Australia will end mandatory five-day home isolation for people infected with COVID-19 in mid-October, the government said Friday, removing one of the last remaining virus restrictions as the country moves out of the "emergency response" phase of the pandemic.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the Oct. 14 move is a proportionate response based upon changing health advice and changing circumstances.
"We want a policy that promotes resilience and capacity-building, and reduces a reliance on government intervention," Albanese said in a televised press conference.
The end of mandatory self-isolation will also see the scrapping of income support payments for workers forced to take unpaid leave due to infection, with the exception of workers in high-risk settings such as aged care and health care.
Speaking alongside the prime minister, the country's Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said it is time to move away from "COVID exceptionalism" and treat it like other respiratory diseases, adding that the emergency response phase is likely "finished."
Australia has slowly eased most of its pandemic restrictions over the course of the year, as vaccination rates rise and infection numbers stabilize.