NSW cut the isolation period for people infected with COVID-19 to 10 days last week, but further reductions are under consideration.
State Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he believed the proposal was worth “strong consideration”.
Employment Minister Stuart Robert said it would be a decision for National Cabinet.
“But it just goes to show how well the nation’s doing, how strong our vaccination rates are, that these conversations are now being had,” he told Today.
It follows a move by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention to shorten the recommended isolation time for COVID-19 patients to five days, if they are asymptomatic.
The CDC similarly shortened the isolation time for close contacts – even recommending zero days in isolation for people who have had booster shots.
An expert backed the plan for Australia.
Professor Peter Collignon said it’s a balance between people being less infectious and the other costs of the rules such as economic impact.
He said changes need to be made more proportionate to risk, with only unvaccinated people most likely to become very ill.
“Day five is somewhat arbitrary but it’s at a level when your infectious dose and your ability to infect others is markedly lower for the majority of people,” he told Today.
“And that’s why they’ve picked that number.
“It could have been four days or seven days but every day you pick has both personal and economic consequences and you want to make the risk very low but you can’t necessarily make it zero for everybody. “
“You can’t eliminate COVID anymore.
“We need to keep the numbers down as low as we can but without, if you like, paralysing people and the economy.”
Meanwhile, NSW continues to call for people to avoid PCR testing unless they are directed to get one or have COVID-19 symptoms, with testing clinics overrun around the state.
Yesterday, at least one clinic was forced to turn people away even before it opened, as those seeking tests queued overnight.
But Pharmacy Guild of Australia NSW president David Heffernan said there was a shortage of rapid antigen tests on shelves due to the public holidays.
“Having these announcements obviously don’t help when pharmacies don’t have the ability to top up,” he said.
“There has been a spike in the demand of rapid antigen tests and therefore a lot of pharmacies have been depleted.”
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said more stock had been ordered.
“We’ve put an order in for 20 million rapid tests and my understanding is they will be available by the end of January,” he said.
NSW reported 6062 new COVID-19 cases and one death yesterday, with intensive care admissions rising only slightly.