PM warning on virus risks as cases shrivel

Matt Coughlan
·2-min read

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned against local complacency and international risks as Australia notched a third straight day without coronavirus transmission.

Victoria's streak without new infections extended to 11 days as NSW posted a third day without community spread.

Mr Morrison said the nation faced twofold threats, with the immediate risk being people taking things for granted as more restrictions lift.

He said enshrining coronavirus-safe practices across Australian life would be key to continuing to control outbreaks.

"If we lose our commitment to them, we put ourselves at risk," Mr Morrison said.

Social distancing, QR code registration and wearing masks on public transport are among the measures set to continue through the pandemic.

The prime minister will chair a national cabinet meeting of state and territory leaders on Friday, with the path to allowing more international travel on the agenda.

Australia is in talks with Japan and has previously discussed borders with South Korea.

"We proceed cautiously," Mr Morrison said.

"The situation in Europe and the United States is awful and obviously that presents great risks for people coming in from those parts of the world to Australia."

Mr Morrison noted Singapore and some parts of China could be low-risk candidates in the future.

There is also renewed hope a vaccine could be on the way to end the pandemic nightmare that has killed 1.2 million people and infected 50 million.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has announced its experimental vaccine was more than 90 per cent effective in late-stage clinical trials.

Australia has a deal for 10 million doses of the drug, one of four the country has struck agreements on.

"These results are very promising," Mr Morrison said.

"I'm optimistic and hopeful about next year, about the rollout of those vaccine programs."

Health Minister Greg Hunt also welcomed the development.

"The data on our vaccine candidates continues to be positive. We will examine the evidence carefully but the latest results are heartening news," he told AAP.