Prime Minister Scott Morrison has described some media commentary suggesting elderly Australians should be sacrificed to avoid an economically punishing lockdown as “amoral” and “hideous.”
Addressing media today, Mr Morrison scolded a reporter over her news outlet’s purported assertion “that somehow our elderly should have in some way have been offered up in relation to this virus.”
“That is just a hideous thought,” the Prime Minister said, “an absolutely amoral hideous thought.”
In the last 24 hours 19 Victorians have died of coronavirus and 322 new cases were recorded.
“This news is devastating no matter what age COVID affects people, and we just want to reaffirm again our support through every channel we can provide it,” Mr Morrison said.
Communication breakdown in St Basil’s outbreak ‘concerning’:
Mr Morrison also faced questioning on the delay between when Melbourne’s largest aged care outbreak at St Basil’s began and when the Federal Government was informed.
The aged care watchdog knew there had been an outbreak at the St Basil’s facility but failed to raise the alarm, it emerged today.
Aged care regulator Janet Anderson told a parliamentary inquiry last week the watchdog was not aware of the outbreak until July 14.
But, in a letter to committee chair, Senator Katy Gallagher, she has since confirmed the regulator knew on July 10.
Ms Anderson told the committee a St Basil’s representative flagged the positive test during a phone survey which was conducted with every Victorian facility to check their COVID-19 response plans.
“That was brought to my attention today, over the last little while, late yesterday I think it was,” Mr Morrison said.
“You will know that the aged care commissioner is an independent statutory office and operates separately from the Australian government.
“I am concerned about that breakdown in the communications.
“My understanding is that the survey had been conducted and those conducting the survey had formed the view that given the facility was aware of the processes that were required to advise the public health unit in Victoria that they had indeed done that.
“It turns out that that had not been done.”
Mr Morrison said he has confidence in the Federal Government’s handling of the aged care sector’s response to COVID-19.
“We are getting advanced notice when people are doing tests, not when we find out that they’re getting a positive result,” he said. “We’re finding out even before the tests come back.”
Source: Nine News.