‘Let it sink in’: US praise for Melbourne

 

Australia recorded its first day in five months with no new locally-acquired coronavirus cases this week, and the milestone did not go unnoticed.

US-based epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding, a man who spent 16 years at Harvard and also graduated from the esteemed Johns Hopkins University, led the way in praising Australia's efforts.

"ZERO COVID in Australia (for the first time) in 5 months!" he wrote on Twitter. "And don't dare say it's some island like Taiwan - it's a continent! Australia adopted an approach of lockdowns and proactive testing and tracing and Victoria - 90 per cent of deaths - imposed one of the severest stay-at-home rules."

Feigl-Ding shared a BBC News story that cited the prospect of a "COVID-normal Christmas" - something those in the UK are now worried will be unachievable after Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced a fresh lockdown amid a new spike in COVID-19 cases.

"Victoria and its largest city Melbourne began to reopen earlier this week after recording no new community-transmitted cases since June," the BBC story read.

"People were able to freely leave their homes, retail stores, restaurants, cafes and bars could reopen and groups of up to 10 could start gathering.

"Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews praised the state's six million residents for following such strict rules and said they were well placed for a 'COVID-normal Christmas'."

The city of Melbourne begins to open up again after a harsh lockdown. Picture : NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie
The city of Melbourne begins to open up again after a harsh lockdown. Picture : NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie

 


The New York Times ran a piece saying Australians now embrace the isolation they tried to escape for so long, but that our rules are so strict they've essentially turned us into a "hermit nation".

The author wrote that our rules were so strict they "seem like something out of China or North Korea".

"The virus has turned this outgoing nation into a hermit. Australia's borders are closed, internationally and between several states." the author wrote.

"Rather than chafing against isolation, though, Australians these days are more willing to smile in the mirror. Island living looks like a privilege when the world is pestilent."

Sydneysiders Lauren Fish and Tommy Parsons at the Glenmore Hotel in the Rocks. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard
Sydneysiders Lauren Fish and Tommy Parsons at the Glenmore Hotel in the Rocks. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard


American current events opinion website Business Insider said we had a an advantage over most countries from the start.

"It's an island with relatively low population density," they wrote. " But its rules were still far stricter than in many other countries."

Australia's success comes amid sharp rises across the rest of the globe.

The US reported 99,321 new Covid-19 cases today - the highest single day number of cases recorded for any country to date. It marks an alarming jump of almost 11,000 more cases compared to yesterday.

Meanwhile the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a national lockdown after passing one million coronavirus cases, and France is recording around 50,000 new cases daily.

- with Benjamin Graham

Originally published as 'Let it sink in': US praise for Melbourne


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