with the reduction that we made last time from seven days to five.”

However, no changes have been locked in, and there are a lot of moving factors. Albanese explained that Australia is expecting that some more COVID waves might crash around the planet, thanks to a northern winter.

“We will have a discussion about future arrangements on the 30th of September, when the National Cabinet will meet in person,” said Albanese. ”

We’ll take advice at that time.”

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