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Coronavirus Australia live: Daniel Andrews' lockdown exit plan slammed

Coronavirus Australia live: Daniel Andrews' lockdown exit plan slammed  NEWS.com.au

Beauty salons, retail and hospitality will remain closed for another two weeks until November 1, prompting business groups to hit out at Premier Daniel Andrews’ lockdown exit plan.

Council of Small Business ­Organisations Australia chief executive Peter Strong told the ABC that Mr Andrews “talks to Victorians like they’re a pack of idiots” and had harmed businesses unnecessarily.

“I think he’s never run a business. He thinks you turn the key and the shop opens again and everything happens,” he said.

It’s not like that. And the lack of respect for the business community is profound.”

Chapel Street Precinct general manager Chrissie Maus said it was an “unjust joke” to leave the retail and hospitality sector hanging until November.

“There’s a cloud of anger from businesses…as this is no longer acceptable or sustainable for our businesses. I would have rather kept the 5km limit and the shops opened,” Ms Maus said.

“This week the World Health Organization (WHO) stated they no longer support widespread city lockdowns. WHO understands we must now live with the virus until a vaccine is ready, Daniel Andrews does not.

“It seems the rest of the country is evolving in their policies but Dan continues on his draconian parade. We must learn to live with the virus and open our businesses up now.”

Meanwhile, Victorian Liberal MP Tim Smith told 2GB’s Ben Fordham the strict rules were harmful to mental health.

“Melbourne’s at breaking point,” he said.

“I don’t think anyone in Sydney truly understands how miserable it is down here at the moment.”

Follow the latest coronavirus news in our live updates below.

Live Updates
8:48 am October 19, 2020 Highlight

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has savaged Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, labelling the leader "desperate" and "under pressure".

A war of words between the politicians has escalated in recent days, with Mr Andrews telling reporters this weekend "Some [politicians] are from Victoria, but not for Victoria" in response to criticism from Mr Frydenberg and others over Victoria's harsh lockdown.

Speaking to Sky News today, Mr Frydenberg dismissed the smackdown, saying Mr Andrews "doesn’t get to decide who is for Victoria."

"That sounds like a desperate distraction from a Premier under real pressure," Mr Frydenberg said.

The Treasurer also stepped up his attack during an appearance on the Today show, arguing today's new freedoms in Melbourne weren't enough.

“Obviously we welcome some of the easing of the restrictions, but they don’t go far enough,” he told the program this morning.

“There’s been a callous indifference in Victoria from the government to the loss of jobs and to the plight of small business.

“In NSW where they dealt with much more cases than we see in Victoria today, the cafes, the restaurants, the pubs, the clubs were all open. People could get about their daily lives."

Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews have clashed over the state's lockdown. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Gary Ramage

8:41 am October 19, 2020 Highlight

Victoria’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has confirmed x new coronavirus cases in the state overnight.

Sadly, one life has also been lost in that period.

The state's 14-day rolling average is now 7.2 in metro Melbourne and 0.5 in regional Victoria.

Yesterday there were two new coronavirus cases in Victoria, and just one on Saturday.

Yesterday there were 4 new cases & sadly the loss of 1 life reported. Condolences to all those affected. Cases with unknown source & average in Regional are stable, Metro average decreased slightly. More info available later today. https://t.co/eTputEZdhs #COVID19VicData pic.twitter.com/hJpnTBpQ76

— VicGovDHHS (@VicGovDHHS) October 18, 2020
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8:10 am October 19, 2020 Highlight

ABC News Breakfast host Michael Rowland has locked horns with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack over the Trans Tasman bubble.

The clash came following claims newly-arrived New Zealanders broke the rules to travel to Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania, despite those states not signing up to the travel bubble.

That prompted Mr Rowland to ask why Australia should be accepting New Zealanders at all.

"Bottom line is, they are healthy New Zealanders so they're coming from areas…" Mr McCormack began, before being cut off by the host, who insisted "that's not the point".

"They haven't signed up to the travel bubble. They might be healthy or unhealthy. It's not just Victoria – WA and Tasmania haven't sign upped to the bubble. Why are they getting the New Zealanders?" Mr Rowland asked.

"They're putting, as I understand the New Zealanders into quarantine, so they, at the end of the day, have the jurisdictional responsibles for their own state borders. But they are also available to see the manifests of airlines," he said.

"They are, and they have been since October 16, those manifest, those passenger logs have been made available to governments, to Health Ministers, to health officers, protocol officers in the various states. And it has been discussed at National Cabinet ad nauseam."

"At the end of the day, [states] have the jurisdictional responsibilities for their own state borders."

Deputy Prime Minister @M_McCormackMP on how and why New Zealanders are entering Victoria, Tasmania and WA after flying into Sydney. pic.twitter.com/ZLcCi2daY7

— News Breakfast (@BreakfastNews) October 18, 2020
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But Mr Rowland said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews had insisted to Prime Minister Scott Morrison that he did not want to be part of the bubble.

"And look to the Melbourne situation at the moment. I mean, I'm going to always take the best health advice from the Chief Medical Officer in this country. So Professor Paul Kelly, Professor Brendan Murphy, they've stated quite clearly that it is a 14-day rolling average of fewer than ten cases," Mr McCormack said.

"Victoria is following almost an eradication policy. So you know, let's be a little bit sensible here and let's look at just the job figures in September. 170,000 jobs created in states and territories other than Victoria. 770,000 job losses in Victoria.

"Melburnians are so frustrated. They want to resume their life…the case and mortality rates in recent days have been to a level which, according to the national Chief Medical Officer, should be sufficient to start opening up, to start easing some of the restrictions."

7:36 am October 19, 2020 Highlight

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp has told Today residents were still struggling with the city's lockdown despite restrictions easing.

She said business owners were particularly hard hit.

"There is still a bit of frustration," she said.

"Every single day counts for our small business owners in particular. They are desperate to get open and start serving customers as quickly as possible."

She said retailers were "desperate" to get back to work.

"We do need to know how to live and work with this virus," she said."This December quarter….is one of the most important quarters for hospitality and retail. It is the make or break, and so the sooner we can get those stores and venues open safely, the better."

7:19 am October 19, 2020 Highlight

Twitter has pulled an anti-mask tweet from Dr Scott Atlas, who is a COVID-19 adviser to US President Donald Trump.

In his post, Dr Atlas claimed face covering were ineffective in the fight against the pandemic.

"Masks work? NO," he wrote.

But Twitter removed the tweet, claiming it violated its misleading information policy on coronavirus.

That means the right policy is @realDonaldTrump guideline: use masks for their intended purpose – when close to others, especially hi risk. Otherwise, social distance. No widespread mandates. #CommonSense https://t.co/GZpBZxfNYa

— Scott W. Atlas (@SWAtlasHoover) October 17, 2020
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6:48 am October 19, 2020 Highlight

Melbourne residents will enjoy new freedoms today as the city's harsh lockdown rules finally began to ease overnight.

But beauty salons, retail and hospitality will remain closed for another two weeks until November 1, prompting business groups to hit out at Premier Daniel Andrews' lockdown exit plan.

Council of Small Business ­Organisations Australia chief executive Peter Strong told the ABC that Mr Andrews "talks to Victorians like they’re a pack of idiots" and had harmed businesses unnecessarily.

“I think he’s never run a business. He thinks you turn the key and the shop opens again and everything happens," he said.

"It’s not like that. And the lack of respect for the business community is profound.”

Chapel Street Precinct general manager Chrissie Maus said it was an "unjust joke" to leave the retail and hospitality sector hanging until November.

"There’s a cloud of anger from businesses…as this is no longer acceptable or sustainable for our businesses. I would have rather kept the 5km limit and the shops opened," Ms Maus said.

“This week the World Health Organization (WHO) stated they no longer support widespread city lockdowns. WHO understands we must now live with the virus until a vaccine is ready, Daniel Andrews does not. "It seems the rest of the country is evolving in their policies but Dan continues on his draconian parade. We must learn to live with the virus and open our businesses up now."

Meanwhile, Victorian Liberal MP Tim Smith told 2GB's Ben Fordham the strict rules were harmful to mental health.

“Melbourne’s at breaking point," he said.

“I don’t think anyone in Sydney truly understands how miserable it is down here at the moment.”

6:23 am October 19, 2020 Highlight

World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has taken to Twitter to congratulate New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on her stunning election win this weekend.

On Saturday night, Ms Ardern was re-elected in a landslide victory.

In a tweet, Dr Tedros passed on his best wishes to the Kiwi leader and praised her "outstanding leadership in the COVID-19 response".

Congratulations, @jacindaardern, on your election victory; it’s very well deserved. Thank you for your outstanding leadership in the #COVID19 response. I look forward to continuing to work with you and your government. Together! https://t.co/UkckPapRv6

— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) October 17, 2020
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6:19 am October 19, 2020 Highlight

Melbourne residents are rising to exciting new freedoms today after months of lockdown.

From 11.59pm last night, the Victorian capital has ditched its controversial time limits on exercise.

The hated 5km rule has also been replaced with a new 25km zone, and tennis clubs, outdoor pools, hairdressers and the real estate industry are set to open up again.

In regional Victoria, two people, plus dependants, are now able to visit other people’s homes today, with hospitality businesses now able to boost capacity to 70 patrons outside and 40 inside.

There are more freedoms on the way for Melburnians from 11.59pm on Sunday, November 1 as well, when the four reasons allowing individuals to leave home will be removed.

Retail, beauty and personal services will also reopen from that date and hospitality venues will also be allowed to open with a maximum of 20 people inside and 50 people outside.

A raft of new freedoms kicked in from 11.59pm last night.

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