Australia weighs further coronavirus curbs as outbreak grows

By Colin Packham

Australia's most populous states will impose harsher restrictions on movement if a COVID-19 outbreak is not quickly bought under control, state premiers said on Wednesday.

Australia has been heralded as a global leader in containing COVID-19, its total death toll lower than what Florida reported on Tuesday alone. Even so, it has seen a surge in new cases, culminating with 10 days of triple-digit gains as of Wednesday.

Victoria state reported another 238 cases in the past 24 hours, even after reimposing a lockdown last week on about five million people in Melbourne, Australia's second-biggest city.

Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews singled out a minority of people for defying lockdown orders - which require people to stay home except for a small number of permissible activities - warning restrictions could be extended.

"If, however, people do not do the right thing, then we will have to move to additional restrictions being put in place and potentially prolong ... these restrictions," Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.

More than 500 people have been fined for not abiding by the lockdown, including two men caught driving around to play the Pokemon GO video game, Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent said.

Nationally, Australia has now recorded about 10,500 cases, while the death toll rose to 111 on Wednesday after a woman in her 90s died from the virus.

In New South Wales, which has seen several dozen COVID-19 cases in the past week, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state will likely need new restrictions. She ruled out a blanket lockdown, however, citing the economic damage.

Australia's remote Northern Territory said it would keep its borders closed to New South Wales and Victoria.

The possibility of new restrictions is a blow to Australia's hopes of a speedy economic recovery as curbs implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19 push the country to its first recession in nearly three decades.

The Westpac-Melbourne Institute index of consumer sentiment fell 6.1% in July from June, when it had bounced 6.3%. Victoria's sentiment index alone dived 10.4%.

The Australian Rules Football league said it would move all 10 teams based in Victoria to northeastern Queensland, where the virus has nearly been eliminated, to keep the season alive.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Lockdowns will never stop the virus, nor is the 'pandemic' tantamount to lockdowns. The media and the WHO are mainly responsible for this chaos, but so are those who have been milking the opportunity for all it's worth...

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

AgentXToday  03:07 pm JST

Lockdowns will never stop the virus, nor is the 'pandemic' tantamount to lockdowns. The media and the WHO are mainly responsible for this chaos, but so are those who have been milking the opportunity for all it's worth...

I think you're right. I was just talking with my Dad, who's in regional Victoria, and said Melbourne is akin to a police state. Roadblocks with the police and Army, having to put down your name and address any time you go into a restaurant, fines galore, queues at supermarkets. Anyone who died in the Eastern Bloc before 1990 and came back to life might not notice the difference.

These are stage 3 restrictions, but the state government is considering stage 4, whatever that means. Probably compulsory masks and whatever else they can come up with.

I worry about my Dad, as he's in a high-risk group and in his mid-80s and I have no idea if and when I'll get to see him again, but he's remarkably philosophical about it. Yet a protective medicine that he could take to minimise his chances of developing serious symptoms is being severely restricted by the Australian government, probably because they'd prefer to vaccinate everyone instead. It's a crime, but nobody will be brought to account.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Kyronstavic what is the protective medicine the Australian government are restricting that you refer to.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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