COVID-19: Latest National Cabinet statement affecting travellers
The National Cabinet meeting held yesterday pretty much announced the points affecting travel that was rumoured earlier in the day:
- Changes to hotel quarantine – separation of low risk domestic from high-risk international travellers. This might mean separate facilities
- Post Quarantine testing on days 16 or 17 – after they finish their 14 days quarantine
- Quarantine workers including transport workers – both directly and indirectly (ie their families) involved are now eligible for vaccines. All of these workers will now be subject to a daily COVID testing
- Travellers who have served 14 days in quarantine isolation in one state will now NOT have to repeat their isolation if they travel to another state. They WILL be subject to testing on day 16 and 17 post quarantine.
National Cabinet did not seem to address the following issues that were foreshadowed earlier in the day:
- Vaccinating people in quarantine
- Lowering international passenger capacity limits – temporarily
Cabinet did address the issues of COVID-19 vaccinations for aviation, interstate freight transport and mining Fly-in, Fly-out (FIFO) workers. Well, they did if you consider referring it off to get more advice.
The biggest change for most Australians, especially those under 60, is that they can now get the AstraZeneca vaccine if they request it from their doctor. To facilitate that, the government is arranging an indemnity scheme for those administering these jabs, so that patients cannot sue if there is an adverse outcome.
Aged care workers must now have at least their first vaccine jab by mid-September, and to support this, an employee vaccination support grant program will be available, including paid leave.
Can I just say, what happened to leadership? There was a time when politicians and prime ministers would actually be ahead of the curve. Now they are dragged kicking and screaming to implement long known responses.
Just one example. We have known it is important to have all transport and quarantine associated workers vaccinated, and we have also known that there is some resistance. Part of the fear was if vaccination was mandated, people (just like in aged care) might leave the industry, creating a staff shortage. It seems our politicians have forgotten the path of education. What about a program of peer workers involved in educating transport and quarantine staff to get the vaccine, instead of moving straight to mandating the jab?
I lived through the AIDS crisis, where a lot of these health policy responses were developed, tried, refined and evaluated. We know how to do this.
What happened to the things we learnt then? Remember that is only about 30 or 40 years ago. Within my and many others lifetimes. (scratches head, looks of frustration and disbelief).