MELBOURNE, Australia — Finishing the job of vaccinating aged care workers and residents for Covid-19 and slicing up the cost of support for families and businesses will be on the agenda of political leaders during their meeting.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on June 3 announced states and territories going into lockdown for more than seven days to deal with outbreaks will get access to disaster-style payments of up to AU$500 ($383) a week.
Morrison and the premiers will discuss how to fund the scheme at a national cabinet meeting on June 4. The two options are a straight 50-50 split of costs, or one level of government would fund business support while the other handles households.
In any case, support will start to flow to Victorians from June 8, with the amount depending on whether they are casual or full-time workers and how much they have in savings.
“What matters is that businesses get the support they need and households get the support they need and the politicians do not need to have a discussion in public about how that is going to get done,” said Morrison. “We just need to get on with it.”
The federal government is also looking at ways to find out how many aged care workers have been vaccinated.
Because there are five pathways for staff to get their jabs, there is no way of knowing how many have been vaccinated.
But aged care providers will be asked to gather the information from their staff.
Morrison said the national cabinet would also discuss whether it should be mandatory for aged care staff to be vaccinated, which expert advisers have never recommended.
The advice is unlikely to change, but the prime minister favors the idea of states using public health orders, which Western Australia successfully used to boost the vaccination of quarantine workers.
Melbourne is bracing to enter the second week of harsh restrictions as the state government tries to stifle an outbreak that has infected 63 people.
Labor is blaming the federal government’s refusal to build more quarantine facilities and the sluggish vaccination rollout for the lockdown. However, the federal government has provided a memorandum of understanding to Victoria for a purpose-built facility.
With the national cabinet not having met since May 7, it will discuss the situation in Victoria and get updates on the vaccine rollout, international passenger caps, and the spread of the virus.
The leaders will also discuss a report on whether other countries should be added to India on the “high risk” list.
As per the World Health Organization, there have been 30,130 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 910 deaths. As of 27 April 2021, a total of 3,089,183 vaccine doses have been administered.
(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Saptak Datta)
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