PM’s plea to Dan: ‘No one wants this’

 

As authorities mull a potential snap lockdown of Melbourne amid a worsening outbreak of the mutant UK strain of coronavirus, Scott Morrison has pleaded for calm from Daniel Andrews.

Victoria's Cabinet will hold an emergency meeting at 11.45am AEDT to discuss the immediate response to the escalating crisis.

The Prime Minister is in Melbourne today, touring the CSL manufacturing plant where local doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 will be produced.

But the step forward in Australia's fightback against the pandemic was overshadowed by growing fears that a highly infectious mutation of the virus is in the community.

Thirteen people have tested positive in the Holiday Inn hotel quarantine cluster.

"We've dealt with these (outbreaks) before, got on top of them before, in the last few weeks in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth," Mr Morrison told reporters.

"A proportionate response by the Victorian Government … that enabled the contact tracers and others to be able to get on top of it and get the same successful result we've seen in other states - that can be achieved here."

 

Daniel Andrews and his Cabinet are mulling a snap lockdown to get on top of the outbreak. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty
Daniel Andrews and his Cabinet are mulling a snap lockdown to get on top of the outbreak. Picture: NCA NewsWire / David Geraghty

 

The Premier attended late-night crisis talks with authorities to discuss the outbreak and all options are on the table, according to reports.

Mr Andrews and his Cabinet are meeting again to finalise the government's response.

Talk of a snap lockdown similar to the one implemented in Brisbane has sparked panic in Melbourne.

A third shutdown of the city is the last thing anyone wants to see, the PM said.

"I know you don't want to see Victoria go back into what you had to endure last year," Mr Morrison said, speaking directly to Melburnians and referencing the two long periods of lockdown.

"I can assure you that everyone is doing everything to ensure that's not replicated again on this occasion. There's no reason it should, as other states have demonstrated. You can get on top of this pretty quickly.

"I have reason for confidence that they can do the same thing by following that same process."

 

 

But asked specifically about a three or five-day lockdown, he replied: "I will not speculate on what the Premier may or may not do."

"I will let the Premier make his announcements and to weigh up the things that he has to weigh up in making any decisions that they will make here in Victoria,'' he added.

"I don't think it would be fair for me to be making comments in advance of what he may or may not announce. I think that is the right thing for public confidence."

Mr Morrison said he had texted the Mr Andrews on Thursday but added that the Health Minister Greg Hunt and chief medical officer were in constant contact with their state counterparts.

Originally published as PM's plea to Dan: 'No one wants this'


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