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National cabinet discussed cutting the COVID-19 isolation from seven days to five when it met on Saturday, but Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says the clear medical advice is “now is certainly not the time” as infections continue to rise across Australia.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet last week suggested that the seven-day isolation requirement should eventually be reduced to five days, though not during the current winter surge in cases.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has left the door open to a future cut in the length of the isolation period.Credit:Flavio Brancaleone

However, Albanese has left the door open to a future cut in the length of the isolation period, telling Adelaide radio station 5AA that, during Saturday’s national cabinet meeting, “we [state and federal leaders] had that discussion and the advice that is there from the Chief Medical Officer, Professor [Paul] Kelly, was that now is certainly not the time for that to be reconsidered”.

“That’s something that health officials will continue to look at,” he said.

“But given the increased spread of the COVID virus over recent times that we’ll see continuing – it’s expected to peak in the coming weeks – now’s not the time to change those provisions which are there.”


Albanese also defended his government’s decision to backflip and reinstate the $750 pandemic isolation payment, pointing out the decision to end the payment had been taken by the Morrison government.

“What we did was inherit that decision [to end the payment on June 30].

“When we received advice from the chief medical officer and other health officials, which I received on Friday, we acted very quickly to convene a meeting of the national cabinet and I’m pleased that all of the premiers and chief ministers agreed with the proposal to reinstate it, limited until the 30th of September.”

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