Australia under pressure to reinstate Covid-19 quarantine pay amid fresh wave

Sydney: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has convened a snap meeting of federal and state leaders next week as he needs to restore compensation payments for casual workers forced to isolate due to COVID-19 amid a new wave of infections. ‘s pressure. A renewed surge in cases exacerbated by the BA.4/5 Omicron coronavirus variant has alerted Australia’s health system as the total number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 far exceeds the record level seen earlier this year. is not far.

“I have told (state leaders) that we will meet from time to time. And it is appropriate that we meet on Monday. We are not meeting today because I am here,” Albanese told reporters in Fiji. On Friday after the Pacific leaders meeting.

Albanese, in power for only less than two months, said a June 30 end date had been set for quarantine wages of up to $750 ($500) for casual workers by the previous Liberal-National coalition government.

“We’ve inherited these decisions, but we’ve also inherited a trillion-dollar debt. And that’s something that wasn’t our responsibility,” Albanese said. Several state leaders have urged Albanese to bring back income support.

By the end of last year, the government had spent about $13 billion ($8.8 billion) on 2.4 million employees, according to official figures, while total federal support since the pandemic began is estimated to exceed $300 billion.

Australia began living with the virus earlier this year after immunizations rolled out globally, easing strict social distancing restrictions and snap lockdowns.

But the fast-moving BA.4/5 variant has forced officials to warn that there could be “millions” of new infections in the country over the next few weeks, even as they tried to stop the spread. Denied any strict restrictions for.

Since the pandemic began, Australia has had about 8.7 million cases and 10,549 deaths, far fewer than in many countries. Right now more than 4,500 are in hospitals due to COVID-19.