Federal Labor Elder Mulls Victorian Virus Missteps

July 5, 2020 Updated: July 5, 2020

Vic premier Daniel Andrews’ handling of COVID-19 outbreaks across Melbourne is beginning to attract criticism from inside Labor ranks.

Daniel Andrews has come under fire after deciding to lock thousands of residents inside nine inner-city public housing towers for five days.

Residents across 10 Melbourne suburbs have also been forced back into lockdown after coronavirus hotspots emerged.

Federal Labor frontbencher Joel Fitzgibbon questioned the premier’s performance.

“You can’t win in politics but something has gone terribly wrong in Victoria,” Fitzgibbon told the Seven Network on July 6.

“Accountability will be important and it’ll be interesting to see how that runs out.”

Another 74 cases of coronavirus were recorded in Victoria on Sunday after 108 infections the day before.

People in coronavirus “hot zones” and public transport passengers could soon be advised to wear face masks.

The proposal was discussed at Sunday’s Australian Health Protection Principal Committee meeting.

“Masks can be part of the solution in times where there is community transmission and there is no other way of protection,” Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said.

“There are certain circumstances where they could be used … there will be further information from the Victorian authorities on that in coming days.”

Kelly cautioned that wearing low-grade masks could put people at greater risk.

“You can actually be more likely to get an infection in the respiratory tract, so masks are not without their problems,” he said.

“They need to be used properly.”

NSW reported 14 cases on Sunday, all returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine, as were the six reported in Western Australia. No other state or territory reported any cases.

Asked whether further lockdowns were possible in Victoria, Kelly said that was a matter for the state’s health authorities.

“It will be led by the epidemiology and that is entirely appropriate,” he said.

“The proportionality of that response, I am confident, will be correct and appropriate.”

Daniel McCulloch in Canberra