Published 26 March 2020
As the cases of COVID-19 continue to grow throughout Australia, the government is being strongly urged by many to instate a full lockdown of the country. These urges have increased with new data that shows Australia is falling behind many other countries in its efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has been begging Prime Minister Morrison to lock Australia down before the weekend, with no success. The prime minister has been unwilling to move on the idea and states that he does not want to shut down more businesses and cause more hardship.
At a press conference on Wednesday, the prime minister was confronted on the idea of a lockdown.
‘You’re suggesting I should close down businesses where there’s no medical advice that they should,’ Mr Morrison responded. ‘I don’t understand why we would cause that harm to a business and all their workers and their livelihoods for the sake of some sort of message convenience.’
While the prime minister continues to resist the idea of a total lockdown, the University of Oxford has launched a government response tracker this week. The tracker shows Australia’s measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 are not nearly as firm as those in China, Europe and the United states. This raises serious concerns, especially among key members of the expert COVID-19 panel. The panel has warned that Australia’s death roll could rise if the Australian Government doesn’t implement a lockdown immediately. Professor Raina MacIntyre, an expert on the panel, is from the Biosecurity Program at UNSW and adamantly recommends an immediate lockdown to curb COVID-19.
Full lockdown in Australia would force all non-essential businesses to close their doors, if they haven’t already. This will have a significant impact on the food industry, which has already taken a big hit with a decrease in customers due to physical distancing recommendations and fears of contracting COVID-19. Grocery stores and supermarkets will likely be deemed essential and would remain open during the lockdown.
It remains to be seen what the Australian Government’s next steps will be amid the growing COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, experts throughout the country continue to push for full lockdown before the spread of the coronavirus moves beyond measurable control.