Rising COVID-19 cases inevitable: PM
As Australia records the highest per capita COVID-19 infection rate in the world the prime minister has defended his handling of the pandemic, saying rising case numbers and deaths were "always going to happen".
Scott Morrison says a number of the deaths of people with COVID-19 virus have not necessarily been caused by the virus.
"As the number of case numbers has risen, and that's what was always going to happen, as part of the national plan that we put together with the states and territories, the case numbers would rise, and there were some 53,000 case numbers yesterday," Mr Morrison told reporters in Geelong on Wednesday.
During the pandemic there had been 7853 COVID-19 linked deaths in Australia - 65 in the past 24 hours.
Australia has reported 28,794 new cases of COVID-19 and 37 deaths on Thursday, from NSW, Victoria and Tasmania and the ACT with South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory still to report their statistics.
"And what you see when you have case numbers of that level is that people when they pass away, from many other causes, they will die with COVID, and their deaths are recorded as COVID deaths but that doesn't necessarily mean, as the premiers themselves have set out, that they passed away because of COVID."
He said his position was shared by the Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly and other health authorities.
Mr Morrison also referenced a recent New York Times article that said if the United States had adopted Australia's health advice, some 900,000 lives could have been saved.
"We are living with COVID, and not going back to those daily press conferences of people talking about COVID every day, and putting the threat of shutdowns and lockdowns and interfering in people's lives again," he said.
"I will not drag Australia back to those times again."
He defended the nation's handling of the pandemic, pointing out that Australia had one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.
"Australia has been one of the standout performers in managing COVID anywhere in the world," he said.
LATEST 24-HOUR COVID-19 DATA:
NSW: 12,297 cases, 14 deaths, 1395 in hospital with 59 in ICU
Victoria: 14,220 cases, 22 deaths, 510 in hospital, 31 in ICU
Tasmania: 1179 cases, one death, 45 in hospital with one in ICU
ACT: 1098 new cases, no deaths, 74 in hospital with four in ICU