April 26, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

After decisions by the state governments in New South Wales and Victoria to scrap requirements for close contacts of positive COVID cases to isolate for seven days, three other Australian jurisdictions have followed suit, replacing isolation with other measures to slow the spread of coronavirus.

As with the changing rules in NSW and Victoria, the moves by three more states and territories to ease restrictions on close contacts put greater pressure on event organisers looking to keep COVID-19 out of their event setting, with organisers now having to review the measures and make potentially difficult decisions about event staff, all event attendees and especially those who are close contacts.

In the national capital, from one minute to midnight tonight, April 26, close contacts with no symptoms will swap seven days of isolation for wearing a mask in indoor settings when leaving the house, working or studying from home where practical, informing employers, educational institutions and the state government of close contact status and avoiding vulnerable settings including hospitals and aged care. For those who have to work outside of the house, a negative COVID test must be returned within 24 hours of the first day back in the workplace and then every two days following. Those attending events must return a negative COVID test within 24 hours of the gathering.

In Queensland, from 6pm this Thursday, April 28, close contacts with no symptoms will not be required to isolate, but must take four COVID tests – days 0, 2, 4 and 6 – in the week following their exposure, where a mask when leaving the house, not enter vulnerable settings including hospitals, aged and disability care or correctional settings, tell their employer of their close contact status and work from home if possible.

In South Australia, from one minute after midnight this Saturday, April 30, close contacts will not be required to isolate, but will need to take five rapid antigen tests for COVID over the seven days, wear a mask outside the house, avoid vulnerable settings like hospitals and aged care and inform employers of their close contact status. Those who are close contacts are also being asked to avoid non-essential gatherings.