New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has reiterated her view that the Delta variant has made a zero-COVID target “completely unrealistic”, and all states and territories must learn to live with it when borders eventually reopen.
- NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says every state will see “an influx of cases” when they reopen
- She says while “no death is acceptable”, lives will be lost
- She expects 70 per cent of NSW to be fully vacinnated by the end of October
But she refused to put a figure on how many cases and deaths were expected when NSW opened up.
“It’s completely unrealistic. I don’t know any state or nation on the planet who abides by those rules,” she said.
“It’s just not possible. We can’t pretend we’re extra special or very different from other places.
“There are opportunities for us to do everything we can to suppress the cases, to reduce the number of people we end up having in hospital, but also accept that every state’s going to have to go through a transition.
“That’s just how the virus works. No amount of government intervention or lockdown is going to get you to zero cases.”
This morning Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned state and territory leaders to be prepared for case numbers to rise once 70 to 80 per cent of the population was vaccinated and the country opened up.
“We must adjust our mindset. Cases will not be the issue … dealing with serious illness, hospitalisation, ICU capabilities, our ability to respond in those circumstances, that will be our goal,” he said.
‘Our job is to prevent death and keep people safe’
Ms Berejiklian told 7.30 “no death is acceptable, no death is easy”, but would not say how many deaths were expected when NSW reduced restrictions once it reached 70 to 80 per cent of the population vaccinated.
“I don’t want to ever, ever give a number that’s acceptable, never,” she said.
“And our job is to prevent death and keep people safe.
“But what we do have to accept is when you are in the middle of a pandemic which is impacting our nation as it has been other nations that we need to appreciate that, unfortunately, lives will be lost.
“I’d love to be able to give you a definite ballpark. But that will depend on where the cases are up to, it will depend on which proportion of which demographics are vaccinated.
“That’s why our job is to reduce the case numbers as much as possible or to hold them at bay until we get to that [vaccination] level.
“What we’re attempting to do is make sure that those most vulnerable are vaccinated, those obviously who are more susceptible to COVID are vaccinated, so it reduces the likelihood of people getting into hospital and dying.”
More freedom by end of October
The Premier said she had promised the citizens of NSW that if the target of 6 million jabs was reached by the end of August there would be “at least one extra thing our citizens can do next month in September”.
She said health experts were working on what that one thing would be.
“Obviously, public health and safety come first, and mental wellbeing, so we will have that advice to the community as soon as we can.
“In relation to when we can live life more freely, well, if you follow the Doherty plan it says 70 per cent double-dose vaccination. NSW looks to be hitting that target by the end of October.”
She said NSW was expected to have 80 per cent of the population fully inoculated by November.
Watch the interview on 7.30 on ABC TV and iview.