Under siege Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews reveals devastating toll his lockdown measures have taken on his family
- Premier Daniel Andrews has not seen his mother Jan, 75, since last Christmas
- On a normal Father’s Day, Mr Andrews visits mum, and late father’s resting place
- Instead he had to announce that coronavirus lockdowns would be extended
- Premier urged Victorians to ‘stay the course’ so they can have a normal summer
Daniel Andrews has revealed the heartbreaking toll his coronavirus lockdowns have taken on his family.
The Victorian premier said he hasn’t seen his 75-year-old mother, Jan Andrews, since Christmas as he unveiled the hard road to his state’s freedom on Sunday.
‘None of us have had visitors for a very long time and it is tough, it is really, really tough,’ he told his daily press briefing.
‘It was my mum’s birthday just recently.’
Jan Andrews (left) pictured at Daniel Andrew’s election victory in 2018. Mr Andrews has not been able to see his mother, now aged 75, since Christmas due to the coronavirus restrictions
Dan and Jan Andrews: Daniel Andrews pictured with his mother, Jan, at her Wangaratta farm before the restrictions
‘I probably shouldn’t do this, but I thought to myself: how long is it since I’ve seen her?
‘I haven’t seen her since Christmas.’
The Victorian premier said between the bushfires and the pandemic, he hadn’t been able to get up to his mother’s Wangaratta farm.
He also missed seeing her on Mother’s Day, May 10, which fell a day before Victoria’s previous State of Emergency ended at midnight on May 11.
‘I want to get there this Christmas coming, though,’ he said.
‘I want all of us to stay the course so that we can all have something approaching a normal Christmas.’
Bourke Street, Melbourne, was empty on Sunday, with a lone delivery driver and police in sight as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the coronavirus lockdown had to be extended
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews at the press conference on Sunday. Mr Andrews said there was no choice – there was too much virus spreading in the community to lift the lockdowns
It was a poignant moment during the Premier’s daily press briefing on Sunday as it was also Father’s Day – and Mr Andrew’s lost his father Bob, a cattle farmer, in 2016.
In a separate Father’s Day statement, the Premier revealed that his normal Father’s Day plan was to have lunch with his wife and children, then take a trip to Wangaratta to visit his mum and pay his respects to his father’s resting place.
The Premier made his lonely admission as he revealed Victoria’s road map to coronavirus freedom would be difficult.
An extra two weeks of Stage Four lockdown have been added for Melbourne stretching until September 28.
Coronavirus warning messages at Melbourne’s Central Shopping Centre on Sunday. Premier Daniel Andrews announced a four-step path to freedom on Sunday
Pictured: State Library lawn, Melbourne on Sunday
Mr Andrews explained it was just not possible to lift the lockdowns on schedule as there was too much community transmission.
To lift them now would only ruin the recovery and then the lockdowns would have to be reimposed all over again, he said.
‘(We) Haven’t yet hit these targets, these very low numbers,’ he said.
‘Our daily case average these last 14 days is 100-odd. If you open up at that level, you’re not open for long.’
Mr Andrews said even at a two-week average of 25 cases per day, there was still a 60 per cent chance that the lifting of restrictions would simply ruin the progress made.
‘You open at five, do it steady and safe, and the risk of having to go back into lockdown goes down to three percent,’ he said.
Mr Andrews said there was a 97 per cent chance the lockdowns would be successful and Victorians would be free to enjoy summer, and Christmas, with very few restrictions, if the lockdowns were lifted with a 14-day average of five cases.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Health Minister Greg Hunt put out a joint statement on Sunday afternoon calling the lockdown extension ‘hard and crushing news’ for Victoria.
The trio said Victoria’s contact tracing needed to be strengthened to the highest possible levels, saying that was what had helped the NSW Liberal government under Gladys Berejiklian to keep the state open while containing the virus.
‘This is the way forward. Restrictions are not substitutes for strengthening health systems to cope with the virus, especially when community outbreak is brought under control,’ they said.
‘The most effective means of reducing community transmission must be an effective testing, tracing and quarantine system, bolstered by enhanced local health capacity and physical distancing. These are essential prerequisites to reduce the spread, save lives and manage the economic and job impacts.’
There were 63 new coronavirus cases recorded in Victoria on Sunday bringing the total number to 19,538, the Department of Health and Human Services said on Sunday.
Of those, 1872 cases are active infections and 1734 are in metropolitan Melbourne, which is still subject to Stage Four restrictions.
In NSW there were just 10 coronavirus cases in the 24 hours to 8pm Saturday night by comparison bringing the state’s total to 3,925.
Mr Andrews said he was concerned there were cases spreading in Victoria’s community that had not been picked up by testing, after sewage testing confirmed the presence of the coronavirus at Apollo Bay in southwestern Victoria on the Great Ocean Road on Saturday.
The Premier has been heavily criticised for his tough lockdown in recent weeks.
Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett called him ‘a megalomaniac’ who was ‘destroying’ Victoria’s economy.
He urged independent senators to join the opposition to block legislation extending the State of Emergency, calling it a ‘grab for dictatorial power’.
The extension passed last Wednesday, however, giving Victoria’s Parliament the power to enforce coronavirus restrictions without a Parliamentary vote for an extra six months.
VICTORIA’S STEPS TO CORONAVIRUS FREEDOM
From September 28, up to five people from a maximum of two households can meet outdoors for social interaction and the curfew will be eased to 9pm to 5am.
Childcare centres can reopen without permits and workers across construction and manufacturing can return to their jobs, along with landscape and maintenance workers who operate alone.
Public outdoor gatherings of two people will also be allowed and playgrounds can reopen from next Sunday.
Exercise will be increased from one permitted hour per day to two.
Singles can have one nominated person to their home as part of the ‘singles social bubble’.
The five kilometre radius rule will not apply for those people, but the curfew hours still do.
People can still only leave home for the four reasons (shopping, exercise, work and care or medical attention).
The move to ‘second step’ restrictions from September 28 will only happen if there is an average daily case rate of 30 to 50 cases in metropolitan Melbourne over the previous 14 days.
Public gatherings will be expanded to five people from two households.
Schools will begin a staggered return to the classroom. Students from Prep, Grade One, Grade Two, VCE, VCAL and specialist schools will return first.
Prep to grade two students in Melbourne will return to classrooms from October 12 and all regional students will return in the same week.
Childcare facilities can also reopen.
Outdoor pools and outdoor personal training with two people and one trainer will be permitted under the second step of the roadmap.
Melbourne will be freed from the lockdown from October 26 if the average number of new cases falls below five and there are less than five unknown source cases.
The curfew would be scrapped altogether, and there would be no restrictions on leaving home. The five-kilometre radius rule will no longer exist.
This means that there will be no restrictions on reasons to leave home.
Along with the curfew being removed, up to 10 people will be allowed to gather outdoors and up to five visitors will be allowed from a nominated household.
Retail and hairdressing will reopen, while hospitality can resume trading with a focus on outdoor seated service.
The last step will come into effect from November 23, if Victoria goes 14 days with no new cases, allowing public gatherings of up to 50 people and 20 home visitors at a time.
All remaining restrictions will be removed when Victoria goes 28 days with no new cases.
Gatherings of up to 50 people outdoors and up to 20 visitors to homes will be allowed.
Mr Andrews said all retail and hospitality will be open, and indoor groups with a limit of 20 people with seated service, a 50 more broadly will be permitted.