Daniel Andrews has hit back at Scott Morrison after the prime minister criticised his decision to keep Melbourne in Stage Four lockdown for another two weeks.
The Victorian premier has been slammed by the public, businesses and politicians over his refusal to reopen the collapsed economy.
‘The plan that was outlined yesterday, I hope, is a worst-case scenario,’ Mr Morrison said on Monday, a day after Mr Andrews released his highly-anticipated ‘roadmap to recovery’.
‘I see it as a starting point in terms of how this issue will be managed in the weeks and months ahead in Victoria.’
Mr Andrews fired back at Mr Morrison on Tuesday, saying ‘there’s just no place for politics’ when tackling COVID-19.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews fired back at Mr Morrison on Tuesday, saying ‘there’s just no place for politics’ when tackling COVID-19
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday said he hoped Daniel Andrews’ lockdown plan was a ‘worst-case scenario’
‘This virus will not be defeated by playing politics. I’d say to the Prime Minister the worst case scenario is being open for three or four weeks and then closed down again,’ he said.
‘That’s the worst case scenario. Absolutely that’s the worst case scenario and I’ll continue to work closely with the Prime Minister and his team.
‘There would be 15 minutes of happiness and then we’d be back in lockdown and arguably facing an even worse situation than we face now.
‘If I can be so bold as to have a judgement on these things – I think I’ve got some insight into what’s happening here in our state.’
New South Wales has managed to remove lockdown and keep its economy going while suppressing cases to an average of less than 10 per day so far this month.
Mr Morrison noted that Sydney would be under lockdown if it followed Mr Andrews’ road map.
‘What I can’t help but be struck by is that, under the thresholds that have been set in that plan, Sydney would be under curfew now,’ he said.
‘Sydney doesn’t need to be under curfew now. They have a tracing capability that can deal with outbreaks.’
But Mr Andrews said comparisons between Victoria and NSW are not ‘helpful or accurate in any way’.
‘The notion that NSW would be in certain settings if our rules applied to them. Well, of course, our rules don’t apply to them. They’re NSW and we’re not in the same situation as them,’ he said.
Under premier Daniel Andrews’ plan, released on Sunday, lockdown will only end when there are an average of five cases per day, which is not expected until October 26.
Until then, a curfew will be in place from 9pm to 5am and residents can only leave home for exercise, shopping, school and work, and caregiving.
Under premier Daniel Andrews’ plan, released on Sunday, lockdown will only end when there are an average of five cases per day, which is not expected until October 26
Daniel Andrews has said he will speed up Victoria’s road map out of lockdown if coronavirus case numbers fall faster than expected
Asked if Victoria’s contact tracing system was as good as New South Wales’s, he said: ‘Well, New South Wales can cope with much higher levels – and have. So, look, that’s, I think, just a matter of record.’
The prime minister said he wanted Victoria’s contact tracing regime to be beefed so it can handle a reasonable number of cases without requiring lockdown.
‘Lockdowns and borders are not signs of success in dealing with COVID-19. And so it’s important that we put ourselves in a position where they do not feature in how Australia is dealing with COVID-19 on a sustainable basis,’ Mr Morrison said.
On Monday morning, the premier said he is open to changing the plan.
‘If we saw things change dramatically then we would obviously remodel the whole thing,’ he told Melbourne radio station 3AW.
‘If the data was to fundamentally change then we would be standing up making different announcements.’
Mr Andrews also said he was not trying to eliminate the virus but suppress it enough that contact tracing teams can identify and isolate the contacts of every case.
The Victorian premier has been slammed by the public, businesses and politicians over his refusal to reopen the economy
Mr Andrews also said he was not trying to eliminate the virus but suppress it enough that contact tracing teams can identify and isolate the contacts of every case
He said after lockdown is lifted there will be cases but they would not necessarily mean a return to harsh restrictions, saying the state was not pursuing unrealistic eradication but controllable numbers.
‘A strategy where you’re trying to eradicate it would mean that if you had one case you would go back into lockdown. That’s the difference,’ he said.
‘This thing, it moves so fast, so silently, that it can get away from you so fast.
‘You’ve got to beat it first then you can find that new normal.’
On Monday Victoria announced nine more deaths from coronavirus, taking the state toll to 675 and the national figure to 762.
But there was some good news for the state, with new case numbers dropping significantly on Monday to 41.
It is Victoria’s lowest daily case number since June 26.
MELBOURNE’S ROADMAP OUT OF COVID-19 LOCKDOWN – WHAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO DO AND WHEN:
Step one: The first step will come in to place on September 13.
Step two: The second step will be implemented when Melbourne has 30-50 COVID-19 cases a day on average over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on September 28.
Step three: The move to step three will occur when there is a daily statewide average of five new cases over the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on October 26.
Step four: The move to step four will come when there have been no new COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. The aim is for this to come into place on November 23.
COVID Normal: After 28 days of no new COVID-19 cases, things will return to normal.
Step one – 11.59pm on September 13:
– Curfew will be eased to 9pm-5am
– People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention)
– Public gatherings increased to two people, or a household, for a maximum of two hours
– Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’
– Childcare and early educators to remain closed
– Schools will continue to learn remotely unless they have exemptions
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, unless they have exemption
– Only go to work if you are in a permitted industry
– Cafes and restaurants will continue with take away only
– Retail businesses will remain open for essential shopping, with others only operating with click and collect
– Only one person per household can do the essential shopping
Step two – September 28:
– Public gatherings increase again to five people from a maximum of two households
– Childcare and early educators can re-open
– Schools to continue with remote learning, but Prep to Grade Two and Year 11 and Year 12 students will gradually return to class in Term 4
– There will be an increase to permitted workplaces
Step three – October 26:
– Curfew is no longer in place
– There are no restrictions on leaving home
– Public gatherings increase to 10 people together outdoors
– A ‘household bubble’ will be introduced, so five people from one house can visit another
– Remote learning to continue, but Grades 3 to Year 11 can gradually return to class
– Adult education to continue to be done remotely, but hands on classes will see a phased return to onsite
– Work from home is encouraged
– Up to 10 people can eat together at restaurants and cafes, with the majority of tables outdoor
– Retail shops to reopen, with hairdresses operating under safety measures but beauty stores to remain closed
– Real estate agents can conduct private inspections by appointment
– The one person per household limit on shopping is to be revoked
Step four – November 23:
– Public gatherings to increase to 50 people outdoors
– Up to 20 visitors can attend a home at any one time
– All adult education will return to onsite with safety measures in place
– Groups limited to 20 indoors and a maximum of 50 patrons per venue
– All retail stores to reopen, while real estate agents can operate with safety measures and by keeping a record of attendants
Step five – COVID normal:
– Public gatherings have no restriction
– There will also be no restriction on visitors to homes
– Phased return to onsite work for work from home workers
– Schools to reopen as normal
– Restrictions on hospitality removed, but venues to continue keeping records