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Prime Minister says Australia will soon treat COVID-19 ‘like any other infectious disease’

Neil Mitchell
Scott Morrison standing in front of an Australian flag

Scott Morrison says Australia will soon treat COVID-19 like the flu or “any other infectious disease”.

Speaking to Neil Mitchell, the Prime Minister shut down the suggestion that opening up when Australia reaches the target of 70 per cent of adults vaccinated, but virus rates in the community remain high, could cost up to 30,000 lives.

“I know others have put that forward and they assume that vaccinations don’t continue to rise, they assume there’s no other public health measures in place,” he said.

“That’s not a realistic scenario and that is not what’s going to happen.”

Citing modelling from the Doherty Institute, Mr Morrison said “with appropriate public health measures, which doesn’t include lockdowns, we can reduce infections significantly and also fatalities” and begin to manage COVID-19 like the flu.

“It means that we can manage this like any other infectious diseases.

“I mean, there are 600 deaths to the flu each year and there are some 200,000 cases each year, and that doesn’t shut down cities.”

Mr Morrison also doubled down on a push for state leaders to stick to the federal reopening plan.

Under the national plan, some restrictions would be eased once 70 per cent of the eligible population is vaccinated, and further easing would occur once 80 per cent of eligible Australians are fully-vaccinated.

But Queensland and Western Australia have threatened to keep their borders shut, unless we strive for zero COVID-19.

“We agreed on the plan – what its phases would be, then we agreed the rates of vaccination that would apply to it, and then we confirmed it again,” Mr Morrison said.

Press PLAY below to hear Neil Mitchell’s full interview with the Prime Minister

Image: James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Neil Mitchell