The Washington Post - USA (2020-09-16)

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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16 , 2020. THE WASHINGTON POST EZ RE A


brief social visits.
But until Oct. 26, most children
will not be allowed to return to
school, nor will adults be able to
move freely. To meet that target,
there will have to be fewer than five
cases on average every day for two
weeks, and fewer than five cases a
day that cannot be traced to an
existing outbreak over two weeks,
under the Victorian government’s
strategy to defeat the virus.
Nick Baker, a 43-year-old Mel-
bourne resident and aviation-
industry worker, said he supports
the lockdown but is struggling
with the lack of physical contact
with friends or family, apart from
his wife, Janis.
The couple planned a vacation
to Las Vegas last month for her
40 th birthday. Australia has
banned most foreign travel, and
the Bakers’ backup plan, a trip
along Victoria’s scenic Great Ocean
Road, is now illegal.
Instead, Baker bought his wife a
cake baked to look like the famous
“Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas”
sign at the southern end of the Las
Vegas Strip.
“This morning it hit me that the
day Stage 4 [restrictions] were
meant to end is actually the begin-
ning of another six weeks until we
can have friends visit or get out of
our 5-kilometer radius,” he said in
an email Sunday.
“The road map out doesn’t g ive a
lot of hope. I think it’s necessary,
but that doesn’t make it any easier.
We j ust want to go f or a drive to the
beach.”
foreign@washpost.com

prominent restaurateurs, respond-
ed in an interview.
That evening, the rules were re-
laxed a little in response to an
earlier decision. The curfew now
begins an hour later, at 9 p.m.
People who live alone are allowed
to designate another individual for

the police arrested 74 people and
issued the equivalent of $200,
in fines. “Protesting is stupid, pro-
testing is selfish, and protesting is
dangerous,” Andrews said after-
ward.
“A re we in the hands of a mad-
man?” Chris Lucas, one of the city’s

tend to be shopping.
When news of the protest was
posted on social media an hour in
advance, police swamped the area
with officers on horseback and oth-
ers wielding batons and thick plas-
tic shields.
As protesters yelled “Freedom!”

thing no large country has
achieved — worry that Andrews
may have gone too far to control a
disease that has killed a similar
number of people in Melbourne as
the District of Columbia, which has
one-eighth of the Australian city’s
population and a death toll of 616.
“I do find that strange as an
epidemiologist that we have to go
to such extremes when the case
numbers are manageable,” Cather-
ine Bennett, an infectious-diseases
expert at D eakin University, s aid in
an interview.
On Tuesday, Andrews’s health
department r ecorded 42 new coro-
navirus cases and no deaths. On
Thursday, most restrictions will be
lifted outside Melbourne following
a drop in cases.
Throughout the lockdown, An-
drews’s government has respond-
ed to isolated acts of defiance with
displays of force. Public demon-
strations, and encouraging others
to participate in them, have been
declared illegal. Some workers
have arranged clandestine meet-
ings with colleagues in supermar-
kets.
On Sept. 2, state police officers
arrested and handcuffed a preg-
nant woman wearing pink paja-
mas in front of her child and hus-
band for trying to organize a n anti-
lockdown protest through Face-
book in the regional city of Ballarat.
Then on Sunday, activists, in-
cluding some virus conspiracy
t heorists, used an encrypted mes-
saging app to arrange a protest in
Melbourne’s central food market,
where they could conceivably pre-

BY A. ODYSSEUS PATRICK
I N SYDNEY

D


etractors call him “Dicta-
tor Dan.” Supporters de-
clare, on social media,
#IStandWithAndrews. To
residents of Melbourne, Aus-
tralia’s second-largest city, he is
Daniel Andrews, the premier, or
governor, of Victoria state and the
politician responsible for inflict-
ing upon them some of the most
stringent pandemic-control mea-
sures on Earth.
The city named repeatedly over
recent years as the “world’s most
livable” has been locked down
since July 9. A week ago, Andrews
declared that a citywide curfew
will not be lifted until Oct. 26 — and
then only if the coronavirus is al-
most eliminated.
That would leave Melbourne’s
5 million residents confined in-
doors for 115 days, longer than the
92-day lockdown in Manila, 76
days in Wuhan, China, 58 days in
Italy and 33 days across New Zea-
land.
In Melbourne, public life has
essentially come to a halt. Schools
are shuttered. Roads are empty.
The only shops open are gas sta-
tions, supermarkets and drug-
stores.
People who do not work in an
essential industry are allowed to
leave their houses only for two
hours’ exercise a day, o r to buy food,
care for others or seek medical
attention. Soldiers go door to door
checking that infected people are
in isolation. Police ask cyclists for
identification to ensure they are
not breaching a rule allowing exer-
cise only within five kilometers
(3.1 miles) of their homes.
Federal officials, managing their
first recession in 29 years, have
pleaded with Andrews to loosen
rules that are dragging down Aus-
tralia’s economy. The number of
people in Melbourne receiving g ov-
ernment unemployment benefits
has risen 7.2 percent to about
410,000 since June 26, and spend-
ing by individuals in Victoria is
down 30 percent, according to the
federal Tr easury Department.
Derided by his critics as one of
Australia’s l east-charismatic politi-
cal leaders, with no professional
experience outside the center-left
Labor Party or state government,
Andrews argues that the pandemic
needs to be aggressively sup-
pressed now to avoid future lock-
downs caused by new virus waves
that could inflict worse d amage.
“We have to get the numbers low
and keep them low,” he said Mon-
day. “That’s exactly what we will
achieve by everyone working to-
gether.”
By stoically explaining his posi-
tion and reasoning every day in
news conferences that have be-
come a surprise television ratings
hit, Andrews seems to have con-
vinced Melburnians that the tough
measures are necessary.
An opinion poll last week by Roy
Morgan Research reported that
62 percent of voters in the city did
not want the curfew ended right
away and that more than two-
thirds of voters across the state
approve of Andrews’s perform-
ance.
But health experts — even those
who want the novel coronavirus
eliminated from Australia, some-

The World


LIBYA

Enforce arms embargo,
U.N. urges all nations

The U.N. S ecurity Council
adopted a resolution Tuesday
demanding that all countries
enforce the widely violated U.N.
arms embargo on Libya and
withdraw a ll mercenaries from the
North African nation.
The council also called for
political talks and a cease-fire in
the war, stressing it has no
military solution.
Since the 20 11 uprising that
toppled autocrat Moammar
Gaddafi, Libya has sunk further
into turmoil and is split between
two rival administrations, based in
the east and west, with an array o f
militias allied with each side.
A recent report by U.N. e xperts
accused Libya’s warring parties
and their international backers of
violating the arms embargo,
saying it remains “totally
ineffective.”
Tensions in Libya escalated
further when east-based forces,
under commander Khalifa Hifter,
launched an offensive in April
2019 to capture the capital, Tr ipoli.
But Hifter’s c ampaign collapsed in

June when militias backing the
U.N.-supported government in
Tr ipoli, with Turkish support,
gained the upper hand.
Hifter is supported by the
United Arab Emirates, Russia,
Jordan and Egypt, while the
Tr ipoli forces are backed by Qatar
and Turkey.
Since Turkey a nd the UAE
stepped up direct involvement in
Libya, “arms transfers to Libya by
those two member states have
been extensive, blatant and with
complete disregard to the
sanctions measures,” the U.N.
experts said.
— Associated Press

IRAQ

Roadside bombing
targets British convoy

A roadside bombing targeted
British diplomatic v ehicles in
Baghdad on Tuesday, the B ritish
Embassy and Iraqi officials said.
There w ere no injuries, but t he
attack i s fueling concerns about
armed groups o utside of the
state’s control.
The attack t argeted an
embassy convoy on a B aghdad
highway c lose to the Umm al-

Tabool mosque, the B ritish
Embassy and t he Iraqi s ecurity
officials said. No o ne asserted
responsibility for t he bombing.
The roads and the area of the
attack, between the a irport a nd
the h eavily fortified Green Z one,
are often used by diplomatic
missions, t he Iraqi officials s aid.

The Green Z one is h ome to the
seat of Iraq’s government a nd
many foreign embassies.
The attack i s the f irst in
months to target a diplomatic
convoy a nd c omes amid near-
daily r ocket a ttacks aimed a t the
Green Z one and Iraqi army bases
hosting U. S. troops.

The rocket a ttacks h ave put
pressure on Prime Minister
Mustafa a l-Kadhimi’s
administration, which h as
promised to rein in armed g roups
acting outside o f state authority.
— Associated Press

24 migrants feared dead as boat
capsizes near Libya: The U.N.
migration agency said a boat
carrying migrants bound for
Europe capsized in the
Mediterranean Sea off Libya,
leaving at l east two dozen people
drowned or missing and
presumed dead. A spokeswoman
for the International Organization
for Migration said Libya’s coast
guard retrieved two bodies, and
survivors reported 22 others
missing. The shipwreck was
t he latest maritime disaster
involving migrants seeking entry
to Europe.

Pakistani court issues arrest
warrant for ex-prime minister:
A top court in Pakistan issued an
arrest warrant for ailing former
prime minister Nawaz Sharif after
he failed to return home to appear
before judges to face corruption
charges. The Islamabad High
Court this month had given him a

chance to return to Pakistan by
last Thursday to face a corruption
hearing or risk being declared a
fugitive from justice. Under
Pakistan’s l egal system, the
government can now seek Sharif’s
extradition from Britain. Sharif
has been in London since
authorities released him on bail in
November so he could seek
medical treatment abroad.

Algerian journalist sentenced to
2 years in prison: An Algerian
court sentenced journalist Khaled
Drareni to two years in prison on
appeal, reducing his original
sentence, in a trial that rights
group have denounced as
violating press freedom. Drareni,
editor of the Casbah Tr ibune news
site and Algeria correspondent for
Reporters Without Borders and
the French TV c hannel
TV5Monde, played a prominent
role in covering the country's pro-
democracy movement last year.
He w as convicted of “inciting an
unarmed gathering” and
“endangering national unity”
linked to coverage of the protest
movement. In a n initial court
decision, Drareni had been
sentenced to a three-year term.
— From news services

DIGEST

BRAIS LORENZO/EPA-EFE/SHUTTERSTOCK
Horses graze on the side of a road as smoke from a wildfire billows
above the village of Lobios, Spain. The fire has burned nearly 20,
acres so far in the area near the Portuguese border and has affected
the Geres-Xures natural preserve.

Australia’s virus ‘dictator’ still wins hearts


Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has imposed some of the strictest pandemic rules anywhere, but his favorability ratings remain high


DARRIAN TRAYNOR/GETTY IMAGES

JAMES ROSS/EPA-EFE/SHUTTERSTOCK

TOP: Police make their presence felt at Melbourne’s Victoria Market on Sunday, after activists
planned a protest there against government coronavirus restrictions. Police arrested 74 people
and issued the equivalent of $200,000 in fines. ABOVE: Premier Daniel Andrews speaks
during question time in the Legislative Assembly of Victoria state’s Parliament. Transparent
partitions have been installed in the chamber as a precaution against the coronavirus.
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