The Victorian government is hoping that a new $1,500 cash incentive will encourage Victorians to stay home when feeling sick after a recent spike in coronavirus cases across the state forced the authorities to tighten restrictions once again.
Those who are eligible to receive the $1,500 payments include Victorians who have tested positive for coronavirus and individuals who have been in close contact with somebody who has tested positive for coronavirus who can’t rely on sick leave.
“This is about making sure there’s no financial reason for these people not to isolate and to go to work instead,” said Premier Andrews.
“People are, sadly, making the choice that public health is less important than the welfare and survival, in a financial sense, of their family.”
“They’re wrong to make that judgement but I can appreciate that that is a judgement that is being made.”
Despite calls from the public for a similar incentive for healthcare and aged care workers, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has baulked at the suggestion of a federal system of paid sick leave for people who should be isolating themselves who don’t receive any sickness benefits.
Mr Morrison has claimed that The Commonwealth is already doing “its bit” by providing $250 billion of support that has been put into the economy. The Prime Minister also believes that any initiatives relating to funding sick leave are “matters for the state to take up”.
Victoria recorded 17 new cases of coronavirus today, marking a full week of double-digit growth in coronavirus case numbers across the state, with an average of 21 cases per day.
Drive-through COVID-19 testing sites have seen a rapid increase in numbers over the last week resulting in delays of up to three hours.
Premier Andrews apologised for the increased waiting times and reiterated the importance of Victorians staying home and the need for Victorians to come forward and get tested if they show any symptoms of sickness.
If you’re sick, you can’t go out. If you’ve got even mild symptoms – you have to come forward and get tested,” he said. “And if you’re asked to quarantine – you need to do as you are asked. Not just for you, because it’s not just about individuals. This is about all of us.”
“I’m confident that our public health team is doing everything they possibly can, they simply won’t achieve the outcome that we want if people don’t support them,” he said.
At present, there have been six areas within Victoria that have been identified as coronavirus hotspots after recent figures show that more than 83 per cent of new COVID-19 cases across the country were reported in these areas over the last week.
These council areas include Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Darebin, Hume and Moreland.
People living in these areas have been asked to avoid interstate and regional travel to avoid the potential of spreading the virus to other regions.
Photo credit – iStock – Kerkez