Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday that Australia will hold no lockdown and mask mandates as he pressured the citizens to take personal responsibility for the nationwide surge of COVID-19 just before Christmas.

The PM said that while there is a “strong recommendation” to wear face masks in indoor settings, Australia must adopt a “culture of responsibility” that places the onus on individuals to choose to take protective actions as opposed to a “culture of control and mandates”.

“We’re not going back to lockdowns. We’re going forward to live with this virus with common sense and responsibility,” Morrison said, echoing his previous stance that Australia will have to learn to live with the virus.”

Morrison’s statement rolled out on the internet at the time when Australia was facing an ultimate surge in the COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant. This is the same time when the country reported 4,600 infectious cases leaving behind the previous record of 4,100 just after the weekend.

This also levitated the urge to speed up the booster programs allowing people to get the additional shot after the four months of their second vaccine.

The Australian PM acknowledged that the government is still unsure about the Omicron variant.

“We’re in the very early phases of the Omicron variant and we need to understand it better and that’s why booster shots are so important to protect people,” he said

“What we do know, though, is if you’re double-dose vaccinated, even with Omicron, you’re far better protected than if you’re not vaccinated at all.” The Australian Prime Minister also criticized the state government for delays in the process of vaccination that slowed down the nationwide vaccine rollout. He urged states to speed up the booster process in order to deal with the variant.