Premier Daniel Andrews has lashed the federal Health Minister Greg Hunt for “insulting” the sacrifice of Victorians by calling for a COVID-safe reopening of hospitality.
After it was revealed the state reported just one new coronavirus case on Saturday, Mr Hunt said the number was “great news” and the rolling average of new cases was well below 10.
“The epidemiological conditions for a COVID-safe reopening of hospitality, movement and family reunions, among others, have now firmly been met,” he said.
“Victoria should now be able to move to the next step, in line with NSW.”
Mr Andrews fired back at the minister during his daily press conference, telling reporters Mr Hunt was not an epidemiologist and it was not for him to determine whether the conditions have been met.
“He’s a politician and I think he’s making that very clear to everyone who follows these tweets and everyone else who listens to his criticisms,” he said.
“I’m done with this.
“It’s an insult to the sacrifice that Victorians have made.
“Politics doesn’t work on this and I’m going to call it out from now on because there are some people who have played politics every day of this pandemic, and Victorians are sick of it.”
Mr Andrews said he was prepared for blowback when steps to ease coronavirus restrictions in the state are announced tomorrow.
“I’ll boldly predict that whatever I stand up here tomorrow and announce, there will be members of that federal government, some who are from Victoria but I don’t think they’re for Victoria, who will be out there saying ‘it’s not enough, you should have done more’,” he said.
“What that says to me is we’re not going to be pressured, we’re not going to be engaging in what I think is a political exercise.”
Saturday was the first time the state had recorded one coronavirus case since June 5, and comes after just two cases were announced on Friday.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the state was in a “very, very good position”, but does not want to be taking unreasonable risks.
“We’ve taken a slow and steady approach for a reason, and it’s borne out,” he said.
“To be gradually going in this one positive direction is a remarkable achievement.”
NSW earlier this week welcomed the first international flights from New Zealand under the travel bubble arrangement, which means the arrivals are not required to stay in mandatory hotel quarantine for two weeks.
But the program quickly ran into issues, after 17 travellers who landed in Sydney were caught entering Melbourne on Friday – day one of the bubble.
Mr Andrews said he had written to the Prime Minister on Saturday hoping to resolve the issue.
“We’re very disappointed that this has happened,” he said.