News National Victorians ‘getting on the bongs’ aren’t to blame for a coronavirus second wave

Victorians ‘getting on the bongs’ aren’t to blame for a coronavirus second wave

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has a hotspots issue on his hands. Photo: AAP Photo: AAP
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Victorians have been left shocked to find out the state government is dumping plans to ease coronavirus restrictions after a worrying spike in cases.

Not only have limits been reinstated at home, but Victorians will also have to deal with the consequences when attempting to go on holiday.

Queensland’s Health Minister Steven Miles said he was so concerned about a Victorian second wave that the Sunshine State’s borders could remain shut well into next month to stop infected southern staters spreading the virus.

And the NSW Premier is expected to receive an urgent briefing on Monday as authorities there weigh up whether to stop Victorians crossing the border.

So just who is to blame?

If you believe Liberal MP Tim Smith, it is likely down to the people “getting on the bongs”.

His comment came as he pointed the finger at Premier Daniel Andrews over decisions not to outlaw Black Lives Matter rallies.

So far, only three anti-racism protesters have tested positive for COVID-19 out of dozens of new cases.

On Saturday, 25 of 26 coronavirus cases nationwide were from Victoria.

Mr Andrews said irresponsible family get-togethers were the main cause in the highest spike recorded in two months.

Half of the state’s cases were due to “family-to-family transmission”, he said, adding they were caused by families visiting each other in large numbers and ignoring social distancing orders.

One cluster includes 14 people from the same Coburg family.

It is understood the extended family held gatherings across different households in Coburg, Pakenham and Broadmeadows.

Two new cases have also been linked to a family in Keilor Downs, taking that outbreak to 11.

The new outbreak is spread across nine households, and is not believed to be linked to previous clusters in the area.

But members of large, social families aren’t the only people comprising Victoria’s soaring case numbers.

Essendon AFL player Conor McKenna has also tested positive, forcing the cancellation of Sunday’s clash between the Bombers and Melbourne at the MCG.

Little did Conor McKenna (centre) and his teammates know that a bit of a sniffle was something far more serious. Photo: AAP

Another new case was a Grade 3 student from St Mary’s Primary School in the Bayside suburb of Hampton.

One resident at Lifeview Willow Wood aged-care home in Cranbourne returned a positive test, as did another at  Royal Freemasons Springtime in Sydenham.

Three contractors who work at the Stamford Plaza Hotel have also tested positive, bringing that outbreak to 13.

The blame game

Though Victoria’s new cases include people of all ages and backgrounds across the state, some Liberal politicians are insisting the spike was caused by Black Lives Matter protesters.

Earlier this month in all major cities, tens of thousands of Australians protested against systemic racism and Aboriginal deaths in custody.

The rallies formed part of a global anti-racism movement sparked by the killing of African-American George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

Black lives matter
Solidarity protests against institutional racism were held in Australia. Photo: Getty

In a series of tweets, Liberal Kew MP Tim Smith blamed Victoria’s increase in cases squarely at the feet of Mr Andrews for letting the “illegal” protests go ahead.

“Chairman Dan has blamed Victorian family gatherings ‘getting on the beers’ for a spike in COVID-19,” Mr Smith wrote.

“What about 10,000 illegal protesters ‘getting on the bongs?’

“Dan’s hypocrisy of not applying the law equally has resulted in further pain for every who has done the right thing.”

The accusations flowed despite one new case emerging in Mr Smith’s electorate at Camberwell Grammar School.

Fellow Liberal politician Georgie Crozier, deputy opposition leader in Victoria’s legislative council, also tweeted Mr Andrews should “take responsibility” for the protests, as well as “stuff ups at hotel quarantine”.

Former Victorian opposition leader Matthew Guy, Bulleen MP, said in a tweet that Mr Andrews did not test Victorians early enough and made “too many excuses for left-wing protesters”.

‘Restriction fatigue’

Dr Tony Bartone, head of the Australian Medical Association, said people could have COVID-19 “restriction fatigue”, leading them to ignore health advice.

He warned the risk of a second wave of infections was a real threat, and urged against complacency.

“Whether it’s restriction fatigue, whether it’s something else but clearly people have started to disregard those messages and we’re seeing the results in the number of case reports,” Dr Bartone told the ABC on Sunday.

“Any continued uptick from here and the risk of a second wave is absolutely a live possibility.

“The virus is still prevalent in the community. It still wants to spread. It needs to be treated with absolute respect.”