The Covid support package is clumsy – a cleaner solution would have been to make locked down workers eligible for jobseeker
The government’s decision to provide “disaster” payments of up to $500 a week to workers locked down in Covid-19 hotspots is, in principle at least, a welcome addition to the safety net that will help struggling workers and keep the economy on track. But the shambolic process that led to it, and some of the details, are far from ideal. And one wonders why we waited this long to introduce targeted, temporary insurance for workers stood down due to lockdowns.
This delayed response is further evidence that our early wins over the virus – among the best on Earth – led us to declare victory prematurely. While we got the initial health and economic responses to the pandemic right, there was never enough thought given to the end game. This is most obvious in the botched approach to the procurement and rollout of vaccines, and the lack of dedicated quarantine facilities built by either the states or feds.
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