PM said ‘in clear terms’ we must live with COVID-19

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in clear terms this morning that once we get to 70 to 80 per cent vaccinated we have to live with the virus without lockdowns, according to Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell.

“But when our reporter Jonathan Lea put the PM on the spot would he put the federal government money where his mouth was on this in terms of supporting the states to pursue lockdowns after those benchmarks were reached, the PM wouldn’t commit,” Mr Clennell said.

“The Prime Minister told me during that interview on June 17, of the difficulties in opening up with a heavy caseload and how we were so much better placed than other countries.

“At this time, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, because of the Delta variant, had just delayed Freedom Day as cases grew in that country from 3,000 to 10,000 a day. There was more than 70 per cent single dose vaccination and 56 per cent double dose vaccination in the UK at that time.

“The Director of Epidemiology of the Doherty Institute Jodie McVernon made clear to me on Sunday Agenda that her modelling which talked about an opening at 70 and 80 per cent vaccination was modelled on a basis of a low caseload and modelling was going on for NSW Health in terms of what happened at a higher caseload.

“Scott Morrison has got 23 seats in Queensland and 23 in New South Wales. And they have to be on his mind as he makes this statement about opening up unequivocally at 70 and 80 per cent. In New South Wales, they would want an end to lockdown. In Queensland they would want zero COVID.

“From what I’m hearing there won’t be a big freedom day in Sydney or Melbourne. But restrictions will be lifted steadily as the vaccination rate goes past those 70 and 80 per cent mark.

“The government, as I have reported are looking to do a vaccination blitz in late October for teenagers once ATAGI approves it for 12 to 15 year olds.

“So if you have high school kids you have hope of getting them back to school this year in Sydney in particular. You have hopes of them not being at risk of long COVID and the like.”