CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s prime minister announced a 1,500 Australian dollar ($1,060) payment for workers in a hot spot state who must self-isolate for 14 days and don’t have paid sick leave.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the payment that will be available from Wednesday as disaster relief and it was offered after the Victoria government declared a COVID-19 disaster in the city of Melbourne on Sunday.
“It’s heartbreaking. This pandemic, this virus is taking a heavy toll and now’s the time, as it has been throughout this pandemic, that we continue to provide support to one another,” Morrison said.
The Victoria government is concerned that many infections are being driven by people who are tested for COVID-19 and return to work before they get the results back, usually two days later.
Starting late Wednesday, non-essential businesses will close in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, to try to curb the outbreak.
Industries that will have to close on-site operations for six weeks include most retail and manufacturing. Most construction businesses and meat works will have to scale down staff and operations.
Victoria on Monday announced 429 new infections and 13 more deaths overnight.