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NSW vaccination strategy will shift to prioritise first doses, Morrison says

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stepped up for another press conference, outdoors at The Lodge in Canberra where it is currently drizzling and feels like 4C.

Mr Morrison says national cabinet had a “rather lengthy and extensive discussion” about the NSW situation, as the state recorded 136 new cases of COVID-19 today, 70 of which were not in isolation for at least part of their infectious period.

“I want to say to those in Sydney, we have got to press on. We have got to continue to show that strength.

“There are no easy solutions here. There are no silver bullets. Just as they were not last year when Victoria went through their prolonged lockdown. This thing only gets beaten by suppressing it. Of course, vaccines can be the wind at the back of those trying to achieve that outcome.”

He said “I want to encourage my fellow New South Welshmen and women as we go through this hard part – and it is tough for some, it is frustrating, and it really can get people down, but that is why we got the mental health support in as well.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said lockdowns were “the most important factor in arresting the growth” of COVID-19 cases and that NSW did appear to be preventing the exponential growth seen elsewhere in the world.

“There is nothing light about the lockdown in Sydney, I can assure you. My family are in it,” Mr Morrison said.

“From the data we see coming out in NSW … they have prevented the exponential growth we have seen in other countries, which has taken hold with Delta.

“So they have been able to suppress that exponential rate of growth, which is very important. So when you have exponential growth in cases that’s what you would call out of control. And that’s not occurring in NSW.”

After NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she wanted the NSW outbreak to be declared a national emergency, Mr Morrison said he had been treating COVID-19 as one since the start of 2020.

“That hasn’t changed in that entirety of the time we have been managing this pandemic. Lives and livelihoods have been at stake right across the country during this entire period,” he said.