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Criticism Over Victoria Lockdown Extension

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 07 September 2020

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Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews. Photo / File news.com.au

Australian state of Victoria extends lockdown till 27 September.

Political, Security // BLUF: The Premier of the Australian state of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, has extended the state's lockdown until 27 September.

The decision brought intense criticism, particularly from the business sector, with the state government's COVID 'road map' being labelled a 'road map to nowhere' by the head Victoria's Chamber of Commerce, Paul Guerra.

Amongst other criticism, the president of the Australian Hotels Association Victoria, David Canny, had the following comments: "Why can everyone else do this so much better?" Canny asked, referring to other states. "This is the tail wagging the dog, and bureaucrats having no understanding of what businesses need and don't want. We're going to end up as a failed state."

Victoria entered 'Stage Four' lockdown on 02 August. Restrictions include an 8 pm to 5 am curfew, travel restricted to within 5km of a person's home, and exercise outside for one hour per day.

(See Point 4 Below for Further Information)

The Daily Quick-Look for 07 September 2020

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look is your at-a-glance look at several key events and situations around the world over the last 24 hours. Each headline contains the link to its source report.

BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front.

FYSA = For Your Situational Awareness.

1. FRANCE - Security (Health): France reports 7,071 new daily COVID-19 infections

FYSA: French health authorities reported 7,071 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday, down from Saturday’s 8,550 and also below Friday’s peak of 8,975. Friday’s figure had set a new all-time high of daily additional infections for the country. The number of people hospitalised for the disease over the last seven days reached 1,704, of which 288 were in intensive care units. The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 increased by 3 to 30,701, and the cumulative number of cases now totals 324,777. France must stay vigilant as more people will be hospitalised in intensive care units in the next two weeks, reflecting a flare-up in COVID-19 infections in recent days, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Saturday. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

2. BELARUS - Security, Political: Belarus protests show no sign of fading as 100,000 turn out in Minsk

FYSA: Huge protests have taken place across Belarus against the embattled regime of Alexander Lukashenko, with demonstrators marching on the president’s residence in the capital, Minsk, for a fourth weekend in a row. More than 100,000 people filled Minsk’s Independence Avenue calling for Lukashenko to step down. There were similar marches in other cities, including Brest, Vitebsk and Grodno. Riot police sealed off the centre of Minsk with barriers and armoured personnel carriers. Officers wearing balaclavas arrested and beat several male demonstrators and dragged them into vans. At least one person was taken away in an ambulance. But there were few indications that the regime’s heavy-handed tactics are working. Protests have gone on for nearly a month and show no sign of fizzling out, following the presidential election on 9 August that was widely seen as rigged. “The majority don’t believe in those in power. They reject the result of the election. A lot of people thought the protests would stop in the first week. They didn’t,” said Barys Goretsky, of Belarus’s journalism association. He added: “We are optimistic. We will keep going.” (The Guardian. See link in heading for further reading)

3. HONG KONG - Political, Security: Hong Kong police fire pepper balls at protesters opposed to election delay, new law

FYSA: Police fired rounds of pepper balls at protesters in Hong Kong on Sunday and arrested almost 300 after demonstrators took to the streets to oppose the postponement of legislative elections and a new national security law imposed by China. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam postponed the Sept. 6 election for seats in the Asian financial hub’s Legislative Council for a year in July because of a spike in coronavirus cases. The move dealt a blow to the pro-democracy opposition which hoped to win a historic majority in the Council, where only half the seats are directly elected and the other half are appointed members who mostly support Beijing. “Today is supposedly our voting day, we need to resist to fight back for our vote,” said a 70-year old woman surnamed Wong as she marched with other demonstrators. The poll would have been the former British colony’s first official vote since Beijing imposed new security legislation in late June. The government insists there was no political motive behind the delay. Thousands of police were stationed around the bustling Kowloon peninsula as hundreds of marchers waved placards and chanted popular anti-government slogans such as “liberate Hong Kong”.These slogans are now banned under the new security law. Police said they arrested 298 people, mainly for illegal gatherings, in a notice on their Facebook page. Several well-known activists were arrested during the demonstration including Figo Chan, the vice-convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front and former legislator Leung Kwok-hung, also known as “Long Hair”, according to a post on Chan’s Facebook page. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

4. AUSTRALIA - Security (Health): Covid 19 coronavirus Victoria: Daniel Andrews cops huge criticism over lockdown roadmap

FYSA: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is copping it from multiple directions this morning as the state comes to terms with his new roadmap out of lockdown. Andrews revealed the plan during a marathon media conference on Sunday. The current, strict lockdown in Melbourne – which was supposed to end in mid-September – will now be extended for another fortnight, albeit with some tweaks. The Premier was clearly expecting his announcement to generate criticism. He did his best to head it off. "We can't run out of lockdown," he told reporters. "We have to take safe and steady steps to find Covid-normal and make sure in opening up, we can stay open." During an appearance on the Project on Sunday evening, Andrews said leadership was about "doing what is right" no matter the political ramifications. "Whether I'm criticised or praised, that is not my concern. "My concern is to defeat the second wave, find a Covid-normal and lock it in until a vaccine arrives. "Just because we want this to be over, we can't pretend that it is. "There is a lot of pain out there, I understand that, but there will be even more pain if we are open for just a few weeks and then shut down again for months." Much of the backlash against Andrews in the past 24 hours has come from the business sector, for obvious reasons. Under the roadmap, some restrictions on businesses will be lifted on September 28, provided Melbourne can bring its average number of new infections per day below 50 in the preceding fortnight. All retail and hospitality businesses will be able to reopen at the end of November – but only if the state reaches an average of zero daily cases. At the moment, the rolling average is still above 70 cases per day. Paul Guerra, the head of Victoria's Chamber of Commerce, labelled Andrews' roadmap "a road to nowhere" and accused the Premier of doing too little to help the business community. (NZH. See link in heading for further reading)

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