Trigger point for emergency aged care plan

Aged care emergency response centres will pop up across the country should coronavirus case numbers increase.

Scott Morrison mapped out the plan with state and territory leaders at the latest national cabinet meeting.

A response centre has already been established in Victoria, where hundreds of nursing home residents have died from coronavirus.

State or federal governments can stand up other centres.

“The trigger for that is the medical evidence, the state of the pandemic, should it escalate to the level or move towards the level we’ve seen in Victoria,” the prime minister told reporters on Wednesday.

The NSW and Queensland governments are most alert to the need as they both handle a handful of virus clusters.

The federal government is facing ongoing scrutiny of its response to aged care outbreaks in Victoria.

Mr Morrison has launched a scathing attack on Victoria to deflect responsibility, putting the blame on the state’s hotel quarantine, testing and tracing systems.

He has also tried to alleviate concerns by arguing Australia has done better in regards to aged care virus outbreaks compared to other countries.

“I would hope that that brings at least some comfort,” the prime minister said.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese says he was shocked Mr Morrison argued 97 per cent of aged care facilities have had no infections.

“It is a heartless comment,” he told the Seven Network.

“These people are saying goodbye to their loved ones on FaceTime. And they deserve better than just the prime minister saying that 97 per cent is okay.”

Labor is calling for the Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck’s scalp after he was unable to tell a Senate inquiry how many residents had died in aged care facilities.

“He is just not up to it,” Mr Albanese said.

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