Canberra, Sep 8 (IANS) Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged the government of Victoria, the country’s worst-hit state due to the Covid-19 pandemic, to accelerate its plan to ease restrictions imposed to contain the virus.
Morrison told reporters on Monday that he wants Victoria to reopen more quickly than what was set out in a roadmap released by Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday, reports Xinhua news agency.
Under the plan the current stage-four lockdown in Melbourne will be extended until September 27.
Restrictions will then be slowly eased over a period of two months if the number of new cases continues to decline.
“The plan that was outlined yesterday, I hope, is a worst-case scenario,” Morrison said.
“I see it as a starting point in terms of how this issue will be managed in the weeks and months ahead in Victoria.”
Morrison said that the plan could be accelerated if Victoria replicated the “gold standard” of contact tracing in New South Wales (NSW).
“I think the Victorian government has done a lot of work over the last four weeks, of necessity, clearly as well, to ensure that those systems have been significantly improved,” he said.
“But I think there is a lot to learn from what’s happening in NSW, because they have, frankly, had the largest risks to deal with, and they have demonstrated the best capacity to deal with them and keep their state open at the same time.”
Australia has so far reported a total of 26,322 coronavirus cases, of which Victoria accounted for 19,574 infections.
The country’s death toll stood at 762.