News Coronavirus Victorians bristle at re-imposed COVID restrictions as spike raises second-wave fears

Victorians bristle at re-imposed COVID restrictions as spike raises second-wave fears

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos speak to the media during a press conference at Treasury Theatre in Melbourne, Saturday, June 20, 2020
The R0 is tightly guarded by the governemnt. Photo: AAP
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As most of the country moves towards opening up, Victoria has been forced to re-impose stricter lockdown measures in response to rising case numbers – but some say they’ll flout the tough new measures.

At a press conference on Saturday, Premier Daniel Andrews announced the backslide, with the state’s coronavirus case numbers the highest they have been in two months.

Mr Andrews blamed the move on Victorian families, saying half of the state’s cases were due to “family-to-family transmission” caused by families visiting each other in large numbers and ignoring social distancing orders.

In further bad news for the state, AFL boss Gill McLachlan revealed on Saturday afternoon that Essendon player Conor McKenna had tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the cancellation of Sunday’s clash between the Bombers and Melbourne at the MCG.

But some Victorians are still complacent about the threat of COVID-19 and planning to disobey the new rules, which include limiting gatherings to just five people from Sunday midnight.

The New Daily spoke to one Melburnian who intends to go ahead with plans for a country escape with nine friends from seven separate houses next weekend.

The woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the group would only change their plans if the host cancelled.

“We would respect the decision of the host if they cancel, but if that’s not the case I think we’ll still go if we’re all healthy and well,” she said.

I just need to get out of Melbourne and it will be nice to get a change.

“Everyone has had a really challenging time in the last few months and we need to get away from the stress of life at the moment … We’re taking the opportunity to do that.”

Victoria’s poor performance may serve as a warning to other states as they look to open up for domestic travel.

The number of cases caused by community transmission tripled in Australia this week compared to the previous week, and while most  were in Victoria, it raised concerns that while the nation may have successfully squished the curve, the risk of a second wave is ever present.

I think we absolutely are at risk of a second peak,” Mr Andrews warned.

“But we can get on top of it – and we must get on top of it – because this virus doubles every week. In a population of active cases at the moment, that’s what the numbers look like, a doubling every week.

On Friday, the World Health Organisation said the pandemic had entered a “new and dangerous phase” with director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu telling countries to be careful about how quickly they open up.

“Many people are understandably fed up with being at home. Countries are understandably eager to open up their societies and economies,” he said.

But the virus is still spreading fast. It is still deadly and most people are still susceptible.”

The WHO boss said that amid the pandemic, people and world leaders need to “exercise extreme vigilance” and to “focus on the basics.”

“Continue maintaining your distance from others. Stay home if you feel sick. Keep covering your nose and mouth when you cough. Wear a mask when appropriate. Keep cleaning your hands,” he said.