Local lockdowns and the threat of a second wave of coronavirus in Melbourne have not escaped global attention, with a number of media outlets reporting on the city as one of a host of those experiencing a potential second peak of the virus.
The New York Times reported from the ground in Melbourne and described doorknocking efforts to get residents tested as “authorities race to catch up with a string of outbreaks that is threatening to recast Australia’s success story in controlling the spread.”
It quoted Monash University director of the Migration and Inclusion Centre, Professor Rebecca Wickes, as saying immigrant communities should not be blamed but rather “global citizens, coming back from their cruises and their ski trips to Aspen.”
“We seem to have forgotten the history of how this virus took hold in Australia,” she said.
Despite Europe deciding to allow Australian residents into the bloc from July 1 and the UK set to do the same without quarantine requirements, news of the Victorian outbreak has made headlines in the UK.
Britain’s Independent reported 300,000 would return to local lockdown conditions.
“The spike in cases has been linked to staff members at hotels where travellers who returned to Australia were being quarantined, indicating breaches of quarantine protocols,” it said.
The UK Daily Telegraph also warned the winter surge could be a preview of what the northern hemisphere will face in the coming months
“Australia had been considered to have managed the pandemic well, so far recording a total of around 8,000 cases and 100 deaths in a country with a population of 25 million. Cases peaked by the end of March with the state of New South Wales hardest hit,” the paper reported.
“The state of Victoria went from nine cumulative cases on March 1 to 1,018 cases on April 1. Spread of the virus slowed considerably for some time, then over the past month the cumulative case tally went from 1,670 to 2,380.”
“And as Australia – and the rest of the southern hemisphere – enters winter this has prompted concerns that the virus, which most experts believe is more likely to thrive in the cold, is having a resurgence.”
It said the low number of cases in the Australian first wave may have contributed to a rise now. Griffith University Queensand Professor Hamish McCallum said the city was clearly in the grip of a second wave.
“The question is whether it is a ripple or the start of a tsunami. Certainly, the rise in daily reported cases looks qualitatively very similar to the initial wave in March. However, this does need to be viewed in terms of the increased testing and relaxation of the criteria for testing,” he said.
The UK tabloid Express said “panic grips Australia over second wave as 300,000 shelter after spike.”
“Australia has fared better than many countries in the pandemic, with around 7,920 cases, 104 deaths and fewer than 400 active cases. But the recent jump has stoked fears of a second wave of COVID-19, echoing concerns expressed in other countries,” it reported.
Australia has recorded more than 8000 cases of coronavirus so far which is still low compared to others around the world.
On Wednesday, the US recorded more than 52,000 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, a new one-day record as infections soared.
Overall more than 10.7 million coronavirus infections have been recorded around the world with more than 517,000 deaths.
Many countries initially seen as successfully having fought off the virus, such as Germany, Japan, Singapore and South Korea, have seen a resurgence in local hot spots in recent weeks as lockdown restrictions ease.