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Time to end long Covid isolation, say business groups

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Business groups say it’s time to scrap the seven-day isolation period for household contacts of people with Covid-19, saying it’s creating staff shortages.

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Business NSW and the Victorian Chamber say the rules should be eased to ease the burden on businesses.

They are asking that close contacts be able to continue working and undergo daily rapid antigen tests.

Business NSW Chief Executive Daniel Hunter said NSW and Victoria had led the way for Australia with very high vaccination rates and demonstrated a capacity to live and work with the virus.

“The current isolation rules are providing a barrier to businesses as healthy people are forced to isolate unnecessarily,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

With NSW airport workers now exempt from household contact rules, there was an inconsistency and unfairness.

“This needs to be fixed so that all businesses can have fair access to workers.

“Business needs certainty and we know that they are already struggling with supply chain issues and staff shortages,” he said.

Victorian Chamber Chief Executive Paul Guerra said staff shortages continued to hamper business.

“We need to release the handbrake and enable businesses to operate at the maximum capacity possible and lead our economic recovery,” he said.

Labor frontbencher Bill Shorten agrees, saying a week of isolation was too long.

“Get vaccinated. If you’re sick, stay at home but other than that, seven days’ isolation is unwieldy,” he told the Nine Network.

“A lot of the rest of the world has got rid of it. I think it is time for us too.”

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