Scott Morrison's major lockdown declaration amid Omicron fears

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has vowed there will be no more lockdowns as health authorities assess the threat of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

The PM was speaking in Canberra on Tuesday afternoon after releasing a report on whether Parliament House has a toxic workplace culture after a review was carried out by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins.

Mr Morrison said “it’s a prudent and temporary pause”. He was referring to Australia delaying reopening international borders for skilled workers and students until December 15, which was announced earlier Tuesday.

“We don’t know enough yet about it,” he told reporters.

“This temporary pause will provide the opportunity to understand and learn more about this.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is pictured talking to media.
Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the closing of international borders is just temporary. Source: ABC

Mr Morrison said the government “wants to remain safely open”.

“And we do not want to take a decision about the next step until we know – we’re not going back to lockdowns, none of us want that,” he said.

The PM added a meeting with the National Security Committee on Monday night involved a discussion about lockdowns and how to avoid them.

Currently, there are five cases of the Omicron variant in NSW.

Mr Morrison is due to meet with National Cabinet on Tuesday afternoon. He was asked if he was going to encourage state premiers to stay the course and focus on re-opening ahead of Christmas to which he replied: "yes".

"We are going to keep moving forward into Christmas and into 2022," he said.

"And we're going to open safely and we're going to stay safely open."

Health Minister Greg Hunt on Monday stressed Australia was well prepared for Omicron and contracts with vaccine manufacturers covered changes for new variants.

"There are some heartening signs about what may turn out to be mild symptoms," he said.

with AAP

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