Authored by Brendan Taylor via Insider Paper (emphasis ours),
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stated that the country will not be placed back into lockdown in response to the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
Morrison met with state and territory leaders on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the national response to the new variant of concern.
Prior to the meeting, Morrison stated that the federal, state, and territory governments would be cautious about Omicron, but ruled out a return to strict stay-at-home restrictions, according to the Xinhua news agency.
He said he would use the national cabinet meeting to implore state and territory leaders to keep domestic borders open in the run-up to Christmas.
“We’re not going back to lockdowns. None of us want that,” he told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday.
“What we did last night was protecting against that by having a sensible pause and to keep proceeding with where we are now and to further assess that information so we can move forward with confidence.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Health Minister Greg Hunt said that the federal government’s “overwhelming view” is that the Omicron variant is “manageable.”
Six cases of the new variant had been confirmed in Australia as of Tuesday.
Australia reported more than 1,100 new Covid-19 cases and nine deaths on Tuesday morning, as the country battles the third wave of infections.
The majority of new cases were reported in Victoria, the country’s second-most populous state with Melbourne as its capital city, which reported 918 cases and six deaths.
According to the Health Department, as of Monday, 92.4 percent of Australians aged 16 and up had received one vaccine dose and 87% had received their second dose.