Lockdown is not on table at this stage in Australia: Prime Minister Scott Morrison

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The health minister, Greg Hunt, has been in touch with his opposite down here and they’ve been talking overnight. And so will, our chief medical officer is working with theirs. But there’s a lot still going on. So I don’t want to pre-empt any of that and it’s for the Victorian government to make those final calls. – Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, on possibility of another lockdown due to COVID 19

Photo © Lalit Shastri

Close on the heels of Morrison saying its for the Victorian Goverment to take the call, the authorities ordered a 5-day snap lockdown in Melbourne on Friday.

On the traumatising impact of the lockdown to contain COVID-19 last year, Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, in an interview with Neil Mitchell, 3AW, on Friday morning, 12 February, said: “It’s very real” in Victoria, and the rest of the country, also having gone through what Victorians went through, through the second half of 2021. 

Focussing attention on “proportionate, targeted responses”, the Prime Minister said, they are the most effective way to deal with COVID. It worked in Brisbane. “The short, sharp, sort of proportionate response that we saw in a couple of other states dealing with similar challenges proved to be quite effective particularly up there in Brisbane”. It also worked in New South Wales.

A precautionary, targeted, proportionate response is sensible. Explaining the strategy, Morrison said, one has got to give the contact tracers. For example if there’s an incident where someone was out of place and you want to get on top of that….It was a similar thing up in Brisbane and they did. And then they could move on again. 

There are rings of how you contain COVID. there’ve been quarantine breaches in states. There’ve been breaches and hotel quarantine is never 100 per cent failsafe, and to suggest it ever will be, is just not realistic. The issue is how you deal with it when it occurs and the contact tracing that then puts in place and the testing system and the response of Melburnians particularly, that once again, is tremendous. And that’s how you get back on top of it. We’ve had 220,000 people go through hotel quarantine around the country – 220,000.

On Vaccine

The vaccine removes, not entirely – no vaccine can remove entirely, just like the flu vaccine can’t do that, but it means that the virus changes in the risk it presents. And so then you’re not so much talking about cases as you are talking about the risk of serious disease in the community.

Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia is one of the best regulatory bodies in the world when it comes to vaccines. Because of the nature of COVID-19, the global pandemic, there is a much greater awareness and a lot more conversations happening around dinner tables about this. And there’s a lot more thirst for information about it. And that’s exactly what we’re going to meet as we roll out the vaccine around the country.

On Economy

We could cop an extra $44.5 billion on the interest bill. We’re heading for a $200 billion dollar deficit and there’s talk of structural change. Now, what does that mean? There will have to be expenditure review and cuts somewhere.

Photo © Lalit Shastri

At the moment the government is providing a very critical role in the economy and we’re going to continue to do that. The Treasurer made that pretty clear after last year’s Budget about our role going forward. On the issue of interest, the Reserve Bank governor has been pretty clear. Globally, let alone in Australia, interest rates are going to remain very low for quite a period of time. 

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