Opublikowano: 2020-08-03 09:10:16 +0200
Effective Sunday 2nd August, the state of Victoria in Australia has been declared a State of Disaster due to the constant escalation of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks. This is in effect for the next 6 weeks until at least Sunday 13th September.
For NPORTAL.no Jamie Stewart (Australia correspondent)
Under the state of disaster, new lockdown rules under Stage 4 restrictions announced by the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews will apply in Melbourne, while regional Victoria has reverted to Stage 3 restrictions.
In an unprecedented move, the city of greater Melbourne (where my wife and I reside) is now under a curfew between the hours of 8pm-5am. Residents during this time will need to remain indoors with the only exception being for work or care giving. In the history of Australia, this is the first ever city wide curfew that has been introduced. Even during War times, there was never a curfew like this in place.
Some of the other restrictions that apply are as follows:
Closure of all non essential businesses (with the exception of Supermarkets, Liquor, Convenience stores, petrol stations, pharmacies, post offices and some hardware/garden supplies retailing for trade)
Only 1 person per household at a time will be able to leave the house for essential grocery shopping and medical services and they are limited to within 5 kilometers from their home.
Exercise will be limited to just 1 hour per day (within 5km of place of residence)
School/University students to undertake remote learning from home
Weddings are banned and Funerals can only take place in regional areas outside Melbourne.
WHY HAS THIS ONLY OCCURRED IN VICTORIA?
Victoria is one of 8 states or territories in Australia and until recently they had their pandemic under control. Even other states of Australia which previously had their borders closed to Victoria were close to re-opening to them, but this virus has shown how unpredictable it is and that you can never be complacent.
Victoria is now a “pariah” to the rest of Australia with state borders being patrolled by police and defence force personnel with only essential workers allowed to cross the border in to other states of Australia.
To give you an indication of why a state of disaster has been declared, you only need to look at the below new Daily virus case numbers from Sunday 2nd August within Australia’s states and territories:
- Victoria: 671
- NSW: 12 (1 in hotel quarantine)
- South Australia: 2 (both linked to recent Victorian travel)
- Queensland: 1 (in hotel quarantine)
- Western Australia: 1 (in hotel quarantine)
- Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory & Northern Territory: 0
The main reason the cases started to escalate in Victoria has been traced back to security guards who were overseeing hotel quarantining. All Australian states have had rules in place that any returned travellers must undertake a mandatory 14 day quarantine period in a hotel. There have been more than 20,000 returned travellers to Australia since the pandemic started.
It is alleged that the security guards in Victoria were improperly trained and not provided with enough protective equipment. There was even cases of the security staff illegally socialising and even claims of guards having or propositioning for sex with quarantined travellers. There is currently a judicial inquiry taking place regarding this operation.
International flights have since been diverted from Melbourne, Victoria to other states within Australia.
The other factor causing the spike in virus cases has been complacency within the community, ever since the restrictions were eased in early June after the initial lockdown.
WORKPLACE COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION
The workplace has been the most common occurrence of community transmission within the Victorian community. Sadly, the highest prevalence of the virus being transmitted has been in the most vulnerable section of the workplace – the Aged Care sector.
Some of the aged care outbreaks have been linked to health care workers who are employed across multiple facilities, therefore spreading the virus amongst the staff and residents of these other aged care facilities.
There are now over 1000 Covid-19 cases linked to the aged care sector and tragically there are on average between 5-10 deaths of aged care residents daily.
ANGER WITHIN THE COMMUNITY
What has been causing a lot of the anger in the local community is people deliberately ignoring and flouting the rules & restrictions.
Some examples of blatant rule breaches are of a person who had driven 270km from Melbourne to regional Victoria and when questioned by police, they said were going to McDonalds to buy a Big Mac hamburger. They were subsequently fined $1652 Australian Dollars (approximately 10 700 NOK), while another group of 16 party revellers were fined a total of $26,000 AUD (169,000 NOK) after police got suspicious when 16 boxes of KFC were ordered.
There are some people going to work sick and spreading the virus amongst their colleagues when they should be staying home.There has also been issues with approximately 1 in every 4 people who have been diagnosed with the virus not quarantining at home when police checked up on them and therefore potentially spreading the virus further amongst the community.
We can only hope that with the current introduction of Stage 4 restrictions similar to what our neighbouring country New Zealand implemented in March, this will have the same effect of suppressing the virus?
We are all missing our family and friends and if everyone follows the rules we can see them all again very soon.
The same rules apply in Europe and worldwide, just when you think you have everything with the virus under control in your respective country, it can rapidly get out of hand again. This is becoming apparent currently in many areas of Europe.
Until a Covid-19 vaccine is found, we must all continue to be vigilant, otherwise the current events happening in Melbourne could easily occur in your own local area.