Victoria’s fifth Covid-19 lockdown is “pure insanity, politically motivated and causing more deaths than the virus,” claimed former Liberal Prime Minister Jeff Kennett.
In a column for the Herald Sun, Mr Kennett said the latest lockdown was “definitely unnecessary” but was imposed to boost Prime Minister Daniel Andrews’ popularity.
He accused the government of being too afraid to get the virus under control with contact tracing and instead taking the “easy option” of shutting down the state.
Victoria’s fifth Covid-19 lockdown is ‘pure insanity’, claimed former Liberal Prime Minister Jeff Kennett. Pictured: Melbourne residents on Wednesday
Victoria went into lockdown on July 15 after 18 cases of the highly contagious Delta strain were recorded.
With the outbreak spreading to 107 cases on Wednesday, the shutdown has been extended for another week until July 27.
Prime Minister and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the early lockdown was essential to halt the spread of the deadly disease and prevent a longer lockdown.
“If we let it smolder at a low level…there’s a good chance we’ll be back here, locked up again,” Mr Andrews said on Tuesday.
Victoria’s fifth lockdown comes a year after the devastating three-month state shutdown in the winter of 2020.
Kennett claimed the lockdowns are so damaging to livelihoods and mental health that they cause more deaths than the virus itself.
“I am tired of hearing that we are saving hundreds of lives by having these lockdowns,” wrote Mr Kennett.
Businesses will remain closed in Melbourne on Wednesday as the lockdown is extended for another week
‘If our contact tracing is in order, we can beat this virus. What we can’t do is have these rolling lockdowns.”
Kennett, who led Victoria from 1992 to 1999, has provided no evidence to show that lockdowns cause more deaths than the virus.
In 2020, there was a 40 percent spike in calls to mental health hotlines and 698 Victorians took their own lives – but this number was 20 less than in 2019, before the pandemic.
Kennett said 120 drivers have died on Victoria’s roads this year and hundreds are killed each year from flu, but the state is not shutting down to prevent these deaths.
Covid-19 is much more deadly than the flu and has killed 820 Victorians, with a death rate of 3.9 percent.
The former prime minister said there were two main reasons why the government favored lockdowns, even as businesses are being “killed” and family assets are “destroyed”.
The government — burned by last year’s tragedy — fears losing control of the virus and believes the lockdowns are widely popular, Kennett claimed.
Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews shared an alarming map Monday evening showing how hundreds of residents have now been directly exposed to the virus in the state.
“The government is afraid of making a mistake for which it will be held responsible.
“Either our politicians don’t trust themselves, the people they’ve taxed to manage the pandemic, or the… [tracing and testing] systems they have. If they did, we wouldn’t be in lockdown,” he wrote.
The former prime minister claimed the lockdown is a ‘political exercise’ and quoted a report in the Australian who said the government had spent $2 million on ‘a major program at the height of last year’s Covid-19 crisis to monitor Victorian’s response to lockdown restrictions and score the government’s performance out of 10, including its leadership , in tackling the pandemic’.
Kennett urged the government to give Victorians a vaccination coverage for when the lockdowns can end.
Australia now brings in a million Pfizer doses per week. Under 40s are expected to be eligible for the jab by the end of September. Pictured: Sydney Homebush’s vaccination hub
“If ours is 100 percent, we are doomed to lockdown after lockdown. If it’s 75 percent, there will still be outbreaks, but we can manage that,” he said.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Mr Andrews’ office for comment.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has suggested that the percentage of Australians who need to be vaccinated to end the corona measures is 65 to 70 percent.
NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian has said 80 percent of the population or 62 percent of adults will need to be stung before she can stop resorting to lockdowns in her state.
Western Australia Prime Minister Mark McGowan has said the required rate is “at least” 80 percent and possibly 90 percent.
The required vaccination rates are calculated by model experts at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity and will be released “in the near future.”
The UK lifted all Covid restrictions on Monday and about 66 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. The country suffered 46,558 cases and 96 deaths on Tuesday.
Victorians wait to be called up for their vaccination at a massive coronavirus vaccination center at the Melbourne Showgrounds