Australia can confidently respond to new COVID-19 outbreaks: Morrison

FILE PHOTO: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a joint press conference at the Istana Presidential Palace in Singapore, 07 June 2019. Wallace Woon/Pool via REUTERS

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday he has confidence the country could move ahead with easing restrictions as it can respond and deal with new coronavirus outbreaks.

“There will be outbreaks...we can’t go stop-go-stop-go and we can’t flick the light on-and-off-on-and-off-and-on-and-off,” Morrison said, referring to restrictions to curb the spread of the virulent disease.

“So what I’m saying is we are going ahead, we built the protections to deal with outbreaks.”

Australia reported its first COVID-19 death in more than a month on Wednesday, as concerns about a second wave of infections saw thousands of people queue, sometimes for hours, to be tested for the virus.

Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Christian Schmollinger