News Coronavirus ‘Keep it out’: Scott Morrison crows to G7 leaders about Australia’s COVID suppression strategy

‘Keep it out’: Scott Morrison crows to G7 leaders about Australia’s COVID suppression strategy

Empty airports mean empty pockets for travel agents.
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australia will continue to pursue its aggressive COVID-19 suppression strategy.

He as told reporters in the UK, where he is attending the G7 summit as an observer, that he would “rather be living in the arrangements we have in Australia than anywhere else in the world”.

Mr Morrison said despite high vaccination rates in the UK, which has led to fewer hospitalisations, the country is still experiencing “very high numbers of cases”.

“At this stage of the pandemic, it is not clear where it goes next … the potential for new strains and other things to occur – it means there is still much we don’t know,” he said.

Australia’s suppression strategy has kept the nation’s borders closed and seen states go into lockdown over even signal-digit numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Victoria is the most recent to imp-ose sweeping restrictions on normal life, Melbourne emerging from a two-week lockdown on Friday.

Strict restrictions including a ban on home gatherings, a 25km travel limit and mandatory masks indoors and out will remain until at least June 18.

While Mr Morrison said Australians weren’t allowed to travel overseas, they can “go to sporting games, or they can go to work, they can live in an economy that is bigger today than it was before”.

“In Australia, we’ve been in a position where we have been able to suppress the virus and keep it out. That sadly hasn’t been able to be achieved here and across Europe and the United States and so their experience has been very very different,” he said.

“We’ll continue to take an Australian path on this which protects the lives and livelihoods and learn from the experiences of other countries.”

Asked what percentage of Australians will need to be vaccinated before international travel can resume, Mr Morrision replied: “We haven’t set any mark on that”.

Too soon to open borders

He added travel would happen “when the medical advice suggests that we should”.

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley says the country is “nowhere near” ready to discuss opening up.

“Other countries are already having that conversation but those countries are at 50, 60, 70 per cent vaccination rates. We are just over three per cent fully-vaccinated,” he told reporters on Sunday.

“What we need to do is have our focus on firstly keeping the virus at bay through dedicated risk-based quarantine facilities and keeping on top of outbreaks.”

Victoria recently secured federal government support for a purpose-built quarantine facility but Mr Foley said it was too soon to say when it would be ready to host returned travellers.

The state recorded one new COVID-19 case on Sunday – a close contact of a case linked to the Arcare Maidstone outbreak, who has been quarantining throughout their infectious period. They are not an aged-care resident.

Some 17,102 Victorians were tested in the 24 hours to Sunday morning, while 14,390 received a vaccine dose at state-run hubs.

Authorities continue to investigate the single new case reported on Saturday, a man in his 30s from City of Melbourne with a young family, who is likely linked to the state’s Kappa strain outbreak.

Six new exposure sites have been added overnight across Southbank and the Docklands, including Medibank’s offices, a McDonald’s and a supermarket.
About 2000 people are quarantining across the state.