Victoria’s 7-day lockdown can cause a billion-dollar financial loss

Victoria recorded four more COVID-19 cases on the first day of the seven-day lockdown, bringing the total number of Whittlesea clusters to 30.

This is the fourth state blockade in 15 months. It is also widespread, longer than the five days that occurred in mid-February.

The Victoria State Government has imposed lockdown responsibility on the federal government.

Acting Prime Minister James Merlino blamed the federal government for the latest outbreak on Thursday, saying the state did not have an efficient vaccination alternative to hotel quarantine.

“If there was an alternative to hotel quarantine for this particular variant of concern, we are not here today,” Merlino said. “If the Commonwealth vaccine program was effectively deployed, we may not be here today.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who supported the state to build a 500-bed quarantine facility and said Victoria had sufficient vaccine supplies, denied a direct link between vaccine deployment inefficiencies and blockades. did.

“It’s difficult to harmonize it with international experience,” he says. Said when answering a journalist’s question..

“Looking at the countries around the world who have had much less experience with COVID and, of course, participated in vaccination programs as an emergency measure, long before Australia, whether it was Canada or France, especially now we see. In Singapore, it’s hard to connect it with international experience. “

The prime minister also recommended vaccination to the public.

“I think this is another and additional reminder about the importance of vaccination for Australians,” he said. “Make an appointment, talk to your doctor and prevent it. Please get vaccinated. “

Lobby group Small Business Australia estimated that the seven-day blockade would cost Victoria $ 1 billion, while the Gratan Institute estimated that figure to be $ 900 million. ABC reported..

“Lockdowns are longer and more widespread than those imposed in mid-February. People’s mobility is expected to decline again from the height of the pandemic,” said a Commonwealth Bank analyst. I told ABC.

The state government has promised a support package for small businesses affected by lockdown. At the final lockdown in February, the Victoria State Government provided affected companies with a $ 143 million package.

Defense Minister Peter Dutton said the federal government would provide financial assistance as needed.

“We work with the Victoria State Government to provide as much support as possible for people to overcome another difficult time,” he said.

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