COVID-19 numbers might be rising around the country but that doesn’t mean we should expect lockdowns according to PM Scott Morrison.
The PM insisted that the “days of lockdown are gone” in a new interview on Nine’s Today show earlier today, January 3rd, as per news.com.au. When the possibility of introducing a short-term circuit breaker lockdown was discussed, Morrison expressed his opposition to doing that. “It’s not about numbers,” Mr Morrison said, explaining that he viewed managing the virus as no longer being about the figures due to the Omicron variant being less severe.
“This is a different type of variant which requires an evolution of our response. The days of lockdown are gone. We’re going forward, we’re not going back – that’s not how we manage this virus. There will be high case numbers, but the severity is a lot less so you focus on your healthcare system.”
Morrison said that the Omicron variant was 75% less virulent and severe than the Delta variant, with the number of Omicron cases making it hospital being “very small.”
“We’ve gear changed with Omicron,” he said. “If you are in hospital at the moment, the primary reason for that is you weren’t vaccinated. The second reason for that is you’ve got Delta, not Omicron. We’re now dealing with a very different virus, so we’ve really got to change the way we think about it. That’s why talking about case numbers now is really not the point.”
He continued: “The issue is how we’re managing the impact on the health system. That’s why we’re ensuring we have sensible rules that allow people back to work.”
Morrison also insisted that the government couldn’t keep spending money combatting the virus in the manner it has done over the previous two years. There have been widespread calls for rapid antigen tests to be provided free to Australians.
“We’ve invested hundreds of billions of dollars getting Australia through this crisis,” he said. “We’re now at a stage of the pandemic where you can’t just make everything free, because when someone tells you they want to make something free, someone’s always going to pay for it and it will be you.”