Australia's most senior health adviser has defended telling politicians to stay away from the "very big mixing pot" of federal parliament.
But despite agreeing to scrap two upcoming sitting weeks, Labor wants to ensure parliament resumes later next month, concerned the government is avoiding scrutiny.
Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly advised the prime minister to cancel a sitting fornight planned from August 4, which the opposition and others reluctantly accepted.
"Parliament House is a very big mixing pot for the whole country when you consider where people come from, both parliamentarians and their staff coming to Canberra, mixing, meeting and so forth," Professor Kelly told ABC radio on Monday.
"It is very difficult to keep those physical distancing requirements."
Many people have pointed out employers around the country have moved to online workplaces during the coronavirus pandemic and questioned why parliamentarians don't do the same.
Professor Kelly said the work of politicians continued, even if they did not meet in person.
"Parliamentarians are continuing to work in their electorates, absolutely, and the government is continuing to work," he said.
"I have a meeting with the prime minister and other members of the cabinet in eight minutes, so I will need to go there."
Labor wants to convene a working group to develop protocols around parliament returning on August 24.
Tony Burke and Katy Gallagher, who manage opposition business, have written to the Speaker of the lower House and President of the Senate.
The pair argued cancelling parliament should always be the last resort.
"With five weeks between now and the next scheduled sittings of 24 August, we have the time and the opportunity to determine the arrangements and health protocols that would allow parliament to sit, should the health challenges be ongoing," they wrote.
"Parliament has already achieved the very difficult task of holding in-person sittings during the pandemic, and has done so without jeopardising the health of those inside Parliament House or residents of the ACT.
"No doubt, the current situation presents new and complex challenges, but these challenges should not be viewed as insurmountable."
Professor Kelly hinted that more sitting weeks could be cancelled.
"At this stage it's a two-week delay, and that will be reassessed as that time comes closer."
The government has rejected Labor's demand to hold additional Senate estimates hearings in the absence of parliament sitting, but a coronavirus committee will convene extra hearings.