Australia: Opposition slams Melbourne quarantine hotels in July
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While the coronavirus pandemic has devastated several countries over the course of the last 12 months, the way Australia has dealt with the crisis has been widely praised. Contact-tracing, lockdowns and the Australian public’s adherence to the rules have been cited as reasons behind Australia’s success with tackling Covid-19.
Some 22,000 community cases of the virus have been reported in Australia to date, and there have 909 deaths linked to the virus.
As part of the Australian government’s strategy to prevent Covid transmission rising, tough restrictions have been introduced on people travelling to the nation from abroad.
However, issues have now arisen over the country’s designated quarantine hotels, where international arrivals have to spend time upon arrival in Australia.
A cluster of new Covid cases have now been linked to the hotels in Melbourne, Australia’s second-most populous city.
Is Australia going back into lockdown?
This week it emerged the cluster of new coronavirus cases will plunge millions of Australians back into lockdown.
From Friday, the state of Victoria will be subject to a “short, sharp circuit breaker”.
The lockdown is expected to last for five days at present.
Victoria’s Premier, Daniel Andrews, said: “We must assume that there are further cases in the community than we have positive results for, and that it is moving at a velocity that has not been seen anywhere in our country over the course of these last 12 months.”
The lockdown will put a stop to weddings, religious gatherings, home auctions and all public gatherings.
The circuit breaker will also prevent spectators from attending much of the Australian Open tennis tournament this month.
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, Anthony Albanese, tweeted a message in support of Victoria’s residents as they prepare to embark on another lockdown.
He said: “There’s nowhere in the world that tackled a second wave like Victorians.
“There’s nowhere in the world that can stop a third wave like Victorians.
“You’ve got this, Victoria. Australians are with you.”
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Why is Australia going back into lockdown?
A cluster of 13 new Covid cases, as of midnight on Thursday, have been linked to a quarantine hotel in Melbourne.
The new infections have also been linked to the new UK variant, which is thought to have originated in South East England.
The new variant is highly contagious and has been a cause for global concern over the last few weeks.
The head of Australia’s business lobby group expressed frustration at the fresh lockdown, stating it is a “bitter disappointment for the whole community”.
Business Council Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said: “This is the second lockdown caused by Victoria’s hotel quarantine system, it must not be as long and destructive as the last.”
She added: “We must get hotel quarantine working properly.”
Presently only Victoria is affected by the new lockdown measures, and nearby New South Wales has said it will keep its borders open with Victoria open for the time being.
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