The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) has expressed concern that the mandatory COVID isolation period will be scrapped for people who test positive apart from hospital and aged care workers.
ANMF Federal Assistant Secretary, Lori-Anne Sharp said that we were yet to see the real impact of dropping the isolation period from seven to five days, let alone removing the isolation period altogether.
“It’s a risk to remove all COVID safety precautions that will lead to an increase in cases and place further stress on our already stretched health and aged care systems,” she said.
Ms Sharp said the union was concerned that removing all isolation periods for the general community, particularly in the context of uncertainty regarding the emergence of new variants and potential waning immunity, would put further pressure on healthcare systems.
“We believe the suggestion that COVID-isolation is a matter of ‘personal responsibility’ is just a way of Governments shifting their responsibility onto the individual when it should be theirs.”
ANMF members have been on the frontline of healthcare and aged care throughout the pandemic and we’re concerned that we will now be relying on people to stay at home when they test positive, said Ms Sharp.
“Asymptomatic people can still be infectious and pass on the virus through the community.
“While we all want the pandemic to end, the sad reality is COVID is not over. We must continue to do all we can to prevent further pressure on our healthcare system and the precious nurses, midwives and carers who hold it together.
“National Cabinet must also be ‘flexible enough’ to reinstate public health precautions to prevent escalating cases, further healthcare crises and risk of increases in chronic disease burden from long COVID.”