State leaders of Australia defend decision to extend coronavirus curbs
SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA) – In spite of mounting pressure from federal authorities to lift coronavirus curbs, state leaders in Australia defended on Friday the shutdowns and internal border closures.
Although the number of fresh cases in the hot spots in the country has come down, many state and territory leaders have decided not to ease strict curbs, which include barring inter-state travel, in a bid to prevent fresh outbreaks.
Annastacia Palaszczuk, the premier of Queensland, said border security staff were forced to make “difficult and tough decisions”, hinting at a decision by officials to refuse entry to a woman from a virus-free part of the country to attend her father’s funeral.
The plight of the woman has become a flashpoint for simmering tensions between Prime Minister Scott Morrison and heads of various state and territories in the manner in which the pandemic was handled.
Morrison had flayed the decision of Queensland authorities to bar the entry of the woman while her father was critically ill and deny her request to leave quarantine early to attend the funeral.
Morrison wants to kickstart the economy after it slipped into recession for the first time in three decades and is urging Victoria state to consider lifting the night curfew in its capital, Melbourne.
Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria, said it is essential to control the movement of people in the state capital as it has been the epicentre of the nation’s second wave of infections.
“If you can limit movement, then you will see less people doing the wrong thing,” said Andrews. The lockdown in Melbourne has been extended until September 18.