Scott Morrison FINALLY agrees to discuss the ‘magic number’ of Aussies that need to be vaccinated to end lockdowns and relax border closures – as states demand cut to arrival caps in crunch National Cabinet meeting
- Scott Morrison to discuss ‘magic numbers’ of vaccines to prevent lockdowns
- Prime Minister will meet with Premiers in national cabinet meeting on Friday
- Federal and state leaders set to outline guidelines to move into the future
- Mr Morrison was seen for the first time since completing hotel quarantine
Scott Morrison and state premiers will discuss the percentage of Australians that need to be vaccinated against Covid-19 before strict border bans and crippling lockdowns can end.
State premiers and chief health officers across the country have speculated that the ‘magic number’ is 80 per cent – but a figure has not been officially agreed.
With 12 million Australians currently locked down and the vaccine rollout progressing slowly, the Prime Minister wants to provide an incentive for Aussies to get jabbed.
Scott Morrison is pictured leaving quarantine after two weeks in his house in Canberra following the G7 summit
‘It’s time to start laying it out for the Australian public. It is imperative that the premiers, chief ministers and I address that question,’ Mr Morrison told The Australian ahead of Friday’s crucial National Cabinet meeting.
The Prime Minister said modelling had already been done on how to reach herd immunity against the Alpha variant and was almost complete on the more contagious Delta variant.
‘Australians have been patient and that has helped us achieve what we have achieved to protect lives and livelihoods,’ he said.
‘We now need to get to the next level. The package the public deserves needs a consolidated agreement from all of us.’
The Prime Minister is holding a national cabinet meeting today with Premiers including Dan Andrews (pictured) as they look to agree a plan for Australia’s pandemic future
What are the weekly arrival caps?
NT: Federal repatriation flights to Howard Springs
The virtual meeting of state and territory leaders hosted by the Prime Minister will also discuss international passenger caps.
International arrivals are currently capped at 6,370 a week but Labor premiers want this dramatically reduced to ease pressure on the hotel quarantine system.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has written to Scott Morrison to ask the numbers are slashed in half, while Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews wants the numbers cut by up to 80 per cent.
‘We are at a pressure cooker moment,’ Ms Palaszczuk told reporters in Brisbane on Wednesday.
Mr Andrews agreed, saying: ‘We have it within our power to dramatically reduce the number of people who are coming back just for these next three or four months until we get a critical mass of people with a jab.
‘It won’t be easy to lock some people out. But locking some people out is much better than locking everybody down,’ he added.
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said the caps should not be cut because Australians should be allowed to come home.
But Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said the government will consider the states’ concerns.
Mr Morrison leaving The Lodge in Canberra
‘We’ve shown a willingness to adjust based on changed risk profiles and we’ll always look at that,’ he said.
The National Cabinet meeting will also focus on the troubled national vaccine rollout and mixed messaging around the AstraZeneca jab.
Mr Morrison triggered a week of competing claims about vaccine advice after highlighting a path for younger people to receive AstraZeneca after consulting with their GP.
After days of confusion and conflicting statements, Australia’s expert immunisation panel reiterated its advice that Pfizer was preferred for all people aged under 60.
Their advice is based on the vanishingly small risk of rare blood clots associated with the AstraZeneca jab.
Thursday was a record day for vaccinations with more than 160,000 people receiving jabs nationwide.
Almost eight per cent of Australian adults are now fully vaccinated, but the nation lags far behind all other comparable countries.
Mr Morrison late on Thursday completed 14 days of quarantine at The Lodge in Canberra, after returning from the G7 summit in the UK, and headed to Parliament House to lead the meeting.
The virtual meeting of state and territory leaders hosted by the PM will also discuss international passenger caps. Pictured: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian