Close contact isolation exemption rules extended to more workers

first Minister Scott Morrison It announced more changes to close contact rules to ease pressure on the workforce and supply chain shortages.

Speaking after the national cabinet meeting, Mr Morrison said the list of people who could return to work with a negative rapid antigen test result after being considered close contact had expanded.

“The immediate extension of this includes all transport, freight and logistics personnel,” he said.

“It is not just those who are directly involved in food distribution, they are all in the center of transportation, freight and logistics.

“This will include those who work at service stations. To ensure that they continue to be staffed and that people can access these services.”

Mr Morrison said the extension also includes all health care and support services, as well as emergency services, including law enforcement, correctional services, energy resources, water and waste management.

Food, beverages and other critical supply chain workers will also be included, but this does not extend to hospitality workers.

The prime minister said “telecommunications, data, radio and media” would now be included in the list of workers who could return to work if they were in close contact, but re-test the rapid antigen.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks after today’s national cabinet meeting. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Back to school ‘absolutely necessary’

Mr Morrison said it was very important for schools to return to the first term despite the high number of COVID-19 cases

“It is absolutely essential that schools safely return and remain safely open if we do not see the workforce challenges we currently face further exacerbate,” he said.

“Schools open means shops are open. Schools are open means hospitals are open, and that means aged care facilities are open, and that means essential services and groceries are on the shelves. That’s what it means to open schools, and it’s very important to go back.”

He added that schools should be “the first to open and the last to close where possible and the priority to be face-to-face learning”.

Mr Morrison said the National Cabinet will have more information on details about the return to school for parents and teachers next week.

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“We had a serious discussion about that today, and the advice from the panel of medical experts. We will confirm our views on that over the course of the next week,” he said.

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