Prime Minister Dan Andrews has come under fire for ‘toxic double standards’ after he refused to fine five families behind a cluster and punish protesters as Victoria’s case continues to decline.
Victorian police have fined 21 and arrested 16 protesters when up to 150 people collided with officers at a rally in Elsternwick and Elwood, seven miles from Melbourne’s CBD, on Saturday.
But at a press conference earlier that day, Mr. Andrews defended his decision not to punish those believed to have originated behind a coronavirus cluster by violating restrictions.
Opposition leader Michael O’Brien has labeled the move as ‘hypocrisy’.
Daniel Andrews (pictured) has been criticized for double standards after fining anti-lockdown protesters but refused to punish those behind a COVID-19 cluster in southeast Melbourne
Andrews shouldn’t protect those who spread the virus while fining others … Labor’s double standards are just as toxic as this virus, he told the Herald Sun.
It is a shame that Labor has locked innocent Victorians under curfew while those who break the law and spread the virus get off without a hitch.
“This is the same Andrews hypocrisy where teens were fined for learning to drive, while 10,000 Black Lives Matter protesters were ignored.”
Victoria recorded 14 new cases and five deaths on Sunday, with public health authorities rushing to halt the growth of infections in the counties of Casey and Dandenong on Melbourne’s southeastern outskirts, where there are now 90 active cases.
The latest figures are the lowest daily increase since June.
Five households in Clyde, Cranbourne North, Hallam and Narre Warren South are linked to 34 active businesses.
Mr Andrews said fining the families could prevent them from cooperating in tracing contacts.
I admit this may seem counterintuitive. Maybe we would all feel a little better if they were fined, but the value of the information that allows you to take one test result and then find the 33 other people who have it is far more than $ 1,652, ‘he said .
Health authorities urge everyone in southeast Melbourne to monitor their health closely and get tested immediately if they feel unwell
Mr O’Brien filed a vote of no confidence in parliament last week in an attempt to oust the prime minister, arguing that Andrews’ government had lost support from Victorians over the pandemic’s handling.
Victoria registered 21 new cases of COVID-19 and another seven deaths on Saturday.
Metropolitan Melbourne’s 14-day average has plummeted and is now at 39.3 as the state moves to a COVID standard. In regional Victoria, the 14-day average is just 1.9.
It was the ninth day in a row that Victoria has recorded a daily increase in infections under 50.
Metropolitan Melbourne is under strict phase four lockdown – forcing Melburnians to travel no more than 3 miles from their homes and imposing a 9pm to 5am curfew.
The prime minister did not comment on where demonstrations would be on Saturday, with protesters being careful about sharing information online.
Several meetings have taken place in Melbourne over the past weekends.
Victoria Police responded with a heavy presence – handing out dozens of fines and making arrests.
“Let’s not forget that this week, day in and day out, we haven’t seen the 725 cases we had five and a half weeks ago – we’ve made very significant progress,” said Mr Andrews.
‘A regional Victoria is opening. People have to be positive and optimistic, this strategy works, so let’s not let any of us do anything to undermine that. ‘
The cluster that hit the five households in Hallam, Clyde, Narre Warren South and Cranbourne North first emerged on September 4
A wave of cases in the Casey and Dandenong region can be traced back to five households in the Afghan community.
Since the residents of the city are still under strict Phase 4 lockdown, it is believed that the infected group may have violated the home order warrants.
Health authorities are doing their best to track down and track the new rise in cases, and the Victorian government has begun a recruitment drive to recruit retired officers to bolster the state’s first-line virus efforts.
“Members of those households who visit other households,” said COVID-19 testing commander Jeroen Weimar of the Department of Health and Human Services.
‘Precisely that limited contact, relatively little contact between these five households has now resulted in the fact that we have 34 people in five houses who experience or live with a very real threat from the coronavirus.’
The cluster – which affected five households in Hallam, Clyde, Narre Warren South and Cranbourne North – first emerged on September 4.
Cases in the southeast have now spread to Dandenong Police Station and a number of industrial workshops.
The Casey and Dandenong cluster is testing the capacity of COVID detectives. Pictured: Heath workers are seen at a coronavirus testing center in Cranbourne on Sept. 17
The success of Melbourne’s continued lockdown could be jeopardized with a new cluster in the south east of the city. Pictured: A coronavirus testing center in Cranbourne on Sept. 17
Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said on Friday that the actions of the family involved in the cluster were “disappointing.”
“Five miles is one thing and visiting others is the real problem here,” he said.
‘The rules are there for a reason and whoever undermines this undermines the whole strategy and it means that the rules apply longer.’
However, the Victorian leader ruled out fines for the group, telling reporters it could discourage others from being completely honest with contact investigators.
“I know a lot of Victorians, when you see examples of people breaking the rules, it is disappointing, it makes you angry,” Mr Andrews said.
‘You have to look at the bigger picture here.
‘We don’t want a situation where people don’t feel confident and indeed, you know, the feeling that they have an obligation to tell us the full story ASAP. We need that. ‘
Despite the new cluster, the total number of Victoria cases continues to decline.
A man with a dog is questioned by two police officers in the Dandenong area