Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has fired back at Scott Morrison’s criticism of the State’s roadmap out of lockdown, warning of a false dawn if coronavirus infections return.
Mr Andrews said comparisons between Melbourne and NSW were neither helpful nor accurate after the prime minister said Sydney would be under curfew if Victorian standards applied.
Mr Morrison labelled the controversial plan as a “worst-case” scenario as he applied pressure to the under-fire state government.
“I’d say to the prime minister, the worst-case scenario is being open for three or four weeks and then closed down again,” Mr Andrews told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.
Victoria has set ambitious triggers to move between stages of reopening the economy, with November’s major step reliant on having no new cases for two weeks.
Mr Andrews insisted he maintained a good relationship with the prime minister despite the federal government ramping up attacks on Victoria in recent days.
“I’m not in any doubt that he, just as I, understands there’s no place for politics in this,” he said.
“This virus will not be defeated by playing politics. It’ll be defeated and put back into a manageable place by all of us being focused on working as hard as we can in as unified way as possible.”
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt disagrees on the length, time and thresholds of the roadmap.
Mr Hunt wants to see the data underpinning the “enormously difficult standards“ outlined in the plan.
“I think it should be provided not just to the Commonwealth but released publicly,” he told the ABC.
He compared the Victorian response to harsh lockdowns in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus is believed to have originated.
“Wuhan was under lockdown for two-and-a-half months. Believe it or not, Melbourne will be under lockdown for three-and-a-half months,” he said.
“I think that will astonish people when they see that comparison.”
Victoria recorded 55 new coronavirus infections and eight more deaths on Tuesday, taking the national toll to 770.
Mr Andrews committed to ease restrictions in regional Victoria – where there were no new cases on Tuesday – based on data.
Victoria’s roadmap to recovery will see Melbourne continue under strict curfew and lockdown until the end of September.
Most restrictions on trade will remain until at least late October, while other rules will stay in place until the end of November.
NSW has recorded nine new cases, with one a student at a private school which has sent home 150 boarders.
Queensland recorded one new infection.