Daniel Andrews believes Australia should halve or reduce by 75 per cent its international arrivals in a dramatic bid to stamp out future lockdowns.
In an interview with ABC’s Virginia Trioli, the Victorian Premier said the country should consider allowing less people return from overseas, which would relieve some of the pressure on Australia’s struggling hotel quarantine system.
“Yes there'd be inconvenience in less people being able to return home … a lot of that would be heartbreaking in many ways,” Mr Andrews said on Tuesday morning.
“It wouldn’t be forever – just until we have got a critical mass of Victorians and Australians through the Commonwealth’s vaccination program and we got ourselves to the magic number … 70 or 80 per cent … and then we could look at it (the international arrivals cap) again.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews believes Australia should halve or reduce by 75 per cent its international arrivals. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Andrew HenshawSource:News Corp Australia
Currently, Sydney accepts the most international arrivals with 430 people per day, or more than 3000 per week.
Brisbane has the second highest intake at 1300, followed by Melbourne (1000), Adelaide and Perth (530).
Darwin accommodates the additional return of Australians on government facilitated commercial services.
But Mr Andrews said until more Aussies were protected against coronavirus those numbers needed to dramatically reduce.
It comes as Australia‘s growing Covid-19 crisis worsens, with three capital cities plunged into lockdown as the Indian Delta variant spreads.
NSW’s greater Sydney area (including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour), Northern Territory’s greater Darwin region and Western Australia’s Perth and Peel regions are now all in lockdown due to Covid-19 outbreaks.
“You compare a lockdown of a whole city or a whole state and the pain of that, versus halving or reducing by 75 per cent or 80 per cent the number of people coming back through hotel quarantine … in my judgment there’s no comparison,” the Victorian Premier said.
“This (Delta variant) is coming out of hotel quarantine across the country. Hotels are for tourists, not for the containment of a wildly contagious virus.
“I want a debate and a discussion about how many people we’re letting in and about how many people we’re letting out as well to then return home to go through that two week quarantine period.”
Daniel Andrews says the Delta variant is escaping from hotel quarantine. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian CurrieSource:News Corp Australia
When questioned if the Commonwealth’s target of having every eligible adult at least partially vaccinated by the end of the year, Mr Andrews said it was “achievable”.
“But I’m less concerned about a big ramp up and delivering against all the different metrics and milestones in September, October, November and December and I’m more concerned about what we do in the intervening period,” he said.
“We’ve got this Delta variant – nowhere in the world has pulled the Delta variant up without putting restrictions on or a lockdown on.
“Until we get a critical mass of Victorians and Australians with that jab we‘re in this limbo … we’re in this very difficult position.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison addresses the country after a crisis national cabinet meeting.Source:Supplied
It comes as pressure mounts on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to order more supply of the vaccine as just 4.7 per cent of the country’s remains fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
The PM on Monday night then announced national cabinet had agreed to widen the eligibility to get more people inoculated.
He announced a new no-fault indemnity scheme for GPs to give the AstraZeneca vaccine to Australians under the age of 60, who were willing to accept the extremely rare blood clot risk.
“This relates to encouraging Australians to go and chat to their GP about their vaccination, and to have their vaccination administered,” he said.
“Now, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advice, talks about a preference for AstraZeneca, to be available, and made available to those as preferred for those over 60, but the advice does not preclude persons under 60 from getting the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“And so if you wish to get the AstraZeneca vaccine, then we would encourage you to go and have that discussion with your GP, and we’ve already made announcements to support those additional consultations with the GPs so you can have that conversation.
“And secondly, we are also providing the indemnity scheme for those general practitioners, so they can actively engage with you, and you can make the best decision for your health.”
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