PM Confirms No Christmas Lockdown As GPs Receive Added Funding

Morrison: Omicron variant is 'serious'


Article heading image for PM Confirms No Christmas Lockdown As GPs Receive Added Funding

Scott Morrison addressed the media after holding an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the nation's plan surrounding booster shots and mask mandates.

"We are taking Omicron very seriously, as you would expect us to, but at the same time we are confident that we will be able to continue to ensure we can face down the most recent challenge," Morrison said.

"But it does require us to make a number of responses that we have been working through today."

The Prime Minister says mask wearing remains a "common-sense" approach, "whether it's mandated or not".

"The medical expert panel has set forward a series of recommendations about what should be done in those areas," Mr Morrison says.

"Mask wearing in indoor spaces in public spaces is highly recommended."

The rise of cases in various states led to the emergency cabinet meeting, as NSW continues to report record-high daily numbers with 3,763 new infections on Wednesday. 

Elsewhere, Victoria continues to hover around the 1,500 mark, while Queensland (186 new cases) and South Australia (198) are seeing record-highs since the beginning of the pandemic.

A key component of quarantine laws which differ between states, the national cabinet aim to agree upon a definition nationwide of what makes a close and casual contact.

"We have asked the AHPPC within the next fortnight for a clear recommendation on that," Mr Morrison said

Morrison repeated the plan for no more lockdowns over the Christmas period, saying Australia is "better prepared than any other nation".

"One of the main things we agreed on today is, we do not want to go back to lockdowns."

Speaking after the cabinet meeting, Morrison announced the Commonwealth will increase funding for workers who will administer booster shots over the summer holidays.

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The Government is set to provide GPs and pharmacists an additional $10 per shot, with a clear focus on reviving vaccination hubs across the country. 

"We're doing boosters at a rate of 100 per minute," Morrison said, after announcing the increase in payments for GPs and pharmacists.

The Prime Minister revealed no decision was made on whether interstate travellers require a test on arrival as imposed in Queensland.

"We've all seen the terrible queues and the long waits people have had. Some 20 to 25 per cent of those people waiting are not symptomatic, they're not a close or casual contact. They just want to travel to another state."

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22 December 2021




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