“We have been very careful in trying to phrase the words we have used and to provide our thoughts,” he said.

“We did not say that people under 60 and previously under 50 should not be vaccinated. We said we’d rather they get Pfizer. We have chosen this word very carefully.

Mr Morrison refused to apologize for the vaccine setbacks, but accepted responsibility. With one million doses per week now being administered, he said the country was about two months behind what it would have been otherwise and “maybe less than that by the end of this year.”

NSW shows almost no sign of progress

The government is hammered in opinion polls as Greater Sydney, parts of regional NSW and all of Victoria and South Australia find themselves locked in.

NSW shows virtually no sign of progress with 110 other reported cases, 43 of which were active in the community, a big jump from the previous day. The latter number is one the government says must reach zero before the lockdown can be lifted.

Victoria, which extended its lockdown for a week on Tuesday, recorded 22 more cases while SA, which on Tuesday announced a one-week shutdown in response to five cases, recorded six more.

Other states have closed their borders, putting the country in as bad a position as it has been since the start of the pandemic.

Frustrated business leaders struck again, saying governments must reopen national and international borders and aspire to live with the pandemic and put public policy ahead of politics.

Zip co-chair Diane Smith-Gander, Commonwealth Bank president Catherine Livingstone, and Telstra chairman John Mullen expressed their views at a conference of the Australian Council of retired investors on Wednesday, but accepted higher vaccination rates.

Over the weekend, the Treasury’s first estimates predicted a GDP impact of at least 1% for the September quarter. Increasingly, economists expect the quarter to contract.

If the December quarter followed suit, the economy would be in recession again, as it was when the March and June quarters contracted last year.

The December quarter should rebound

Mr Morrison said, however, that while GDP and jobs would be hit in the September quarter, the December quarter is expected to rebound, despite the Sydney drop and the delta strain of the virus proving notoriously difficult to contain.

“It’s impossible to avoid when the lockdowns are unfolding at the rate we’re currently seeing in three states. So we are anticipating that, ”he said.

“I only spoke to the Governor of the Reserve Bank this week and the Deputy Governor with the Treasurer, and they share a perspective, like us, and that’s when these impacts of the lockdowns will be here in this quarter,” In the quarter that follows, if we continue to be on the path we are on, increasing our resilience, then we can expect that to turn around in the December quarter.

When asked about the assumptions behind the rebound theory, Mr. Morrison cited a precedent.

“The confidence expressed by both the Treasury and the Reserve Bank is confidence in the experience of what we have already seen happen,” he said.

“The economic impact of this, of course, will be a big blow. But it’s not a blow you can’t recover from and how do I know it? Because last year, when we took the same blow, we turned the tide and put a million people back to work. So we know how to see our economy recover.

“People will go back to work. People will go back to the stores to buy things. The views will open again and the economy will come back to life very, very quickly. “

Mr Morrison said there were no official estimates of the negative impact on the September quarter.

“I am not six weeks old”

The Prime Minister, who moved from Sydney to Canberra to self-isolate before Parliament resumed on August 3, also rejected calls from Labor, unions and some employer groups to reintroduce JobKeeper.

Mr Morrison said the current disaster payments of between $ 375 and $ 600 for affected workers were the same as JobKeeper paid in the December quarter of last year.

Payments are deposited directly into bank accounts, making the system simpler than JobKeeper which was administered through payroll.

Disaster Payments can be turned off and on quickly, unlike JobKeeper, which took four to six weeks to set up and has been running for six months at a time, he said.

“I don’t have six weeks. I have to make sure we now have $ 200 million in output, ”he said.

“This is exactly what we did. We will therefore continue to adapt our responses to economic support to meet the challenges we now have. ″ ⁣

Mr Morrison has also defended the stumbles of the vaccine rollout. He noted that it was “based on the plan which was agreed and adopted by both my cabinet and approved by the national cabinet”.

The plan included not rushing the approval process so as not to fuel the vaccine’s reluctance to focus on AstraZeneca as it could be made in Australia.

In addition, at the time, Pfizer had to be stored at 70 degrees below zero, which made it impossible to distribute in such a large country, especially in rural and remote areas, he said.

“These delays are regrettable,” he added. “We all know they are the result of many factors. People have a perfect perspective after these events.