Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to do a fair bit of jet-setting next week, meaning that when he gets back to Australia, he and the rest of his team will have to quarantine for 14 days like everyone else – just not in a hotel.
First he’s headed to Japan to meet the country’s new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Then, Morrison will swing by Papua New Guinea to chat with Prime Minister James Marap about distributing a coronavirus vaccine when it’s eventually released.
Although international (and even inter-state) travel is offlimits for most Aussies, Morrison said it’s totally not weird at all that he’s ducking out for a bit.
“First of all, I will be one of tens of thousands of Australians over the course of this pandemic who have left Australia, there are many tens of thousands of Australians who have had to travel overseas including the minister for defence, and the minister for foreign affairs, regarding their business activities, many others on compassionate reasons and those figures will be well known to you,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“And for many months now I have engaged in telephone diplomacy on a large number of matters. And we will be doing so again this weekend.”
Nevertheless, the PM will still have to quarantine for 14 days when he gets back to Australia. However instead of doing that in a hotel, he’ll be staying at his official residence in Canberra, a.k.a. The Lodge.
“Now, I’ll be strictly following, as you would expect, the health advice and quarantine requirements when I return to Australia,” Morrison said.
“I will go into isolation for 14 days as well as those who are accompanying me and what will be a first, I anticipate for the Australian Parliament, joining Question Time by video link.
“So it will be a first and I can only look forward to that, as I am sure all of you will also.”
Uhh yeah, sure. Anyway.
Although they’re nowhere near having any donut days, Japan is among the handful of countries that have handled the pandemic fairly well.
PNG, meanwhile, has been recording zero new cases on many days for quite some time now.
The point is, it’s not as if Morrison’s throwing himself into a pop-up hospital in a coronavirus hotspot – these places are considered relatively low-risk, in the scheme of things.
Morrison also added that going to Japan in person is actually a pretty big deal at the moment.
“To be the first national leader, I think, to engage in Japan, with the new prime minister, and to have the opportunity to do that is significant for Australia, because Japan is a very special relationship with Australia,” Morrison said.
So… good for him, I guess.