Move to scrap close-contact quarantine

National cabinet is moving to scrap quarantine requirements for all close contacts of COVID-19 cases as soon as possible as well as to transition away from PCR testing. 

Healthy people with mild respiratory illnesses will instead be encouraged to undertake voluntary self-isolation while symptomatic.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee will urgently review both measures and report back to the nation’s leaders. 

Australians are also poised to find out whether they will be offered a second COVID-19 booster shot ahead of an expected winter surge of infections. 

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the advice is expected by the end of the month on whether a fourth vaccine dose would be recommended for people over 65.

Mr Hunt said it was more likely than not a second booster would be advised.

The government has set aside $2.1 billion to prepare for winter, including $1.2 billion to help protect residential aged care and disability care sectors, $356 million to protect vulnerable population groups and a further $571 million for vaccines.

But while a COVID-19 spike is expected, it is unlikely to reach the same levels of early 2022, Mr Hunt said. 

Plans have also been drawn up to handle a new – and possibly more infectious – Omicron sub-variant. 


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