Federal politicians are keeping the pressure on people to heed the advice of medical experts and not attend another series of protests across the country this weekend, fearing it could spark a second wave of the coronavirus.
Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy has repeatedly urged people not to take to the streets after thousands turned out across the country last weekend for Black Lives Matter rallies, saying such events “really are dangerous”.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack agrees.
“These people who want to go into protest, they ought to think long and hard about their actions,” he said in Tumut, NSW, where he was on the Eden-Monaro by-election campaign trail with his Nationals candidate Trevor Hicks on June 13.
“The courts say no. The Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy says no. Common sense would dictate to them that they should be staying at home.”
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese also said people shouldn’t protest in the current climate and should follow the health advice.
“There are a range of ways you can have your say without breaching the advice of the health experts,” he said in Queanbeyan on Saturday while also campaigning with Labor candidate Kristy McBain.
Liberal backbencher Trent Zimmerman said while the nation has done well in tackling the coronavirus, “It’s still present.”
“What we don’t want to see happening is the second wave that some other countries have experienced,” he told ABC television.
However, Australian Medical Association Western Australian president Andrew Miller doubts there will be little in the way of a second wave given Australia’s effective management in tackling the virus.
“But we will see outbreaks throughout the community, as we have been doing,” Miller told ABC television.
On whether people should be attending protests, he said: “Everything is a risk at the moment.
“We need to just keep this in context with shopping centres, restaurants, pubs … starting to open up again,” he said.
“In that context, it is possible for people to attend protests, assess the situation, wear a mask, take hand hygiene, not touch things, and I think, in many instances for people that will be just as safe, if not safer, than going on public transport or going into shopping centres.”
In Sydney, police have warned they will be out in force if protesters proceed with a prohibited “Free the Refugees” rally while refugee advocates also plan to rally in Melbourne’s north to protest against the indefinite detention of asylum seekers.
A crowd of 700 to 1000 turned up for Black Lives Matter rally in Darwin, according to Sky News..
Meanwhile, one person has tested positive to the coronavirus in Queensland overnight while NSW Health authorities have confirmed a teacher from Sydney’s eastern suburbs has been diagnosed with the virus.
The case caused Rose Bay Public School to be closed on Friday.
There have been around 7290 COVID-19 cases in Australia with a death toll of 102.