Sunrise host Natalie Barr has grilled Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the timing and effectiveness of Sydney's lockdown as the state heads into a third week amid rising Covid case numbers.
With 38 new positive tests recorded on Thursday — 21 of them from Sydney's southwest — Nat had a simple but loaded question for the PM.
PM questioned over Sydney lockdown
The 53-year-old wanted to know whether Mr. Morrison thought NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian's 'stay-at-home' order that was put into place in late June was sufficient to control the spread of the Bondi cluster.
"Do you think Sydney should have gone into a harder lockdown sooner?" she asked.
As he did when the highly contagious outbreak began over two weeks ago, the PM praised Premier Berejiklian for doing an 'extraordinary job'.
"The premier should have acted on the advice that she had and the information she had, which is all that we can do," he replied.
He also endorsed Ms. Berejiklian's decision to resist a 'snap lockdown,' unlike other states, in order to avoid putting 'unreasonable burdens' on people.
"And I think it's a good thing that wherever possible we don't put unreasonable burdens on people, whenever we can," he said.
The premier's approach to the lockdown — which she termed a 'stay-at home' order rather than a 'lockdown' — has been criticised by The Project host Lisa Wilkinson for causing 'confusion' among the public as to what the restrictions actually were.
Mr Morrison went on to double down on his support for Ms. Berejiklian, now and in the future.
"I also strongly support the measures that she's taking now based on the evidence that we have before us and whatever additional measures she needs to take, she will have that support from the Commonwealth Government."
'You're not crushing the virus'
But Nat wasn't satisfied with his response and pushed further for comment on why NSW isn't 'crushing' the virus in the same way that Victoria has under its premier Dan Andrews.
"I suppose by not locking down harder we're now in our third week [of lockdown] and there's talk that we may go into our fourth week in New South Wales, the biggest economy in the country.
"You've got other state leaders saying that's allowed people to be flippant, that's allowed people to go out and you're not crushing the virus like Victoria did and like other states did."
Mr. Morrison declined to weigh in on 'tit-for-tat arguments' occurring between state leaders and instead put the blame firmly on the NSW public for not obeying the restrictions rather than any shortcomings with regards to when the restrictions came about.
"I mean, the idea of when a lockdown should have been put in place is an arguable point at that time, but what matters is once it's in, then the compliance is necessary and that's where there has been the challenge in Sydney over the course of this past week and a half," he said.
"Compliance has been the challenge, I would argue, as opposed to necessarily what the start date [of the lockdown] was," he added.
On Wednesday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that the state's two-week lockdown would be extended by another week through to 12:01am on July 17.
NSW recorded 38 new locally acquired Covid cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday, 11 of which had been infectious in the community.
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