National Cabinet rules out changing isolation period for positive COVID-19 cases, rejects proposal for 16-year-olds to drive forklifts

National Cabinet on Thursday discussed proposals to cut the isolation period for positive COVID cases down from seven days and for 16-year-olds to be allowed to drive forklifts.  

No changes will be made to the seven-day COVID-19 isolation period for positive cases, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced. 

Mr Morrison on Thursday said National Cabinet had agreed to keep the isolation period as is based on advice from Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly.

“We will… not be changing at this point the isolation period for a positive case of seven days,” he said. 

“We’ve considered that again further today with medical advice from the Chief Medical Officer and we believe the settings are right at seven days to ensure in how we’re managing this pandemic here in Australia.

“But that issue will remain under constant review.”

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Mr Morrison on Wednesday had floated the idea of cutting the isolation period down to five days as has occurred in some countries such as the United States.  

Meanwhile, a proposal to have 16-year-olds drive forklifts to alleviate workforce shortages has also been rejected by National Cabinet.

“I took the industry proposals that had come from our consultation in the transport sector for discussion at National Cabinet today,” Mr Morrison said. 

“We agreed to proceed no further with the issue of 16-year-old forklift drivers.

“We had a good discussion about it today and that is not something that we believe, collectively, that should be pursued at this time.”

Mr Morrison also announced each state and territory will reveal their operational plans for the return to school within the next few days.

The plans will be consistent with the principle of “getting schools open and keeping schools open”, the Prime Minister said.

“Where surveillance testing is elected to be done by a state and territory, including for early childhood education, the federal government will be supporting that 50-50 through the national partnership agreement,” he said.

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