Australian Prime Minister hints at the end of ‘Covid Zero’

Australian Prime Minister hints at the end of 'Covid Zero'

Morrison’s article comes as Sydney, Australia’s largest city, recorded 830 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, the highest number of new daily infections so far, despite being on lockdown since late June. .

Australia is one of a number of countries, including China and New Zealand, that have attempted to completely eradicate Covid-19 within their borders, and until recently the strategy has been largely successful. So far, Australia has only seen 44,026 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 981 deaths.

But several major Australian cities have been closed, including Sydney, Melbourne and the capital Canberra, as authorities struggle to contain the outbreak of the Covid-19 Delta virus.

On Saturday, thousands of Australians took to the streets of Melbourne and Sydney to protest prolonged lockdowns that have led to hundreds of arrests. At least seven police officers were injured in violent clashes.
In his opinion piece for on Sunday, Morrison said he acknowledged the “huge toll” the coronavirus prevention measures had taken on Australian citizens and businesses, but said it was “darkest before dawn”.

“(Lockdowns) are unfortunately necessary at this time, and we will continue to provide health support and income to connect people, but that won’t be necessary for long,” he said.

Morrison said the Australian government plans to shift its focus from reducing the number of cases to investigating how many people have become seriously ill from Covid-19 and need treatment in hospital.

“After all, this is how we manage all other infectious diseases,” the Australian leader said, adding that the country’s public health system was now strong enough to handle the surge in coronavirus cases.

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While Morrison did not give a strict timetable for when the new strategy would be implemented, he said that once Australia reached its national vaccination targets of 70% and 80%, “we can claim to take back what Covid took from us”.

“This is what it means to live with Covid. The number of cases is likely to rise as they begin to open soon. It is inevitable,” he said.

Morrison’s approach contrasts starkly with neighboring New Zealand. On August 12 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a plan to: temporarily reopen to vaccinated travelers and be a low-risk country from early 2022, but said she did not want to see a major outbreak of the virus in New Zealand.

“The number one principle remains … maintain our virus elimination strategy so that we can preserve our hard-earned profits and keep our options open,” she said at the time.

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