Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has hit the airwaves defending his controversial road map out of COVID-19 amid national and international condemnation.
On Sunday, the premier broke the hearts and trust of millions when he announced Melburnians would not be coming out of Stage Four lockdown for weeks to come.
On Monday, Mr Andrews faced-off with mainstream media against a barrage of criticism backed-up by more than 500 doctors who have signed a letter condemning his handling of the pandemic and demanding more consultation.
Daily Mail Australia has broken down Victoria’s road to recovery as ordered by Mr Andrews on advice from his Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton, examining what the premier is saying versus the reality of the situation.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews continues to keep Victorians locked up safely at home for weeks to come
Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton addresses the media during a press conference in Melbourne on Monday. He has come under fire from more than 500 other doctors
A resident is removed from St Basil’s Homes for the Aged in Fawkner in July. The elderly continue to be the hardest hit by COVID 19
Mr Andrews says: Victoria will not be ‘COVID-normal’ until Victoria is free of the virus for 28 days.
The reality: Other states with active COVID infections, including New South Wales, are already living free in a COVID-normal environment, with increased social distancing measures and controls in place. A comparative analysis with NSW shows the state is functioning close to normal with four new cases on Monday.
Mr Andrews says: Lockdown is needed to save the lives of Victoria’s elderly.
The reality: Isolation of the elderly – combined with the premier’s hotel quarantine fiasco – has seen more elderly people die and suffer extreme mental health issues. Most of the 565 deaths have occurred in nursing homes, which according to doctors working in this environment, have described causal factors related not only to the virus but to other care related issues, including isolation, loneliness, and related diminished nutritional intake.
Mr Andrews says: Cannot afford to open non essential’ businesses.
The reality: Businesses across Australia can now open and operate under the one-person per four square metre rule.
Mr Andrews says: Continued restrictions needed on outdoor sports such as golf, football, fishing and walking.
The reality: No-one in Australia has caught coronavirus from playing outdoor sports or while going for a walk outside.
Mr Andrews says: Childcare is back on for all parents from the end of the month and preps to grade 2 and senior students in October, but grade 3 to year 10 students will continue with remote learning. The Victorian Government claims it has ‘time to address health, well-being, mental health, and catch up learning’.
The reality: Top educators have warned prep students would be better off repeating their foundation year next year to avoid falling behind permanently from months of lost classroom learning. Teachers fear older students will also struggle and teachers themselves under the increased workloads. Regional towns with active cases of COVID will be able to open in Victoria next term.
Mr Andrews says: Tens of thousands of Victorians will die if the virus cannot be contained.
The reality: The COVID-19 deaths are a relatively small proportion of the 114 deaths per day that are normally seen in Victoria. In comparison, since the start of March, COVID-19 has been associated with three of the 114 deaths per day.
Mr Andrews says: Says its modelling showed easing coronavirus restrictions too early would lead to a more than 60 per cent chance of a lockdown having to be reimposed before Christmas. And that its work was and the sort of analysis ‘you can’t argue with’.
The reality: Top Australian professors have argued the road map Premier Daniel Andrews announced was thin on analysis, and the modelling focused on overseas data rather than Victorian-specific data.
A security guard at a Melbourne quarantine hotel asleep on the job. The Victorian premier blamed the people of Victoria for the spread of coronavirus while hiding what happened there
Victoria Police have set up spy vans around Melbourne parks to catch people breaking the lockdown rules
Melbourne remains a ghost town amid Stage Four lockdown
Mr Andrews says: Victorian families who failed to socially distance were responsible for the second wave of infections that saw the premier place Melbourne in Stage Four lockdown.
The reality: An independent inquiry headed by retired judge Jennifer Coate heard in August that nearly all current cases in Victoria could be linked to hotel outbreaks. The inquiry was launched by the State Government after it was revealed that protocol breaches by security guards – who the Victorian Government employed to overseeing hotel quarantine – had led to outbreaks in Victoria.
Mr Andrews says: Physical distancing measures have reduced levels of influenza in the community, and anyone with symptoms should assume they have COVID-19.
The reality: Deaths from Influenza each and every year is between 3,500 and 4,000, according to the Australian Influenza Specialist Interest Group website and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. For people who are physically well and under 60 years of age, the mortality risk from COVID is extremely low.
Mr Andrews says: Gyms are a breeding ground for COVID-19 and should not be opened in the near future.
The reality: Gyms in other states with active cases continue to open under COVID safety plans and marshals. Public swimming pools also remain open with restrictions on numbers.
Police continue to patrol Melbourne’s streets looking for people flouting lockdown laws
Sydney has found a COVID normal way of life despite having active cases of the virus
A person is seen walking across a quiet Bourke Street on Sunday. Melbourne during the week is equally as quiet
Mr Andrews says: Contact tracing has improved across the state since the peak of 725 daily cases a month ago. That Victoria is using the ‘best of tech’ and people to track down those with the virus and whom they may have been in contact with.
The reality: Victoria has engaged a team of call centre operators as part of its Case, Contact and Outbreak Management team. These include Stellar, Helloworld and Health Direct. Prime Minister Scott Morrison continues to criticise Mr Andrews’ efforts, declaring: ‘Clearly, what New South Wales is doing is working better than other places because they have the biggest threats to their system and have had the best results in response to those threats. So that clearly indicates that that is the standard which we should be seeking to move towards.’
Mr Andrews says: Weddings and funerals banned.
The reality: States with active cases of COVID continue to allow up to 100 people to attend funerals and 150 at weddings.