Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has urged Australians not to be worried about rising Covid case numbers, insisting the nation has chosen to live with the virus.
‘Cases are not the issue and I know over a period of time we may have become conditioned to case numbers being the trigger. That’s not the case,’ he said.(source)
Morrison was speaking in Melbourne on Tuesday and said that high case numbers are fine as long as health systems can cope with any increased workload.
‘Facilitate, Rather Than Dictate’.
PM Scott Morrison had previously called on states and territories to ease their last remaining COVID-19 restrictions, as Western Australia announced plans to reopen its hard border to the rest of the nation.
Speaking at the Sydney Institute’s annual dinner on Monday night, Mr Morrison urged jurisdictions to ‘facilitate, rather than dictate’.
‘Australians kept their side of the deal, it is time for governments to now keep theirs; to step back and let Australians step forward,’ Morrison said. “to put Australians back in charge of their own lives, relying on the connecting points and relationships that exist between the state and the individual.’
Drop Remaining COVID Restrictions
Morrison has urged states and territories to drop their last remaining COVID restrictions., which comes as West Australian Premier Mark McGowan announced the state would relax its border restrictions from February 5th 2022 (source)
Mr McGowan made the announcement after Western Australia (WA) reached the 80 percent double-vaccinated mark, the last jurisdiction to reach the milestone.
While McGowan had come under fire from other jurisdictions for harsh border control, he said the measures meant WA residents were able to live normal lives. ‘We followed a different model to the others, and it worked,’ he said.
‘We can safely ease border controls and reconnect WA. I am confident this is the right time and the right way to take this important step.’
The prime minister also confirmed a two-week pause on allowing visa holders to enter the country without an exemption would end as scheduled on December 15. The decision will pave the way for skilled migrants and international students to return to Australia.
The prime minister congratulated WA for making it to 80 percent and for announcing plans to scrap its hard border.‘Australia is going to be connected and together again,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘This will be welcome news for thousands of Western Australians looking forward to reuniting with family and friends after so long apart.”
Travel bubbles with Japan and South Korea will also be able to commence.
“Much Milder Variant“
The pause was instituted due to concern about the Omicron variant, but Dr. Chris Moy Vice- President of the Australian Medical Association said evidence pointed to the new strain not being as serious as Delta.
‘If we are talking about a milder variant, even if it’s somewhat more infectious, hopefully, it won’t be such a threat,’ he told the ABC.
However, he did add ‘But on the flip side, if it is really infectious and we get a real peak in cases and say half are serious, it may still be a threat because we will get a large number of people in hospital at the same time.’ (source). Although it does seem as if Morrison wants to see Australia back to normal as soon as possible.
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