ScoMo: ‘Serious issue’ of NSW virus cluster
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has addressed the nation on the growing coronavirus cases in NSW and tried to calm rising fears ahead of the Christmas season.
Mr Morrison also defended the actions of state premiers as borders slam shut to NSW, which has caused a resounding cry of "Christmas is cancelled" to echo around social media.
He said the northern beaches cluster was "not the first outbreak we've seen" and he was in regular contact with state premiers.
"The COVID-19 outbreak in the Northern Beaches is, of course, a serious issue," Mr Morrison began. "It's not the first outbreak we've seen. There have been many, not just in New South Wales, but other states and territories."
PM statement to be released on social media shortly states pic.twitter.com/B7WIquTQDP— Samantha Maiden (@samanthamaiden) December 20, 2020
"Over the course of this year, significant contact tracing and testing regimes have been built up to deal with situations just like this.
"I want to thank all those who have been working incredibly hard over the last couple of days to get on top of this outbreak in the northern beaches."
Mr Morrison said it was "encouraging" to see that there was no sign of the virus spreading outside of the northern beaches.
But other Sydney residents shouldn't be "complacent" as a result, he warned.
"That's why the Premier has put in place the controls in terms of wearing of masks and restricting movement, particularly over the next few days, and especially there in the northern beaches, in the northern parts of Sydney, where particular restrictions are being put in place," he said.
Mr Morrison applauded northern beaches residents who had "instinctively" embraced their lockdown, which came into effect yesterday evening.
"I know that they're looking to see these things change in the not too distant future and they know that that compliance can only help with getting that outcome," he said.
So far the federal government had deployed 1500 members of the Australian Defence Force to assist with hotel quarantine, which Mr Morrison said remained a priority.
"I've been in regular contact with the premiers, particularly in New South Wales, and getting updated on the actions that they're taking, the precautionary actions they're taking," he said.
"We'll provide assistance where we consider it is necessary."
Mr Morrison stressed that the focus now was having everyone "getting on with their job" and "working together".
"The medical expert panel, the AHPPC, has been meeting each day. They'll meet again this afternoon and the Acting Chief Medical Officer will provide an update at that time," he said.
"We're working the problem to get on top of it, to ensure that we can return to as normal a COVID situation as we can as soon as possible."
Mr Morrison said that this latest outbreak served as a reminder we were still living through a pandemic in Australia.
"As people are coming together at Christmas, it's a reminder that we can't be complacent. The virus hasn't gone anywhere. We still need to be on alert," he said.
"We still have to follow those COVIDSafe behaviours, the COVIDSafe app, all of those things which we know well. We built a system to deal with this and we're going to let people do their jobs so we can get back to a much better situation as soon as possible."
Originally published as ScoMo: 'Serious issue' of NSW virus cluster