The prime minister has addressed the unfolding coronavirus crisis in Victoria and expressed confidence in the effectiveness of the premier’s “three rings of containment” action plan.
Scott Morrison said on Wednesday he was optimistic about Daniel Andrews’s plan to curb coronavirus transmissions in the state by locking down suburbs, the Melbourne metro area and its border.
“There are three rings of containment and the rings of containment has always been part of the government's national plan together with the states and territories,” Mr Morrison told reporters.
“There are those suburbs specifically where the Victorian government is seeking to ensure that containment measures are there.
“Then there's the broader Melbourne metropolitan area including the Mitchell Shire and then beyond that there's the Victorian border.”
Mr Morrison said as each “ring of containment” did its job, it put “less pressure on the ring external to it”.
A total of 31 local government areas in Victoria will be subject to a six-week lockdown period from 11.59pm on Wednesday, while 3000 residents in nine public housing towers must stay inside for five days.
He said there had been early indications the measures enforced so far were proving effective.
“The case numbers today are slightly less than what they were yesterday and we would hope to get better news on those case numbers,” Mr Morrison said.
Restricting the number of people entering Australia was also set to be proposed at Friday’s National Cabinet meeting, Mr Morrison said, following Western Australia’s move to limit incoming travellers.
With Victoria suspending inbound flights, he said it had put additional strain on other states which now “foot the bill” for the hotel quarantine of people entering the country.
“I'll be taking a proposal to National Cabinet to slow that down as of this Friday,” the prime minister said.
‘We all have responsibilities’
Mr Morrison said that while everyone had a role to play in the fight against COVID-19, it was those in Victoria that were currently doing the heavy lifting.
“I want to thank Melburnians. I want to thank them very much for how they're dealing with this right now. I can imagine the frustration,” he said, expressing “heartbreak” for businesses forced to close again after just opening back up.
“We're dealing with a lot of unknowns here and that means that there will be circumstances like this and how we respond is what we have control over.
“We don't have control over the virus as such, but we do have control over how we respond and I think how Melburnians, in particular, and Victorians more broadly are dealing with this very hard news is commendable and I thank you very, very much for it.”
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