How NSW is paying the price for Victoria on coronavirus

 

Overzealous restrictions and a lack of testing have been the hallmarks of Victoria's failed response to the coronavirus as the state grapples with growing clusters of infection that threaten to hold back the rest of the nation.

There has been a spike in COVID-19 cases in Victoria over the past 48 hours, including a third Black Lives Matter protester, which could potentially stall the state's financial recovery.

As other states begin opening their borders, NSW has been left out in the cold, apparently lumped in with neighbouring Victoria despite having far fewer new cases.

 

 

Experts say Victoria has failed to appropriately deal with the pandemic - despite maintaining aggressive lockdown measures while the rest of the nation has enjoyed a return to normal life.

Microbiologist Peter Collignon said Victorian bans on fishing and golf - activities which were allowed in NSW - made no "biological sense".

"If you overdo it, you find people rebelling. Having a really strict lockdown when you have a low community restriction has not given better results," he said.

Prof Collignon branded the state's approach to the lockdown as "overdone" with little result.

 

The approach taken by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to COVID-19 has been criticised by a microbiologist. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
The approach taken by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to COVID-19 has been criticised by a microbiologist. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

 

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"My view is Victoria always went too far," he said.

"For all their actions, they didn't do any better than the other states."

He added that Victoria erred in not testing more citizens earlier.

Between January and March, NSW tested 1320 people per 100,000 while Victoria tested just 708 per 100,000.

The rates were boosted in April, during the height of the pandemic, when NSW tested 1597 people per 100,000 compared to 1102 in Victoria.

 

More people were tested in NSW for coronavirus in April than in Victoria. Picture: AAP Image/James Gourley
More people were tested in NSW for coronavirus in April than in Victoria. Picture: AAP Image/James Gourley

 

The low testing rates in April coincided with Victorian Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Annaliese van Diemen facing criticism for controversially comparing COVID-19 to Captain Cook's invasion of Australia, instead of focusing on her state's health concerns.

Victoria has been the slowest state to lift restrictions with schools not returning full time for all students until June 9, when kids in NSW went back on May 25.

Employees are also still being told to work from home, while their NSW counterparts have headed back to the office.

 

Many NSW office workers have now stopped working from home. Picture: Tim Pascoe
Many NSW office workers have now stopped working from home. Picture: Tim Pascoe

 

Victorians have paid the price for tough restrictions, recording the largest drop in employment for May, with 70,800 people out of work compared to 43,900 in NSW.

This week SA opened its borders to the NT, Tasmania and WA but remained closed for NSW despite the state reporting minimal cases, while Victoria had 21 in a single day this week including five from community transmission.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said: "I feel for the Victorians - they are completely bewildered now they are unable to go and watch the AFL or huddle together in dank alleyways drinking almond milk lattes."

 

Originally published as How NSW is paying the price for Victoria on coronavirus


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