Australian PM rules out reducing isolation period amid battle against COVID-19 in winter

PM at the QUAD Leadersí Family Photo, in Tokyo, Japan on May 24, 2022.

Australia’s Prime Minister (PM) Anthony Albanese has ruled out cutting the coronavirus isolation period from seven days.

Albanese on Monday said it is “not the time” to consider winding back the isolation period amid surging case numbers in the current winter months.

Dominic Perrottet, Premier of the country’s most populous state of New South Wales (NSW), has called for the federal government to consider cutting that period.

In response, Albanese said no change was imminent.

“The advice that is there from the Chief Medical Officer, Professor Kelly, was that now is certainly not the time for that to be reconsidered,” he told South Australian radio station FIVEaa.

red and white flower petals

“That’s something health officials will continue to look at. But given the increased spread of the COVID-19 virus in recent times that we’ll see continuing, it’s expected to peak over coming weeks, now’s not the time to change those provisions which are there.”

Coronavirus case numbers in Australia are expected to spike in the coming weeks, with authorities warning that “it’s likely” some millions of Australians will catch COVID-19.

More than 35,000 new COVID-19 cases and over 20 deaths were reported across Australia on Monday.

It comes at a time when influenza cases continue to soar. According to the latest Australian Influenza Surveillance Report, there had been 187,431 confirmed flu cases in Australia as of July 3 and 113 deaths.

map of Australia

Of those cases, 36,719 were reported in the two weeks leading up to July 3.

“From mid-April 2022, the weekly number of notifications of laboratory-confirmed influenza reported in Australia has exceeded the five-year average,” the report said.

More than 1,300 cases have required hospitalization for treatment, 6.5 percent of which were admitted directly to intensive care.