“With the pace at which Omicron is moving, it is not surprising that I have convened a further meeting of the National Cabinet,” the Prime Minister said.
“During Omicron, the problem is not the number of cases. The problem is the occurrence of serious illness.
“So even though we have a large amount of cases … there is ample capacity in our hospital system to deal with the challenges we are currently facing,” Mr Morrison told reporters outside Kirribilli House in Sydney.
Asked by a reporter whether long queues and hour-long waits were a sign of “political failure”, Mr Morrison said it was the responsibility of states and territories to solve long queue problems at COVID-19 test sites.
“This is the normal process. States provide these issues of testing, and the Commonwealth provides vaccines. We both have these obligations, and we carry out both of those obligations,” Mr Morrison said.
“So I welcome the fact that the New South Wales Government is doing what they are doing and the Victorian Government is doing what they are doing. That is their job.”
Opposition leader Anthony Albanese spoke to journalists in Adelaide earlier Wednesday, saying the prime minister and his government “once again show a lack of leadership and consistently pass the money on to states and territories”.
“Why is it that there is no problem for Scott Morrison to show how small his vision for this country is?” said Mr. Albanese.
“Scott Morrison refuses to go up. We have the New South Wales government trying to buy fast antigen tests that will be available, wait for that, at the end of January where we have a crisis right now.”
Australians stand in line for hours to be tested and many are rejected because this government has no national test plan.
Once again, Scott Morrison is missing when Australians need a leader.
Sir. Albanese said everything the government has done in the last four years has been “characterized by being too little, too late”.
“It is characterized by the fact that it did not manage to get ahead and say that of course it was not a race. Now he says with the quick antigen tests that it is not alone not a race … they are not even on the track at all “They leave it entirely to the state,” he said.
The comments of the Prime Minister and the opposition leader came on the day the nation registered a steep increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases.
The numbers nearly doubled in New South Wales with a record 11,201 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths on Wednesday, with hospital admissions rising to 625, including 61 people in intensive care.
Victoria also set a new record on Wednesday, with five lives lost and 397 people in hospitals across the state, including 62 on intensive care, 28 on ventilators and a further 44 on the intensive care unit who are not considered active according to Victoria’s Department of Health.