COVID-19 rules change on Sept 9

Isolation period  will reduce to five days, masks on planes no longer compulsory

Although experts (including the federal president of the Australian Medical Association – Prof Stephen Robson) believe virus could be live in people without showing any symptoms on days 5, the politicians in Australia have taken a different view when they met to discuss any changes to rules relating to COVID-19 restrictions.

From September 9, people who catch COVID-19 will only have to isolate for five days and not 7 unless they show symptoms or work in vulnerable settings of aged care or disability care work places.

Talking to Neal Mitchell of 3AW radio in Melbourne, the AMA president Dr Robson confirmed he had not seen the health advice to politicians, advocating that change, cutting the isolation time to 5 days.

The AMA president Prof Robson told Neal Mitchell that research done all over the world suggests that virus could still be live in people on day 5 on, without them showing any symptoms.

Such people could also return a false negative RAT result.

If health experts are to be believed, the politicians have taken the populist approach rather than a realistic and practical one, defying the research-based health advice.

In addition to cutting the isolation period, the prime minister and state and territory leaders also agreed to end a mandate on masks being worn on planes from the from September 9.

The changes were discussed on 3AW’s Breakfast show as well where it was discussed that the medical world is concerned.

Another expert, professor Bruce Thompson, Head of the Melbourne School of Health Sciences at Melbourne University told 3AW Breakfast the changes were risky.

Sending mixed signals, the decision on whether masks will still be required on public transport has been left to state and territory governments.

It is also unclear what will happen to the $750 disaster leave payments available to support people who cannot work while in isolation, post September. The incoming Albanese government had extended the payment from July to September in order to cover the risks posed by the winter, to avoid forcing people to go to work while infected if they could not afford to stay home.

National cabinet will meet again in a fortnight to discuss what will happen to the $750 payment beyond September.

The unions are advocating continuing of the payment if there are any mandated isolation rules.

Some are arguing to remove isolation altogether should the payment of $750 be discontinued.

Some experts believe the amount of support (of $750) may be reduced in light of the shorter period of isolation.

The PM would not be drawn on that for now saying appropriate decisions would be taken as and when things changed.

Justifying the changes, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said leaders agreed there was evidence that cutting the isolation period was a proportionate response to where the pandemic was up to now.

His own MP Dr Michelle Ananda Rajah had joined the teal Independent MP Dr Monique Ryan in expressing their concern tweeting 5 days isolation was not enough.

“We had a discussion about people looking after each other, people looking after their own health, being responsible for that and making sure that they look after each other”, Prime Minister Albanese added.

Regarding COVID-19 rules in Victoria, these changes could soon be reflected in an updated advisory by the state, including that of whether the masks should be worn on public transport.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews thought masks should remain for public transport in Victoria.

The premier said he would personally continue wearing a mask on planes.

But Premier Andrews hinted that in light of the COVID-19 rules changes, public health advice to work from home could soon be changed.

“We very much look forward to seeing the minister making that announcement, that’s being actively considered and we will make announcements about that very, very soon,” he said.

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