Our friends from down under are going into lockdown… again. The lockdown sees the second-largest city and part of its surrounding area (5 million Australians) locked down for six weeks due to the unsustainable rate at which the coronavirus is spreading.
The Victorian authorities announced 134 new cases just in the last 24 to 48 hours.
The government blames breaches of infection controls in Melbourne hotels for the rise in cases. International travelers were required to self-isolate for 14 days, but clearly this did not happen. Oversight failures on the part of Sydney’s authorities meant that they were forced to track down 48 stray passengers who disembarked a flight from Melbourne overnight without being checked for Covid-19 symptoms.
On the flipside, seven other states and territories within Australia will continue to relax pandemic restrictions.
Slip ups such as the one in Australia don’t come cheap as it is expected that the resurgence of the virus and lockdown measures will result in Australia falling into its first recession in three decades. Josh Frydenburg, Australia’s Federal Treasurer sees the economy losing up to A$1 billion (RM3 billion) per week.
Back home, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob warned that Malaysia is not out of the woods just yet. He went on to say that if preventive measures are not continuously followed, all prior efforts at containment will have been futile.
“With the cooperation of all Malaysians, our country has managed to contain the spread of the virus. However, this does not mean that we can be careless as the virus is still around us. Hence, we must ensure that we always practice self-discipline.”
“The situation (ease of restrictions) that we have now can change if we fail to adhere to SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) issued by the government. It seems that nothing is happening, but as long as the vaccine is not found, virus is still in the environment and in the bodies of those around us (infected with the virus),” he told the press yesterday.
And he isn’t wrong. 70% of the positive cases in the country were from asymptomatic carriers, noted Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah. The Health director-general said that of the total 8,674 positive cases detected in the country as of July 7,70.25% (6,092 cases) were asymptomatic while 29.75% (2,582) were symptomatic.
All this just goes to show, there are responsibilities for everyone in this crisis. It is the government’s responsibility to ensure international entrants are screened and put in quarantine and it is still and always has been our responsibility to social distance, wear a mask.