Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews
Source: Crikey
The Market Herald - At The Bell

Join our daily newsletter At The Bell to receive exclusive market insights

  • Victorians have been temporarily denied a promised easing of strict COVID-19 restrictions by the Andrews Government
  • The Premier had previously flagged lifting the restrictions on business and travel within Melbourne
  • But, in an announcement on Sunday, Daniel Andrews instead revealed the lockdown would remain in place for several extra days
  • The delay has prompted backlash from the Federal Government, the Victorian Opposition and those within the State Government
  • Since Premier Andrews delay on announcing the roadmap out of lockdown, the state has recorded no new cases
  • The zero case record is significant as it marks the first time since June that Victoria has identified no new coronavirus infections

Victorians who’ve been stuck in lockdown for four months have been temporarily denied a promised easing of strict COVID-19 restrictions by the Andrews Government.

The Premier has been widely criticised for the delay, with the Federal Government, State Opposition and even former members of his own Government attacking the move.

What happened?

Daniel Andrews had previously flagged lifting the restrictions on businesses and travel within Melbourne on Sunday, October 25.

But, in yesterday’s much-anticipated press conference, Premier Andrews instead revealed he’d decided to delay re-opening the city and easing restrictions.

He blamed the delay on a recent outbreak in Melbourne’s north, which has seen dozens of people contract COVID-19 and two schools temporarily close.

Premier Andrews said he wanted to wait on recent testing to see whether or not that cluster had grown further.

“This is not a setback. It is simply waiting and being led by the data, being led by the science, and following public health advice,” Daniel Andrews said on Sunday

“We will keep people updated today, tomorrow, and those test results will come back and hopefully what they will show us is not just some additional cases and there are bound to be a few in that mix, but that those cases are linked,” he said.

The response

The Premier’s decision to delay Melbourne’s reopening has attracted mass criticism, with several top politicians accusing Daniel Andrews of shifting the goalposts again.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a joint statement with the Health Minister that yesterday’s announcement was “a profound disappointment.”

“Victoria’s infection rate is now below the Victorian Government’s own target of a 14 day rolling average of fewer than five cases per day to further reduce restrictions,” the PM pointed out.

“Victoria’s public health systems are either up to the task of dealing with future outbreaks or they are not. The decision to keep businesses closed suggests that there is still not sufficient confidence within the Government that their systems can support reopening,” Scott Morrison added.

Victoria’s State Opposition was more scathing in their attacks, with Leader Micheal O’Brien labelling the decision to delay reopening as “appalling”.

Even Premier Andrew’s former Health Minister Jenny Mikakos — who resigned after the Premier blamed her for the hotel quarantine outbreaks in Melbourne — criticised the decision to delay reopening, calling for the Government to get on with it.

What’s next?

Since Premier Andrew’s announcement of a delay yesterday, Victoria has recorded no new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

It’s a significant achievement for the state, marking the first time since June that Victoria has recorded zero new infections, as well as zero deaths.

More From The Market Herald

Building Approvals up 7.5 per cent, CapEx also climbs

The number of dwelling approvals rose 7.5 per cent last month, in a big turn around…

Will the RBA raise interest rates again? Analysts weigh in

Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Michele Bullock is set to deliver her second interest rate decision…

58pc of 700 companies fail to protect virtual data: ASIC cybersecurity report

More than half of respondents to an ASIC cybersecurity survey have been flagged for lacking adequate…

RBA acting Assistant Governor Marion Kohler confirms Aussie 2024 GDP downgrade

The RBA acting Assistant Governor Marion Kohler has confirmed national inflation is set to remain for…