Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has warned that Melbourne’s hard shutdown could last longer than six weeks if the state’s second wave of COVID-19 is not brought under control.
About 5.2 million people living in the Melbourne metropolitan area and Mitchell Shire returned to three restrictions at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, which was the fourth consecutive day that the state registered more than 100 new cases.
Appearing on The Project hours before the lockdown was imposed, Mr. Andrews said a longer time frame “cannot be ruled out.”
“The advice from our Chief Health Officer that six weeks will give us time to get this virus back under control, see some stability and then lower the case numbers,” he said.
People continue to shop prior to closing in Melbourne on Wednesday. Prime Minister Andrews has warned that the new measures could last longer than six weeks
“We cannot rule out the possibility that it should be longer, but that is the advice of the Chief Health Officer, after much thought, much analysis of that data, we could not continue as we were.
“We had to take this painful and difficult step and six weeks is the time we need.”
Victoria currently has 860 active cases of COVID-19, 465 of which have been sent through the community.
The spike in cases has been linked to hotel quarantine breaches, with Andrews’ government being targeted by the failed program.
The Project’s Waleed Aly asked the prime minister on Wednesday evening if it was a mistake not to enlist the military to enforce hotel quarantine.
“Do you accept that it was a mistake that no ADF staff led or supervised the hotel quarantine program?” Waleed asked.
“Well, there are a few points to make, Waleed,” Mr. Andrews replied.
ADF personnel are involved in transportation in some states, and in other states they have no role at all.
The host of the project, Waleed Aly, grilled the Victorian Prime Minister (pictured) over the messed-up hotel quarantine program linked to the spike in coronavirus cases within the state
While Melbourne is closing for the second time, empty fruit and vegetable shelves are becoming common in Australian supermarkets
“We have other problems and we have launched a judicial inquiry because you are accountable, yes, but I would like to call it with the utmost respect, it is not appropriate for politicians to judge themselves.
“It should be at arm’s length, it should be done right.”
Mr Andrews said that Corrections Victoria now “had absolute control” over the quarantine facilities.
“They are the people who run our prisons, the people who are perfectly capable and capable of doing this,” he said.
“We also have a blockade on additional flights returning to Melbourne. This will only continue if we are confident, if the correction commissioner is confident that we have all processes in order. ‘
Aly asked if the Prime Minister’s apology to Melburnians had “admitted” earlier today.
“The work I do means that I am the leader of the state, and it is up to me to accept responsibility for all of these things … I have never run away from that,” said Mr. Andrews.
“These aren’t easy phone calls, but they’re not about being popular. It’s about what to do. I am very sorry to be here, but words are not the most important thing.
Recently arrived travelers get off a bus and wait to check in at the Crown Promenade Hotel in Melbourne
“Of course, of course, it acknowledges that I am responsible, but then take the tough phone calls and continue to get this job done and that’s what I plan to do.”
When the closure loomed, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Melburnians on Wednesday that they should “make it hard.”
“The job is if you’re a Melburnian to try it out – and it will be difficult – but know the rest of the country is with you,” he said.
“The rest of the country knows that the sacrifice you are going through now is not just for you and your own family, but for the wider Australian community.”
The Prime Minister said he was grateful for the way they handled the situation and said that during this difficult time, the residents had the support of the nation.
“I want to thank Melburnians for how they handle this. I can imagine the frustration, ”said Mr. Morrison.
“You can imagine a company that had just reopened and now had to close again. Heartbreaking. Frustrating. In conversation with their staff, children were about to go back to school, the uncertainty that comes with it – we all understand. ‘
Nearly a dozen NSW police officers speak to drivers crossing from Victoria to New South Wales, as the border was closed at 11:59 PM on Tuesday