Greens call for Covid pandemic payment and isolation to continue

On November 8, the National Cabinet decided to remove the obligation for people to isolate themselves when they test positive for Covid-19 from October 14.

As Senator Jordon Steele-John, Australian Greens health and disability spokesperson, said.

“The removal of the requirement to self-isolate has left many people feeling vulnerable and deeply frustrated that their wellbeing is being ignored by the Australian government.

“I was proud to be invited to participate in an online town hall last weekend, where I joined hundreds of members of the chronically ill, disabled and immunocompromised community who, together with healthcare professionals and educators, shared their concerns about the lifting of isolation requirements.

“The Australian Greens are supporting the return of periods of isolation, while helping people self-isolate through the provision of the Pandemic Disaster Payment while in isolation. As a community, we need to look out for each other, and our government needs to continue to financially support people to stay home while testing positive for covid-19.

“At the forum, some people told me that with the lifting of the isolation requirements, they would never leave their house to go shopping or go out to dinner again. The Liberal and Labor governments have chosen to remove all restrictions, leaving people at risk of death or in poor health from covid with no choice but to self-isolate indefinitely.

“I have heard from healthcare professionals deeply concerned that the removal of isolation requirements will lead to overwhelming demand for an already exhausted and exhausted healthcare workforce. I have heard from teachers who are now deeply worried about spending hours a day, in poorly ventilated classrooms, with covid positive students.

“The Australian Greens stand in solidarity with workers and the community, and we call on state and territory governments to support our 20-point plan, on where the hearings come from to support our community through Covid-19.”

Background

In response to calls from City Hall, the Australian Greens pledge to:

  1. Publish unredacted health advice that was taken into account by the National Cabinet in the decision to remove the isolation requirement.

  2. Restore mandatory isolation for 5 days for people infected with Covid, to be reviewed in 12 months.

  3. Continue pandemic disaster payments for 5-day isolation, to be reviewed in 12 months.

  4. End mutual obligations for job seekers and other income support recipients.

  5. Government agencies must have a contactless service framework (including Centrelink).

  6. Provision of free rapid antigen tests on request, continuation of free PCRs.

  7. Changing the relevant regulation(s) to require covid-19 testing to be carried out at the request of a person receiving care or support.

  8. Fund ongoing public health campaigns, including prevention, treatment, the importance of wearing masks indoors, and the health risks associated with Covid-19.

  9. Free provision of N95 and KN95 masks upon request, including in health, aged care, disability and education settings.

  10. Data needs to be released more regularly, including full disclosure of statistics in high-risk settings (eg, congregate care).

  11. Increased funding for telehealth, to restore health items that were available in 2021.

  12. Stronger diagnosis and health support for people suffering from Long Covid.

  13. Establish a research center on post-viral diseases, including Covid-19, and an estimate of the disease burden.

  14. Review the NDIS criteria and processes to ensure people with disabilities with chronic conditions, such as long covid, can obtain assistance through the NDIS.

  15. The Australian government has set standards for auditing, retrofitting and maintaining safe indoor air quality.

  16. HEPA filters to be installed in government buildings and grants given to organizations and small entities to improve indoor air quality.

  17. Ensure that isolation requirements support the continuation of First Nations cultural practices and desolate affairs.

  18. Ministers of health must publicly commit to the ethical and non-discriminatory treatment of disabled, ill and immunocompromised people.

  19. Organize a national memorial and a moment of silence in all Australian parliaments to respect those who have died from COVID-19.

  20. Establish a National Center for Disease Control

/Public release. This material from the original organization/authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author or authors. See in full here.


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Elaine R. Knight