US media makes Dan Andrews a hero

 

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has been heckled near and far as "Dictator Dan" and mocked in editorial cartoons for turning his state into a "gulag".

But vindication for imposing some of the toughest lockdown restrictions in the world is beginning to flow as new case numbers remain low and steady, while new polling reveals a groundswell of support for the Labor leader.

And the world is beginning to notice as a CNN report declared Mr Andrews' strict shutdown the blueprint to containing the deadly coronavirus.

Support is suddenly mounting for the Victorian leader. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie
Support is suddenly mounting for the Victorian leader. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie

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The support from the US-based media giant comes as Victoria recorded 28 new cases on Tuesday, a slight increase on recent numbers but well below the more than 700 cases of six weeks ago.

The report said policy makers and critics were sceptical of the strict lockdown approach originally adopted at the source of the pandemic's outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The support from CNN also lands a blow to the strategy in the US which has been reluctant to persevere with widespread lockdowns despite the number of people killed from the virus surpassing 200,000.

"The situation in Victoria proves that the lockdown strategy does work elsewhere, and that, given the proper information and reassurances, people are willing to make the sacrifices required to contain the virus," the CNN piece declared.

The story leans on comments from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention chief epidemiologist Wu Zunyou who said the strategy had been successfully adopted to suppress a number of outbreaks across the eastern superpower.

"The COVID-19 epidemic in our country has gone through four waves," he said on the weekend.

"Besides the first wave (in Wuhan), the other epidemic waves were clusters that were regional and small-scale and were effectively controlled."

The reinforcement comes as the The Australian's Newspoll showed 62 per cent of Victorian voters backed the premier's handling of the health crisis despite failures of hotel quarantine being responsible for much of the state's cases.

Separately, 61 per cent of voters around Australia, including 57 per cent of Coalition voters, said the restrictions, which have locked Victorians at home, were appropriate.

The CNN perspective also comes as a rare glimmer of positivity from the major media outlets after the The Washington Post labelled Mr Andrews a "dictator".

Last Tuesday's print edition featured a photograph of heavily armed Victoria Police officers in riot gear among the fruit and vegetable stalls at the Queen Victoria Market.

The image was accompanied by the headline: "Australia's virus 'dictator' still wins hearts."

 

 

 

The Post story appeared online too, calling Victoria's COVID-19 stay-at-home rules part of a "drastic lockdown" among "the most stringent pandemic control measures on Earth".

It noted that Melbourne's five million residents have been "confined indoors 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 Zealand".

"In Melbourne, public life has essentially come to a halt. Schools are shuttered. Roads are empty," the article read. "The only shops open are gas stations, supermarkets and drugstores."

Featuring in these major outlets is further proof the world is eagerly watching.

In recent weeks, articles have been written about Victoria's approach by CNN, The New York Times, BBC, Bloomberg, NBC and by smaller publications like the Las Vegas Sun.

The BBC last week focused on the protests that saw police clash with members of the public for a second weekend running.

"While the entire state of Victoria has been in lockdown since early July, Melbourne - the state's capital - has been under tighter restrictions," the BBC wrote.

Bloomberg looked into the "jobless surge" in Victoria as workers were driven from workplaces by the shuttering of several industries.

"Victorian household spending is now down 30 per cent year-to-date, from flat mid-July, even as Australia-wide it has declined 3 per cent" Bloomberg wrote.

NBC reported on the "surreal" nature of military members being tasked with knocking on Melburnians' doors during lockdown.

"They are living under some of the most draconian lockdown restrictions in the world," NBC wrote.

"And any hope people had of returning to something like normality has been abandoned."

The New York Times explored the deepening of "hotspot contact tracing".

"The Victoria outbreak - it now accounts for about 75 per cent of Australia's nearly 26,400 cases and 90 per cent of its 770 deaths - has brought the most visible rift between a state government and Australia's Federal Government over the country's handling of the pandemic, which has included an emergency Cabinet of leaders from both levels of government," the Times article read.

Additional reporting from Rohan Smith

Originally published as US media makes Dan Andrews a hero


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