The city has been repeatedly named in recent years as “
the world’s most habitable
“Has been locked down since July 9. One week ago, Andrews declared that a city ban will not be lifted until October 26 – and then only if the coronavirus is almost eliminated.
In Melbourne, public life has essentially stopped. Schools are closing. The roads are empty. The only open shops are gas stations, supermarkets and pharmacies.
People who do not work in an important industry are only allowed to leave their houses for two hours of training a day or buy food, take care of others or seek medical attention. Soldiers go door to door to check that infected people are isolated. Police are asking cyclists for identification to ensure they are not violating a rule that only allows training within five kilometers of their home.
Federal officials managing their first recession in 29 years have asked Andrews to loosen rules pulling Australia̵
Andrews argues that his critics are one of Australia’s least charismatic political leaders with no business experience outside the left-left Labor Party or state government. can cause worse damage.
“We need to keep the numbers low and keep them low,” he said Monday. “That’s exactly what we want to achieve when everyone works together.”
By stoically explaining his position and arguing every day at news conferences that have become a surprising TV rating hit, Andrews seems to have convinced Melburnians that the tough measures are necessary.
A poll by Roy Morgan Research last week reported that 62 percent of voters in the city did not want the curfew to be stopped immediately, and that more than two-thirds of voters across the state approve of Andrews’ performance.
But health experts – even those who want the new coronavirus to be eliminated from Australia, something no major country has achieved – worry that Andrews may have gone too far in controlling a disease that has killed a similar number of people in Melbourne as the District of Columbia, which has an eighth of the Australian city’s population and a death toll of 616.
“I find it strange as an epidemiologist that we have to go so extreme when the number of cases is manageable,” Catherine Bennett, an infectious disease expert at Deakin University, said in an interview.
On Tuesday, Andrews’ health department registered 42 new cases of coronavirus and no deaths. On Thursday, most restrictions outside Melbourne will be lifted following a drop in cases.
Throughout the lockdown, Andrews’s government has responded to isolated acts of defiance with power shows. Public demonstrations and solicitation of others to participate in them have been declared illegal. Some workers have arranged secret meetings with colleagues in supermarkets.
On September 2, state police arrested and handcuffed a pregnant woman wearing pink pajamas in front of her child and her husband for trying to organize an anti-lockdown protest through Facebook in the regional city of Ballarat.
Then on Sunday, activists, including some virus conspiracy theorists, used an encrypted messaging app to organize a protest in Melbourne’s central food market where they could conceivably act.
When the news of the protest was posted on social media an hour in advance, police flooded the area with officers on horseback, and others swung with batons and thick plastic screens.
When protesters shouted “Freedom!” police arrested 74 people and issued the equivalent of $ 200,000 in fines. “Protesting is stupid, protesting is selfish, and protesting is dangerous,” Andrews said afterwards.
“Are we in the hands of a maniac?” replied Chris Lucas, one of the city’s prominent restaurateurs, in an interview.
That night, the rules were relaxed a bit in response to an earlier decision. The curfew now begins an hour later at. 21.00 People living alone are allowed to appoint another person for short social visits.
But until October 26, most children will not be allowed to return to school, nor will adults be able to move freely. To achieve this goal, on average, there must be fewer than five cases every day for two weeks and fewer than five cases a day that cannot be traced to an existing outbreak over two weeks under the Victorian government’s strategy to defeat the virus.
Nick Baker, a 43-year-old Melbourne resident and aviation worker, said he supports the shutdown but struggles with the lack of physical contact with friends or family other than his wife, Janis.
The couple planned a vacation to Las Vegas last month for her 40th birthday. Australia has banned most foreign travel, and Baker’s backup plan, a trip along Victoria’s scenic Great Ocean Road, is now illegal.
Instead, Baker bought his wife a cake baked to look like the famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip.
“This morning it hit me that day, step 4 [restrictions] should end, is actually the beginning of another six weeks until we can make friends visit or get out of our 5 kilometer radius, ”he said in an email on Sunday.
“The roadmap does not offer much hope. I think it’s necessary, but it does not make it any easier. We just want to take a walk to the beach. ”