PRIME MINISTER CLOSING THE GAP PRESSER
PRIME MINISTER CLOSING THE GAP PRESSER

PM admits Vic lockdown isn’t working

Scott Morrison has warned further measures will be required to bring the COVID-19 outbreak under control in Victoria with the Prime Minister conceding the lockdown is "not getting the results we would hope for".

The Prime Minister has flagged a broader program of paid pandemic leave to ensure low income workers stay home if they are sick is on the agenda and more measures to tackle the aged care crisis.

Families may be given more assistance to evacuate elderly relatives out of aged care facilities where the coronavirus outbreak is killing residents in growing numbers as infected aged care staff continue to unwittingly spread the virus.

The biggest threat right now according to the Prime Minister was the significant number of daily cases that have no known cause, suggesting community transmission is still far higher than experts would like to see after weeks of lockdowns.

"We have now been in this lockdown now for some weeks, and we are not getting the results we would hope for. And as a result the further measures that are taken are certainly necessary,'' Mr Morrison said.

"They will have an impact on the economy - we understand that. But, equally, not containing these outbreaks will have that effect also. And so it's important that we continue to work together to get on top of this and to take whatever actions are necessary."

Victoria Police and members of the ADF on patrol in Melbourne. Picture: Mark Stewart
Victoria Police and members of the ADF on patrol in Melbourne. Picture: Mark Stewart


But Mr Morrison said there was no reason to fear further lockdowns outside of Victoria at this stage.

"No, I don't anticipate there being a need based on the advice I have for other restrictions elsewhere in the country,'' he said,

"I spoke to (NSW) Premier Berejiklian this morning. Gladys, and she is, rightly, constantly anxious but that's exactly where, I think, we should all be when it comes to those who are responsible for managing these situations. But the outbreaks are very well chronicled and the sources of those in New South Wales all defined. And so, I think that still gives us reason for, I think, encouragement in New South Wales. But not reason for complacency. I've never seen Gladys have a complacent day in her life."

But Mr Morrison said talks were continuing over unions' push for paid pandemic leave to help ensure sick workers on low income earners did not feel they should attend work even if they are sick.

Mr Morrison called Victoria’s shock number of 723 daily cases was ‘very concerning’. Picture: Gary Ramage / NCA NewsWire
Mr Morrison called Victoria’s shock number of 723 daily cases was ‘very concerning’. Picture: Gary Ramage / NCA NewsWire


"We're still working those discussions through as part of the process that the Minister for Industrial Relations is engaged in. It is best those discussions are held there. We're conscious of the issues and seriously pursuing them,'' he said.

However, the Prime Minister was careful to note that the record-high 723 cases in one day was not driven solely by aged care sector

"Aged care cases, including staff, account for just under around about 10 per cent of the total cases announced today,'' he said.

"Specifically in aged care, there were 16 cases of residents. The balance, 74 in total, 58 were staff. And staff contracting the virus, my advice is predominantly from community transmission."

The Prime Minister said the shock news that Victoria had recorded its worst day in the pandemic with a record 700 new cases was "very concerning."

"And so it's important that we continue to work together to get on top of this and to take whatever actions are necessary. The decisions are being driven by the data and by the evidence, as the Premier said,'' he said.

"And the actions that are being taken specifically to reduce mobility in the affected outbreak areas are very important. And I would just continue to encourage people to comply and work cooperatively with the requests that are being made."

Earlier, Treasury Secretary Steven Kennedy said he now expected three quarters of Victorian firms will remain on JobKeeper beyond September.

"In our latest estimates we now think at least 75 per cent of Victorian firms will stay on JobKeeper because of the circumstances they find themselves in compared to other states,'' he said.

Mr Kennedy said the worsening situation in Victoria had already ensured that some of the budget forecasts in the this month's budget update were already out of date.

Originally published as PM admits Vic lockdown isn't working


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