Fronting an increasingly hostile yet largely unquestioning media, a tired Daniel Andrews yesterday explained why Melbourne would remain shut for at least a few more days. Andrews claimed that the opening would be paused for 24 to 48 hours while 1000 tests from the allegedly growing northern suburbs “outbreak” are processed.
“We have around 1000 swabs currently being processed — and we’re expecting even more today,” he said. “We’ll use the next couple of days to review those results and understand exactly how this virus is travelling.”
But wait. Just last week Andrews’s brand new health minister, Martin Foley, boasted that 97% of COVID tests were being processed within 24 hours.
Then there’s the strange concern about the cluster itself. Even with the minimal data provided by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), it’s clear that this cluster didn’t materialise in the last couple of days. The cluster itself is 39 cases across 11 households.
In the last 12 days, there have been 40 confirmed cases in Melbourne. Andrews would have been well aware of the northern suburbs cluster last week (given it was almost all Melbourne’s reported case load) when he first allowed 1000 people to watch the Cox Plate (a decision reversed after public outcry).
Apparently Victoria’s health advice allows super-spreading animal cruelty events to be held, but not small businesses to open.
Then there’s the final excuse: while yesterday’s 1000 tests all came back negative, there is now another 1400 tests pending in laboratories from Sunday.
Joseph Heller would be proud.
Adam Schwab is a commentator, business director, and the co-founder of LuxuryEscapes.com. He is also the author of Pigs at the Trough: Lessons from Australia’s Decade of Corporate Greed.