Morrison Says Return to Lockdown Unlikely Despite Omicron Global Outbreaks

Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he refused to allow the country to return to rolling lockdowns, despite the COVID-19 Omicron variant in Australia.

“We’re not going back to lockdowns, none of us want that,” Morrison said.

On Monday night, the government postponed the planned reopening of the borders to international students and other eligible visa holders today to assess the risk of the Omicron variant.

Morrison said the government would consider reopening borders again after the assessments proved Omicron to be milder than other variants. 

“We need to make calm decisions and not get spooked by this,” Morrison said.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government’s decision to postpone the easing of border restrictions was “done out of an abundance of caution,” adding that their “overwhelming view is that while it’s an emerging variant, it’s a manageable variant.”

Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said the five people who had tested positive for the Omicron variant in Australia were experiencing “mild or, in fact, no disease.”

However, Kelly said, there were still many unknowns about the variant.

“We don’t know still about the vaccine effectiveness. We don’t know about the severity, and there are mixed reports on that from South Africa itself,” Kelly added.

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