Scott Morrison has thrown his support behind the Victorian government’s tough suburban lockdowns designed to save Melbourne from coronavirus.
The Prime Minister is also warning people refusing to be checked for the disease could face fines as a hotspot testing blitz continues.
Mr Morrison said there was nothing surprising about Melbourne’s outbreak after another 64 cases were detected on Tuesday.
“Where outbreaks do occur you need to move on them as the Victorian government is and they have our full support with that,” he told the Nine Network on Wednesday.
Lockdown will be reinforced across 10 Melbourne postcodes from Thursday until July 29.
People living in those areas will only be allowed to leave home for work, study, essential shopping, exercise or to receive or give care.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has also launched a judicial inquiry into hotel quarantine with a slew of cases linked to staff infection control breaches.
Mr Morrison said mistakes in hotel quarantine were lessons for other states, noting no system would be perfect.
He said it was disappointing people in Melbourne were refusing to get tested.
“We are doing it the Australian way, the use of incentive – carrot not stick,” the prime minister said.
“Occasionally the stick will have to be put about, whether it’s fines or sanctions in place to ensure we keep everybody safe.”
He cautioned against other states reinstating shutdowns if local infection rates remain low.
“We need to keep the economy open. If we don’t do that it will cost jobs.”
Under Victoria’s aggressive coronavirus suppression measures, international flights will be diverted away from Melbourne for two weeks.
Queensland is banning Victorians from entering the state but welcoming other visitors from July 10.
South Australia has shelved plans to reopen its Victorian border but is weighing up a travel deal with NSW and the ACT.
Mr Morrison downplayed criticism from Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who implored him to stop picking on her state over border closures.