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National Cabinet: Scott Morrison says Omicron presents massive challenge

Scott Morrison has ruled out mandating mask-wearing indoors after meeting with State and Territory leaders during an emergency meeting of National Cabinet over the Omicron outbreak.

The Prime Minister said on Wednesday that the snap meeting was “very positive, practical and co-operative” and that National Cabinet agreed on “three areas to move forward”.

These include mask wearing, boosters, and the “test, trace, isolate and quarantine” approach.

“Mask wearing in indoor spaces in public areas is of course highly recommended, whether it’s mandated or not,” he said.

“Australians are common sense people and they know what they need to do to protest their own health.

“All of these practical things that we can do, we encourage all Australians to be doing whether you’re in Western Australia, up in the Northern Territory, down in Tassie or in Queensland. Omicron moves fast.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference following a national cabinet meeting.
Camera IconAustralian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference following a national cabinet meeting. Credit: LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

Mr Morrison said the Omicron variant posed a new challenge to the country with infections expected to surge in coming weeks, but that hospitals were coping so far.

“Omicron, we all agree, presents another new challenge, but we have faced so many challenges already during the course of this pandemic,” he said.

“On each occasion we’ve worked together to ensure that our response across the country and across governments has been able to deliver one of the lowest death rates in the world from COVID.”

He went on to say vaccination hubs need to be reactivated and booster shots being fast-tracked from five months to four will be a decision by ATAGI.

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