/ 19 July 2021

Quashing COVID turns sour

As 12 million Aussies emerge from a weekend locked down, the coronavirus case tally continued to rise over the weekend. In Victoria, 36 new local cases were recorded – all cases to date are linked to the current outbreak, including a case in Mildura. Premier Daniel Andrews said while officials were on top of things, he couldn’t yet say if the lockdown will end tomorrow night. Meanwhile in NSW, the government announced new restrictions as the state reported the death of a Sydney woman in her 90s and 215 new local cases taking the outbreak total to 1,242 cases. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the measures put in place more than 3 weeks ago weren’t “quashing the curve”.

They’re some of Australia’s strictest measures of the pandemic so far. Non-essential businesses in Greater Sydney and surrounds are closed. And with 70% of new cases coming from residents of southwestern Sydney, residents of 3 local government areas are not allowed to leave their areas, except for ‘authorised’ workers. And all construction work in the locked-down regions will be suspended until 30 July – that will cost the NSW economy about $1.4 billion, reports say. Berejiklian says it’s necessary because ​​”what we haven’t managed to do is really budge that stubborn number every day for the last few days.” And she says she knows that “many people will be very angry and upset with me,” she said.

The Morrison Government has taken a big popularity hit in the latest Newspoll. Support for the government has sunk to its lowest level this term as the Coalition trails Labor 47:53 in the 2-party preferred stakes – a position that would see it well and truly lose an election. And dissatisfaction with PM Scott Morrison’s handling of the crisis has risen significantly in the last 3 weeks. Of those polled, 52% say he’s handling the pandemic well at the moment, down from 61% last time and 82% a year ago. Despite the poor report card, Morrison is ahead of Labor leader Anthony Albanese 51-33 in the better PM stakes. Those surveyed in the nation’s 2 largest cities might feel more forgiving when they aren’t locked down…

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