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Australia's coronavirus epicenter to ease curbs after no new cases

14 Comments
By Colin Packham

A lockdown of Australia's second-biggest city will be eased after the country's coronavirus epicenter said it had gone 24 hours without any new infections for the first time in four months, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday.

Melbourne - home to 5 million people - has been in lockdown since early July after a spike of novel coronavirus infections that began in hotels where people were in quarantine after arriving from abroad.

But with infections now under control, Andrews said most restrictions would be eased in two phases from Tuesday, which should give Australia's ailing economy a boost.

"Now is the time to open up," Andrews told reporters in Melbourne. "We've have been able to bring this under control, a day of zero cases is an amazing achievement."

Andrews said people would be free to leave their homes from Tuesday while restaurants, cafes, shops, bars and hotels would be allowed to reopen.

Capacities at those businesses, however, will be capped at 40 indoors and 70 outside.

The size of religious services would also be expanded, Andrews said.

Andrews said people would be allowed to travel from Melbourne to the state's rural areas from Nov. 9, when a curb limiting people to no more than 25 km from their homes will be dropped.

The easing of restrictions will boost hopes of a quick economic rebound from Australia's first recession in three decades, triggered after large swathes the economy were shut to slow the spread of the virus.

The economy shrank 7% in the three months to the end of June, the biggest quarterly contraction since records began in 1959. Unemployment hit a 22-year high of 7.5% in July as businesses and borders closed.

Most restrictions in other parts of Australia have been eased with just a handful of locally acquired infections being found on most days.

Australia has recorded just over 27,500 novel coronavirus infections, far fewer than many other developed countries.

Victoria, which accounts for more than 90% of the 905 deaths nationally, did not record any new deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

14 Comments
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"Now is the time to open up," Andrews told reporters in Melbourne. "We've have been able to bring this under control, a day of zero cases is an amazing achievement."

https://www.theage.com.au/national/coronavirus-updates-live-victoria-under-pressure-to-relax-restrictions-nsw-free-of-local-covid-19-cases-for-three-days-australian-death-toll-stands-at-905-20201026-p568i9.html

For the raw and initiated, this is what we call a backflip. Andrews said over the weekend he wasn't going to ease the lockdowns, but it's likely that people in his own governing party have pressured him to change - partly because easing/scrapping the lockdown is the right thing to do, and probably partly to save their own skins.

This duplicitous politician is now claiming credit instead of resigning to take responsibility for the 800 deaths (highest by far of any state in Australia), quarantine bungle, and decimation of business. If his party have even half a backbone, they'll turf him out and send him packing to Beijing.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

About time. Hopefully Daniel Andrews pays a massive price at the next state election.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Must be nice to live in a civilized nation that respect skeptical, rational inquiry. Y'know...

Science.

But I remain an optimist. Eight days, my friends.

Eight days.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Black SabbathToday  04:01 pm JST

Must be nice to live in a civilized nation that respect skeptical, rational inquiry. Y'know...

Science.

But I remain an optimist. Eight days, my friends.

Eight days.

Andrews' judgment is not rational, its expedient. Same bloke who signed an MoU with China to join their Ball & Chain Initiative.

Really worth trusting him?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

This duplicitous politician is now claiming credit instead of resigning to take responsibility for the 800 deaths (highest by far of any state in Australia), quarantine bungle, and decimation of business. If his party have even half a backbone, they'll turf him out and send him packing to Beijing.

How nice it would have been if just this once, you could have overcome your hatred of Daniel Andrews (who many months ago accepted the responsibility you allege he has not accepted) and offered your best wishes to the citizens of Melbourne for staying the distance and avoiding the bullet of a major Covid-19 outbreak. But no, it's the same old story from you, every time, with no concessions.

A few days ago you insulted the citizens of this city by suggesting that their support for the lockdown was just a manifestation of Stockholm Syndrome. That comment was allowed to stand, so I hope mine will too. You, my friend, are suffering from a severe and perhaps terminal case of Andrews Derangement Syndrome.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Big Yen,

There’s a very sizable proportion of Victorians who have been sick to death of the lockdown and could wait for it to end. If it was so successful, why has Victoria had the highest death rate by far? Peta Credlin and a couple of reporters from the Oz were the only journos who really put Andrews under pressure and he clearly hates them for it.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

If it was so successful, why has Victoria had the highest death rate by far?.

It was exactly because of that high death rate (for Australia) that the lock down was put in place and it has worked wonderfully well. Australia and Victoria now has a handle on this virus for now which is in contrast to the US who announced they can not control the virus and dont know what to do (while Trump is leader). Europe is in the deadly grip of their second wave and all would no doubt rather be in Australia's position.

It is easy to criticize, however when your trying to pick apart something that has been so successful you just look silly. The people of Melbourne are proud of their achievement and will be "getting on the beer" when the bars reopen on Wednesday. We knew it had to be done and we did what Aussies do. We worked together to get it done and got through it as one. A few dissenters will always surface no matter what the issue is but those who did not believe in the science were a small minority.

To those who said this will never end, it is a conspiracy to enslave Victorians, you will never be free again etc etc I snort derisively at you and smile because we beat back the scourge this time and if needed (here's hoping it is not) we will fight it again and win again. We are judged on how we protect the most vulnerable in our society and Melbourne has shown we treasure every life and will do the hard things to protect them.

Well done Melbourne! Take a bow and on Wednesday enjoy a few beers (responsibly), you earned them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Melbourne is like a police chief who locked up all residents and now is celebrating there is no littering.

Congratulations.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I love watching the anti-maskers and virus-deniers freak out about the success of Victoria in eradicating the virus.

I also enjoyed seeing the springtime pics of Melbourne my friend posted while on a walk yesterday or the day before. It looks beautiful.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@strangerland

Why is it you Americans see everything as black and white?

Personally, I am not against mask wearing or a safe vaccine but I believe melbourne has gone to far and deserves no credit.

The fact that the only option is to lockdown for 4 months shows that contact tracing is inadequate, the medical system is underfunded and the regional government were unable to successfully promote basic measures such as mask wearing.

And to say the virus is eradicated is make believe, even after a vaccine is available the virus will continue to spread at a reduced rate.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@strangerland

Why is it you Americans see everything as black and white?

I'm confused, you started off addressing me, but then went on to address Americans. Whom are you talking to here?

Personally, I am not against mask wearing or a safe vaccine but I believe melbourne has gone to far and deserves no credit.

My friend who actually lives there on the other hand literally was exclaiming on FaceBook how nice it was to be able to go out, mask free and virus free in Melbourne once again.

So he cancels your opinion out.

Now that we've got that out of the way, what do the residents of Victoria as a whole think?

The fact that the only option is to lockdown for 4 months shows that contact tracing is inadequate, the medical system is underfunded and the regional government were unable to successfully promote basic measures such as mask wearing.

Yeah, the virus has exposed a lot of weaknesses in world societies and people's behaviors.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And to say the virus is eradicated is make believe

Fair enough.

The virus has been currently eliminated from Victoria. It may, and likely will, make further appearances. But the people of Victoria are currently able to live normally without fear of the virus.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The fact that the only option is to lockdown for 4 months shows that contact tracing is inadequate, the medical system is underfunded and the regional government were unable to successfully promote basic measures such as mask wearing.

Contract tracing was inadequate earlier, but with the assistance of the Feds and NSW is now at a level equal to any in the country. And, most likely, superior to most of the contact tracing overseas.

The medical system is not underfunded. What is underfunded is the Aged Care system where most deaths have occurred, and that is a responsibility of the Federal Government who have ignored successive inquiries and increasing community concern and done precisely nothing to improve the legislated standards of care or the ratio of staff to residents. Hence the deaths.

Mask wearing has been compulsory for months and will remain so.

You are right about one thing. The virus has not been eliminated. But then no-one in Victoria is saying that it is.

Once again you fail to check your basic facts before posting and when you do post, post misinformation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My friend who actually lives there on the other hand literally was exclaiming on FaceBook how nice it was to be able to go out, mask free and virus free in Melbourne once again.

We have been told that wearing masks in Victoria will remain compulsory probably well into 2021. You should even be wearing one when visiting the home of friends or family even though that can not be policed. It has been determined by many studies here that the highest chance to contract the virus is in the home. Many but not all clusters traced, center around family homes.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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