NSW keen to drop close contact isolations

NSW could drop COVID-19 isolation requirements for more industries even if it means diverging from rules in other states and territories.

But any plan to do so could hinge on its southern neighbour.

Victoria and NSW are the two most populous states in Australia but the chief health officers from all seven states and territories sit on the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, chaired by chief medical officer Professor Paul Kelly.

That committee is reviewing close contact isolation rules around the country.

The AHPPC said last month it supports phased changes to remove the routine quarantine requirements for all close contacts of positive cases, who have to isolate for seven days even if they test negative.

The committee said the appropriate time to implement changes would not be until after the anticipated peak of the COVID-19 BA.2 sub-variant of concern.

While it would prefer to have a consensus on changes, NSW will at least attempt to make any changes in line with Victoria if the other committee members don’t agree, a spokeswoman for NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard told AAP.

Any changes would be made with health safeguards as a major focus, the spokeswoman said.

Some changes have already been made for select industries, such as air transport workers, as travellers faced queues at Sydney Airport this week while COVID-related isolations were partly blamed for a lack of available staff.

Victoria followed with a similar decision on Tuesday.

Retailers and hospitality operators are calling for their industries to be next in line to be exempt from close contacts needing to isolate for seven days.

NSW reported 18,265 new cases of the virus and eight deaths on Wednesday.

There are 1583 people in hospital with the virus, 71 of them in intensive care wards and 24 of them on ventilators.

– AAP

The post NSW keen to drop close contact isolations appeared first on The New Daily.

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