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Leukaemia Foundation responds to National Cabinet’s decision to end mandatory COVID-19 isolation period

Friday, September 30 2022

The Leukaemia Foundation has today responded to the National Cabinet’s announcement to end the mandatory COVID-19 isolation period next month.

Leukaemia Foundation CEO Chris Tanti said with adult blood cancer patients who contract COVID-19 face a one in three chance of death (34%)[i], significantly higher than non-immunocompromised patients, today’s announcement will likely prompt further anxiety for Australians living with blood cancer.

“As the majority of Australians have returned to life ‘as normal’, and with the relaxing of restrictions across the country over the past year, on the whole we’ve become increasingly complacent and less conscious of those around us.  However, for some of our most vulnerable Australians, including those living with blood cancer, there’s a fear that they are being ‘left behind’ as they continue to face the very real threat of serious illness from COVID-19,” Mr Tanti said.

“Our patients have reported experiencing feelings of isolation, uncertainty and anxiety which have only increased in recent times with many too scared to leave their homes and retreating further as they try to safely manage their health and avoid infection. We ask everyday Australians not to forget the infection control measures to protect vulnerable members of our community, including those with blood cancer.”

“While high vaccination rates has provided a general level of community protection, we know the COVID vaccine isn’t is as effective for blood cancer patients, therefore we ask the State and Territory governments to ensure timely and transparent access to COVID treatments.”

“The Leukaemia Foundation is continuing to do everything we possibly can to protect the people we support. With COVID-19 cases still in the community and today’s announcement that those who contract COVID-19 will no longer be subject to a mandatory isolation period, blood cancer patients continue to reach out for support and trusted information. We want to ensure them we are here to help and arm them with the right information to protect themselves.”

The risk of COVID death in hospitalised patients with a blood cancer is 39 per cent, compared with 21 per cent in hospitalised patients without cancer, which is almost double. This risk significantly increases to 47 per cent for blood cancer patients over the age of 60 who are hospitalised with COVID[ii].

The Leukaemia Foundation also conducted research in 2021 with findings highlighting an urgent need for greater support for blood cancer patients as COVID-19 proves to have had a significant impact on their mental and physical health. At least 35 per cent of blood cancer patients have experienced significant psychological distress regarding their diagnosis and treatment since the pandemic began[iii].

If you or a loved one are impacted by blood cancer, contact Australia’s blood cancer support line Monday to Friday from 10 am – 4 pm AEST via calling 1800 620 420 or anytime via

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Blood Cancer in Australia – facts and figures[iv]:

  • Every year, 19,403 Australians will be newly diagnosed with blood cancer such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma. In Australia today, more than 53 people will be told they have blood cancer – equivalent to one person every 27 minutes.
  • Every day, 16 Australians are losing their battle with blood cancer. 1 in 3 people with a blood cancer will not survive 5 years after diagnosis.
  • 135,000 people are living with blood cancer or a related blood disorder in Australia today. By 2035, this figure is set to nearly double.
  • The incidence of blood cancer continues to grow – over the past 10 years alone, the incidence of blood cancer has increased by 47%.
  • There is a 34% risk of an adult blood cancer patient who has contracted COVID losing their life – or a more than one in three chance of mortality[v].






Last updated on October 26th, 2022

Developed by the Leukaemia Foundation in consultation with people living with a blood cancer, Leukaemia Foundation support staff, haematology nursing staff and/or Australian clinical haematologists. This content is provided for information purposes only and we urge you to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis, treatment and answers to your medical questions, including the suitability of a particular therapy, service, product or treatment in your circumstances. The Leukaemia Foundation shall not bear any liability for any person relying on the materials contained on this website.