SYDNEY (AFP) – Australia announced on Wednesday (August 31) that it would shorten its mandatory Covid-19 quarantine to five days and lift mask requirements on domestic flights. This is the most significant easing of restrictions in months.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the still-rigorous Covid-19 rules would be eased slightly from 9 September, with the quarantine period reduced from seven days, providing some relief for businesses suffering from chronic labor shortages. I was.

“This was a fitting response at this point in the pandemic,” Albanese said.

Australia previously rolled out some of the toughest Covid-19 restrictions in the world, closing its borders for two years and locking most major cities for months.

This strategy has worked well for much of the pandemic, but since January the number of detected cases has increased significantly, now exceeding 10 million.

Death tolls are also rising, but high vaccination coverage has kept deaths to 14,000 since the virus first emerged, a relatively low number for a country of about 26 million people. I’m here.

Staff shortages are common as workers are frequently forced into quarantine and fewer people move to Australia.

The country’s unemployment rate fell to 3.4% after workers took their jobs.

Albanese said the relaxed rules only apply to people with no symptoms of Covid-19.

“Obviously, if you have symptoms, we want you to stay home. We want you to act responsibly.”

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