/ 23 August 2021

Itchy and scratchy as cases rise

Protesters march down a street during a rally Melbourne on July 24, 2021 to demonstrate against the city's restrictions due to the Covid-19 coronavirus. (Photo by CON CHRONIS / AFP)
Protesters march down a street during a rally Melbourne on July 24, 2021 to demonstrate against the city's restrictions due to the Covid-19 coronavirus. (Photo by CON CHRONIS / AFP)

It’s been another fast and furious weekend for the coronavirus in the nation’s east. In NSW, yesterday’s 830 new cases are the most recorded on a single day in Oz since the beginning of the pandemic. New restrictions kick in today, including a 9pm-5am curfew across ‘areas of concern’ and statewide mask-wearing. The whole of Victoria was put into lockdown on Saturday as case numbers mount. And the ACT added 27 new cases over the weekend. This all means that lockdowns in those jurisdictions are set to continue for a while.

WELL THAT SUCKS…
And that’s the clean version of what protesters said over the weekend. There were violent scenes in Melbourne’s CBD as 4,000 people clashed with police on Saturday. And in Sydney, officials said 250 people were fined, but most were prevented from getting to a demonstration with police checking 38,000 cars heading to the CBD. The rage continued yesterday with 1,000 people (and one horse…) gathering in Tweed Heads on the NSW side of the Queensland border. For his part, PM Scott Morrison said he knows that restrictions have taken a “heavy toll” on Aussies, but it was “darkest before the dawn.”

SO WHEN WILL LOCKDOWNS END?
It depends on who you ask… So, you remember the Doherty Institute’s modelling released earlier this month? It underpinned a plan signed off by the PM and state and territory leaders to lift restrictions once 70% and 80% of the eligible population was vaccinated. Over the weekend, there’s been a debate about whether the same number of hospitalisations and deaths can be prevented if there are high case numbers when restrictions are lifted. PM Morrison yesterday said the “starting point does not ultimately alter the conclusions of the modelling,” but some state leaders aren’t on board. An update will be provided by the Institute to National Cabinet on Friday. As of yesterday, 30% of Aussies aged over 16yo are fully vaccinated, and 52.3% have had at least one dose.

Image source: AFP

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