Coronavirus Australia Update: Which workers are now exempt from close contact restrictions

A group of workers is now exempted from close isolation rules in Australia, National Cabinet announced.

The prime minister said some workers will be able to get a negative result for a rapid antigen test and go back to work to prevent the current supply chain problems plaguing the nation.

Here’s what we know about the new rules.

COVID-19 rapid antigen test
Certain workers in Australia will now be exempted from the close contact rules. (Anna Kuchera)

Scott Morrison said the new rules will ensure that essential services can “continue to be staffed”.

This will be in place for the following workers:

  • Transportation, Shipping and Logistics
  • health care workers
  • Emergency services including law enforcement, correctional services, energy and water resources, and waste management
  • Food, drinks and other vital good supplies
  • Food distribution system and production system – this does not include hospitality
  • Communication, data, broadcast and media
  • Education and child care
Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra.
Mr Morrison said the new rules are meant to help keep essential services open. (Sydney Morning Herald)

If you are one of the workers listed above, you will only need to return a negative rapid antigen test result before returning to work.

Mr. Morrison said this is to ease pressure on the workforce and supply chain shortages.

Why have the rules changed?

The changes come as many essential services and companies have experienced staff shortages due to close contact rules.

Empty supermarket shelves in Coles
Supermarket shelves are empty in Coles. (nine)

Mr Morrison also said it was “absolutely essential” that schools return to the first term this year.

“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.

With today’s announcement, teachers will only need to have a negative rapid antigen test result before returning to class.

Coles Eastgardens

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