WORLD Australian PM rules out lockdowns despite COVID-19 cases surge


Australian PM rules out lockdowns despite COVID-19 cases surge


16:22, December 21, 2021

CANBERRA, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has declared the country will not return to lockdowns despite record COVID-19 infections.

A man walks past a store that begins to open after more than 100 days of lockdown to help contain the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney, Monday, Oct. 11, 2021. (Photo: AP)

The prime minister said on Tuesday the time for "heavy-handed" government intervention to keep case numbers down was over.

"We're not going back to lockdowns," he said. "We're not going back to shutting down peoples' lives."

"There will be other variants beyond Omicron, and we have to ensure, as a country, and as leaders around the country, we have put in place measures that Australians can live with," he said.

His remarks came ahead of an emergency meeting with state and territory leaders on Wednesday to discuss the surge in cases across Australia.

Morrison said the meeting would focus on how Australians can continue to live with the virus "with common sense and responsibility" but that he would present "strong recommendations" for indoor mask use to continue.

Australia on Tuesday reported more than 4,500 new locally-acquired coronavirus infections -- the most since the start of the pandemic.

New South Wales alone reported 3,057 cases, the highest daily infection number among all states during the pandemic, while Victoria recorded 1,245. South Australia, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and Tasmania reported 154, 86, 16, 14 and four new cases.

Leaders will also on Wednesday discuss whether Australians will require a third booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The leaders of Australia's two biggest states -- Victoria and New South Wales -- on Tuesday confirmed they would push for shortening the interval between second and third vaccine doses to combat the spread of the Omicron variant.

Terms of Service & Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy to comply with the latest laws and regulations. The updated policy explains the mechanism of how we collect and treat your personal data. You can learn more about the rights you have by reading our terms of service. Please read them carefully. By clicking AGREE, you indicate that you have read and agreed to our privacy policies

Agree and continue