Australia announces paid pandemic leave for those required to self-isolate in Victoria state


World, Oceania

Authorities predicted that the latest restrictions in country's biggest cities would cost around 250,000 jobs

Workers push trolleys past an empty shop in Melbourne’s central business district on August 3, 2020 after the state announced new restrictions as the city battles fresh outbreaks of the COVID-19 coronavirus. (AFP)

Canberra: Victoria state, Australia’s coronavirus hot spot, announced on Monday that businesses will be closed and scaled down in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said nonessential businesses will close starting late Wednesday in Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city.

The new restrictions followed Andrews on Sunday declaring a disaster in Melbourne and introducing an evening curfew for six weeks. Andrews predicted the latest restrictions would cost 250,000 jobs.

Victoria announced on Monday 429 new infections and 13 more deaths overnight. Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the infection rate would continue at 400 or 500 new COVID-19 cases a day without the new restrictions.

Industries that will have to close on-site operations for six weeks include most retail and manufacturing.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Monday that workers in Victoria state will be entitled to a 1,500 Australian dollar ($1,060) payment if they are required to self-isolate for 14 days and they don’t have paid sick leave.