Suggesting elderly Australians should be sacrificed to coronavirus is “amoral and hideous”, the prime minister has declared as Victoria records its deadliest day of the pandemic.
There were another 19 coronavirus deaths confirmed in Victoria on Monday, taking the national toll to 313.
Fourteen of the deaths are linked to aged care outbreaks.
The state also recorded 322 new cases.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed his disgust at suggestions older Australians should have been “offered up” to the virus in order to reduce restrictions.
“That is just a hideous thought,” he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.
“An absolutely amoral, hideous thought. One I have had no countenance with from the very first time it was suggested.”
More than 300 people have died from coronavirus in the aged care system, a grim figure Mr Morrison has described as a terrible tragedy.
Genomic testing indicates Victoria’s botched hotel quarantine program could have sparked Victoria’s deadly second outbreak.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has again called out the Victorian government over significant failures in the program, saying the mistakes must be explained.
Mr Frydenberg, who is self-isolating in Canberra before the next federal parliament sitting, said it should never have reached the point where the state was recording hundreds of new cases and multiple deaths a day.
“It’s very very difficult emotionally, it’s difficult obviously on the economy as well,” he told 2GB radio.
“We know with respect to quarantine, there have been very significant failures with deadly consequences. Victorians deserve answers. I’ll leave that to Daniel Andrews and his government to provide.”
With an independent review of the quarantine program to begin next week, Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos has said she is “deeply sorry” if she hadn’t done enough to prevent the virus spreading.
It is not yet clear whether infections in Victoria’s outbreak have peaked, although there have been encouraging signs in recent days.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth is hopeful case numbers in Victoria will soon drop.
“It’s important to wait for the trend to emerge but we do have some confidence in the coming days to week we’ll see those numbers come down,” he told the ABC.
“What is happening in Victoria could happen anywhere and it just behoves us to all change our behaviour for the coming months while we get this situation under control.”
NSW has reported 14 new cases of the virus, including one with no known source.
Queensland recorded one new case of the virus overnight, a man in hotel quarantine who recently returned from overseas.
The state’s authorities have opened up aged care homes to visitors, as they’re confident two infected teens who dodged quarantine did not spread the virus.