Morrison promises to win coronavirus fight

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged to “move heaven and earth” to defeat the coronavirus as Australia recorded its youngest victim of the pandemic.

A 20-year-old man was one of 14 deaths reported by Victoria on Friday, taking the national toll to 375.

Twelve of the 14 deaths were people in aged care, with the number of fatalities in Australia’s nursing homes now 215.

Mr Morrison apologised to families who have lost loved ones in homes but rejected suggestions the government has no plan for aged care outbreaks.

The prime minister pinned the Victorian aged care catastrophe on community transmission of coronavirus.

“There is not some special force field around aged-care facilities,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Mr Morrison insisted Australia would ultimately “win the fight” against coronavirus.

“We’re moving heaven and earth as a country at the moment to ensure that we can deal with this,” he said.

“We’re in the fight and we’re going to win it. It’s just going to take a lot of time and a lot of effort.”

Victoria’s daily case numbers ticked up slightly on Friday, but were well down on a week ago, signalling the impact of harsh city-wide restrictions.

The state’s outbreak has prompted other jurisdictions to tighten their borders.

But the Commonwealth is concerned border closures are having serious unintended consequences for agricultural supply chains and the wellbeing of regional Australians.

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham is also urging people to travel if they can to help the domestic tourism industry, which has taken a $12 billion hit.

He says travel restrictions should be proportionate to the risks of coronavirus across different states, arguing jurisdictions with low cases should open to others in a similar situation.

The political blame game has also reignited over the ill-fated disembarkment of the Ruby Princess cruise ship in Sydney, which is linked to more than 20 deaths and hundreds of cases.

Mr Morrison said it was not Australian Border Force’s responsibility to do health checks, putting the onus back on state authorities.

“If you are looking for a doctor at the ABF, you won’t find one. That’s not their job,” he said.

“Public health is a responsibility of the state jurisdictions. That is very clearly set out.”

In March, the prime minister said cruise ships would be put directly under the command of border force, which is a Commonwealth agency.

NSW has recorded nine new cases across the state.

Queensland’s two new confirmed cases are a traveller from Sydney and a person on a cargo ship.

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