Some good news from across the ditch. Melbourne had a day free of newly notified Covid cases and State Premier Daniel Andrews has announced easing of lockdown restrictions. From Josh Taylor at the Guardian:
The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, has declared “now is the time to open up” as Melbourne’s extended lockdown ends, and the state plans to reopen retail, pubs, restaurants and other businesses.
On the day no cases were recorded for the first time in close to 20 weeks, Andrews announced an end to the stay-at-home order from Tuesday midnight.
“Now is the time to congratulate every single Victorian for staying the course. Now is the time to thank every single Victorian family for being guided by the data, the science and the doctors, not letting our frustration get the better of us but, instead, proving equal to this wicked enemy. Indeed, better than this wicked enemy.”
All retail, beauticians and tattoo parlours will be allowed to reopen, in line with Covid-safe plans.
Cafes, bars and restaurants will be allowed to reopen with indoor seating of up to 20, outdoor up to 50, and recordkeeping and Covid-safe plans in place.
Weddings can be held with a maximum of 10 people, and funerals can have a maximum of 20 people. Outdoor religious ceremonies can accommodate up to 20 people, or 10 indoors.
Clear concise reporting. Which is a world away from the way that the Murdoch empire presented the story. The Herald reprinted a News Corp article with this headline:
Covid 19 coronavirus: ‘Fury’ erupts in Victoria after Dan Andrews refuses to ease restrictions
The text was no better.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is facing a storm of criticism over his decision not to lift the state’s lockdown sooner.
Liberal MP Tim Wilson accused Andrews of breaking a “contract” with the people of Victoria
“Victorians have consistently done the right thing,” Wilson said in an interview with 2GB breakfast host Ben Fordham.
“It is despicable that the State government is blaming a northern suburbs family for their own systems failures. Daniel Andrews has broken the contract he had with Victorians. It should be honoured.”
Wilson’s criticism intensified, with the Victorian politician adding: “Melbourne is a hellhole. So many of my friends have left or are wanting to leave. Daniel Andrews has wrecked the joint.”
The article also cites former Labor Health Minister Jenny Mikakos who fell on her sword after a damning review of Melbourne’s hotel quarantine system.
The “delay” was Andrews wanting to get all of the testing data in. And the “fury” is in the heads of Newscorp staff.
I hope the reopening is not too early. But all credit due to Andrews’ and Melbourne’s efforts. Australia’s daily infection rate peaked at over 700 new infections being recorded during July. And most of these were in Victoria.
This repeats New Zealand’s experience but emphasises the need to go hard and go early. And follow the science.
Meanwhile in America the Trump White House has essentially announced that it is giving up. From the Guardian:
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has just made one of the most revealing comments to emerge from Trump’s inner circle about the president’s historic mishandling of the coronavirus crisis. On a Sunday political talk show, Meadows admitted that the federal government was not focusing on trying to control the pandemic.
“We’re not going to control the pandemic,” he told Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union. “We are going to control the fact that we get a vaccine, therapeutics and other mitigation.”
Tapper pressed Meadows to explain why the administration was not going to control Covid-19, given the massive surge that is pummeling the Midwest and mountain states. He replied: “Because it is a contagious virus.”
And Mike Pence’s chief of staff and three other members of his staff have tested positive for Covid. So what does a responsible political leader do? Continues to campaign by flying throughout the country and holding maskless rallies.
Europe and the States are seeing a new surge in the spread of the virus as shown by this graph.
The only way to deal with it is as shown by Melbourne and by New Zealand. Go hard, maintain social distancing, shut down all but essential services. And prey.