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Australia reinstates emergency pandemic payment for workers amid battle against Covid in winter

July 16, 2022 03:57 PM

Canberra, July 16 (Agency) : Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has bowed to pressure to reinstate the emergency pandemic leave payments for workers infected with the coronavirus.

Following an emergency meeting with state and territory leaders, Albanese on Saturday announced that up to 750 Australian dollars (509.6 million US dollars) of payment for workers forced to isolate due to Covid will remain in place until September 30.

It comes after Albanese faced criticism for not extending the scheme beyond its June 30 end date amid a new wave of Covid infections in the current winter months.

Health Minister Mark Butler has warned "it's likely" over coming weeks that some millions of Australians will catch the virus, with some of them catching it again after perhaps having caught it earlier this year.

On Saturday, Albanese said the changed health circumstance in the new wave meant the payment would remain in place.

"I want to make sure that people aren't left behind -- that vulnerable people are looked after and that no one is faced with the unenviable choice of not being able to isolate properly without losing an income and without being put in a situation that is difficult," he told reporters.

Extending the scheme will cost an estimated 780 million Australian dollars (530 million U.S. dollars), with the federal government sharing the funding 50-50 with the states and territories.

Australia on Saturday reported more than 35,000 new Covid cases and more than 70 deaths.

As of Friday afternoon, a total of 8,687,125 cases of Covid have been reported in Australia, with 10,582 deaths and 328,080 active cases, according to the latest figures from the Department of Health.

There were 4,602 cases being treated in Australian hospitals on Friday including 144 in intensive care units.

 

 
 

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