Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday announced that he was “open” to providing further support for businesses amid the ongoing Covid-19 lockdowns.
Morrison had recently repeated his support for lockdowns for more than half of the Australian population in the states of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, saying there was no other “alternative” to bring the Delta strain of Covid-19 under control, reports Xinhua news agency.
“Let me be clear. There is not an alternative to the lockdown in New South Wales to get this under control,” he told reporters.
“The lockdown is what is going to do it. It can be assisted by the vaccines, but the lockdown must be effective.”
The Australian federal government has come under pressure to increase its support for businesses and workers affected by the lockdowns.
South Australia and Victoria are set to ease strict restrictions on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, but News Corp Australia reported on Monday that stay-at-home orders could remain in place in Greater Sydney until mid-September.
Morrison said the government was open to further support measures.
“The Treasurer and I and the rest of the Cabinet are very open to consider how we deal with the situation as it further evolves,” he said.
His comments came after thousands of people in Sydney defied stay-at-home orders to attend anti-lockdown protests at the weekend, sparking fears of a Covid-19 super-spreader event.
Australia has so far reported 32,917 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 910 deaths.