Prime Minister Scott Morrison has condemned racist abuse levelled at Chinese Australians in an interview with SBS News.
He said Asian migrants led the way during Australia’s response to the coronavirus crisis.
“I’m massively disappointed because it’s just so wrong."
“It was the Chinese Australian community that actually protected Australia. They led the way and the broader community is now following.”
Mr Morrison also discussed his government’s evolving plans to claw the country out of the economic crisis bought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Right now, we’ve effectively found our way with a set of protections and arrangements that are protecting health and livelihoods,” he said.
Mr Morrison says Australia can't afford to relax in its fight against coronavirus. Source: AAP Image/Dean Lewins
“The next stage is to put in place the protections we need to open up our economy more in the future.
“No country has found the magic formula yet but Australia is in a better place than most. But we cannot be complacent.”
Mr Morrison said he was working with state and territory leaders to plan how virus restrictions might be eased to ramp up economic activity.
A wholesale lifting of restrictions was not on the cards, he said.
“This is not a sprint and we want to avoid the horrific scenes that we’ve seen overseas.
The Prime Minister warned against coronavirus complacency while blaming botched strategies for disastrous outbreaks abroad.
“This idea of herd immunity, they’re not achieving that in Italy, they’re not achieving it in the United States or the United Kingdom.
“I don’t want to see that revisited in Australia and so we need to be very careful.”
Mr Morrison says he is in regular contact with infected British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Source: AAP
He said he had been in regular contact with infected British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and would soon be speaking to United States President Donald Trump.
The number of new coronavirus infections in Australia has slowed in recent days, with fewer than 50 new cases confirmed in the 24 hours to Tuesday morning.
There are now almost 6400 confirmed infections in Australia and Mr Morrison said the country had to remain vigilant to prevent new infections soaring in a second wave.
“We need to be very careful because this thing can get away from you very quickly,” he said.
“The easing of restrictions – if you miss-time that you will find yourself in a situation like Singapore.
“Singapore’s curve is going up. It’s not flattening. Singapore was one of the example jurisdictions just a few weeks ago. So we cannot be complacent.”
Mr Morrison repeated his criticism of the World Health Organization and its recent support of the Chinese wet market trade.
“I just find it baffling. I just don’t get it. We want to be able to protect the world’s health from these incubators of viruses.”