Australia has some of the toughest disease control measures in the world. Some of the most recent COVID-19 restrictions are now being eased.

At the height of the pandemic, millions of people have been forced into extended lockdowns, masks have been made mandatory and many frontline workers, including medical staff and teachers, have been told to get vaccinated or face losing their jobs.

Australia barred most foreign nationals from entering the country after closing its borders in March 2020, with Australians requiring government permission to leave the country.

Tens of thousands of Australians have been trapped overseas, some unable to return home for months due to border restrictions and no flights.

Australia’s COVID stronghold has been dismantled and its borders are back open with few, if any, restrictions. Other pandemic measures remain in place but are now being lifted.

In addition to hospital and nursing home workers, the mandatory isolation period for people infected with the virus will be reduced from seven to five days if they have no symptoms.

Masks will no longer be required on domestic flights. The measures will come into effect on September 9.

However, health experts warn that the restrictions could trigger another wave of infections. They estimate that about a third of patients with COVID-19 are potentially contagious on the sixth or seventh day after contracting the virus.

“We will be watching very closely how this affects the pressure on hospitals and we will urge the government to review this if we find things are getting worse,” said Steve Robson, president of the Australian Medical Association. , which represents many doctors and other health professionals. “I think a lot of what we’ve seen overseas is literally catastrophic.”

A few months ago, the United Kingdom abandoned the legal requirement for self-isolation of COVID patients. In England, adults with symptoms have been advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until they are better.

Germany recently reduced the period of isolation to five days. France has reduced the requirement from 10 days to seven, with COVID-positive patients allowed to leave isolation on the fifth day if they return a negative test. The isolation period in Japan remains 10 days for those with symptoms.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 10 million cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded in Australia. According to the government, almost 14,000 people died.

Almost 12,000 new infections were reported on Friday.

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