September 1, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

From Friday September 9, people who test positive for COVID in Australia will only be required to isolate for five days, down from the current seven-day mandate.

Cases will be allowed to leave isolation after five days provided they don’t have symptoms and they don’t work in high risk settings, including aged or disability care. It is not clear whether those working in healthcare settings are included in the continuing seven-day isolation requirement.

“I believe, and First Ministers agreed, that on the weight of evidence this was a proportionate response at this point in the pandemic,” said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese following the National Cabinet meeting where the changes were agreed.

When pushed, Albanese would not be drawn on a timeline to scrap the COVID isolation period completely.

“We are clearly not in a position to do that at this point in time and no one was arguing for that to happen at this point in time,” he said.

In addition, Australia’s premiers and first ministers, along with the prime minister, agreed to remove the requirement to wear masks on domestic flights, a change that will also come into play on September 9.

Both of these changes will reduce the barriers to business events attendance, but, as with any relaxation of restrictions, may also increase the number of cases contracted in event settings, which evidence suggests are already a considerable source of transmission.