Scott Morrison has emerged from quarantine facing the biggest Covid-19 crisis since the pandemic began, urging Australia to ‘change gears’.
The Prime Minister has declared Australia needs to “change gears” in its fight against Covid-19 after emerging from quarantine.
Scott Morrison has been locked down in the Lodge for 14 days since returning from a trip to Europe for the G7, a tumultuous period which saw aand more than 12m Australians plunged into lockdown over an escalating Covid-19 outbreak.
Emerging from the Lodge for a crunch meeting of national cabinet on Friday morning, Mr Morrison declared Australia needed to “change gears” in its fight against the Delta variant.
“The country is very much keen for us to chart that way out of where we are. Australia has done incredibly well over the course of these last 18 months, but now we need to change gears for the road ahead,” he told reporters.
The Prime Minister played down divisions in national cabinet, after unity seemingly frayed over the vaccine rollout and hotel quarantine.
“I’m very confident that we’ll keep working together for what Australia needs, to continue to take us through what has been one of the most difficult times in our history.
“But national cabinet has done it before, I’m sure we’ll do it again today.”
Mr Morrison said he was “very encouraged” by more than 160,000 Australians receiving their vaccine on Thursday, claiming Australia’s sluggish vaccine rollout was “really gathering pace”.
He will push for an agreement on vaccine thresholds, codifying when lockdowns will be eliminated and paving the way for international and domestic travel exemptions.
“What does it mean and what can people expect in terms of restrictions and movement?” he told.
“It’s time to start laying it out for the Australian public. It is imperative that the premiers, chief ministers and I address that question.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Victorian counterpart Daniel Andrews will also push for a reduction in the number of international arrivals, arguing the hotel quarantine system was unable to cope with the highly infectious Delta variant.
“Our hotels are stretched, we are basically at capacity … We need an immediate reduction by 50 per cent. I will be raising that this morning at national cabinet,” she said an hour before the meeting.
It will be the first meeting between the prime minister and Ms Palaszczuk since the Queensland Premier accused Mr Morrison of failing to flag an indemnity clause for doctoring, allowing them to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged under 50 without the threat of legal action.