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Australia PM announces “disaster payment” for workers with COVID-19

Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison

Kampala, Uganda | XINHUA |   Australia’s prime minister has announced a coronavirus paid pandemic leave scheme.

Under the scheme announced by Scott Morrison on Monday, Victorian workers who need to isolate after testing positive to the virus but do not have access to paid sick leave will receive a 1,500 Australian dollar (1,067.4 U.S. dollar) “disaster payment.”

“That means that for those who need to self-isolate as a result of an instruction by a public health officer, there is no economic reason for you to go to work,” Morrison told reporters.

“This pandemic is a disaster and we need a disaster payment when it comes for people who have to isolate for a period of 14 days through no fault of their own, regardless of what their job is, what employment they’re in, they need that support.”

Morrison said that he expected the payment to mostly benefit short-term visa holders who are not eligible for the government’s “JobKeeper” wage subsidy scheme.

“Those payments will be principally made to those on short-term visas — those who are not permanent residents or citizens of Australia who otherwise wouldn’t have accessed Commonwealth payments,” he said.

It will be extended to more states and territories if they declare a state of disaster as Victoria has.

The announcement was made hours after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced that non-essential businesses across the state will be closed from Wednesday night.

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