New South Wales recorded 804 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8:00pm on Monday, marking its biggest number since early October.
It comes less than a day before NSW lifts restrictions for unvaccinated people, allowing them to enter gyms, retail businesses, restaurants and recreation settings for the first time since the state entered lockdown in June.
At the same time, health authorities are bracing for a spike in cases ahead of Christmas, telling nearly 700 people who attended a Newcastle nightclub exposure sight to get tested and isolate for a week.
There are two main payments people can claim if they are forced to quarantine or isolate in NSW.
Test and Isolate payment: $320 for isolation period
The Test and Isolate support payment was made available to all NSW workers from 9 September.
The $320 payment is available to people who need to isolate while they wait for their COVID-19 test results.
To access it, workers need to be older than 17 and have had a COVID-19 test at a testing centre within a week of applying for the payment.
They also need to be able to prove that they would have been likely to have worked during the self-isolation period, and have lost income due to their isolation requirements.
Workers are ineligible if they are able to work from home during their isolation period or are receiving any other form of income, including sick leave pay, Pandemic Leave Payments or other Centrelink support payments.
People who have been directed by NSW Health to test and isolate, because they’re a known close contact, are also unable to access this payment, although they can access the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.
Workers can apply for this payment once a month.
Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment: $750 every seven days
People who have been forced to isolate or quarantine due to a COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure can access the $750 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.
Previously, the scheme offered $1,500 payments for people who needed to isolate for 14 days, with the smaller payments reflecting the reduced quarantine expectations for fully vaccinated people.
“If a person is unable to work for longer than seven days, they can make separate claims for each seven-day period,” Minister for Emergency Management Bridget McKenzie said.
“The changes to the payment reflect the equivalent assistance over a shorter period.”
To access this payment, people need to have either been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are deemed a close contact of a confirmed case, or need to care for a confirmed case or close contact.
Like the Test and Isolate payment, workers need to show they have lost income due to the isolation requirements and are also not receiving any other income in the form of sick leave, carers’ leave, Centrelink payments or a wage or salary.
People can claim this payment by calling 180 22 66, or by using the online form.
Centrelink Crisis Payment: $315 for people in severe financial hardship
People already receiving Centrelink payments can also claim payments if they are required to isolate following a COVID-19 test or diagnosis.
This payment can be claimed twice in a six-month period and is available to Centrelink recipients provided they apply within 14 days of entering isolation or quarantine.
They also need to have savings less than two weeks’ worth of the maximum rate of their income support payment if they’re single, and less than four weeks if they’re in a couple.
The Crisis Payment is equivalent to one week’s pay at the maximum basic rate of their income support payment.
For a single person on JobSeeker without children, that would be $314.75.
Full-time students claiming the ABSTUDY living allowance while living out of home would be able to claim the same amount.
This payment is claimed through the myGov online portal, and then through Centrelink.
Alternatively, people can call their regular payment line.