Learn English while learning about daily life in Australia, with Rob McCormack
Podcast Number 123 – Surviving the Coronavirus – Second Lockdown in Melbourne
In Podcast 120 (https://slowenglish.info/podcast-120-surviving-the-coronavirus-lockdown/), I talked about the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic here in Australia, and in my home state of Victoria in particular. At the time of publishing that podcast (June the 4th), we had successfully flattened the curve of infections and it appeared that Australia was not going to have the high numbers of infections and deaths which places such as Europe, Brazil and the USA have experienced. I also said, in closing podcast 120, that only time will tell if we can continue to keep the coronavirus at bay. Unfortunately, here in my state of Victoria and Melbourne in particular, we have experienced a second and more dangerous wave of coronavirus. In this podcast, I would like to tell you about my experience of this second wave so far.
In early June of this year, I think it is true to say that nearly all Australians, me included, had the view that Australia had overcome the first wave of the virus very successfully. We knew that we would have to keep doing all the social distancing and handwashing measures, but overall we were very optimistic. Indeed, at the time of writing this podcast (September the 28th), that has proved to be right, with the exception of my state of Victoria.
In Victoria it has been a different story. We have had a significant wave of virus infections, peaking at 725 new cases on the 5th of August. Thankfully, as I write (September the 28th), our daily number of new cases here in Victoria has once more flattened, down to only 5 new cases per day. However this second wave has been devastating for our community. In podcast 120 in early June, I reported that there were 102 deaths Australia wide since the start of the pandemic, with Victoria having 19 deaths at that stage. However, as at September the 28th, this has grown to 875 deaths Australia wide. The vast bulk of all coronavirus deaths have been in Victoria, which now has had 787 deaths, with 627 of these occurring in aged care facilities. Once the coronavirus found its way into aged care facilities, where the residents are the most vulnerable, the death toll was bound to rise substantially. Our state government has had to put all of Melbourne and its surrounding areas once more into very strict lockdown, much stricter than for the first wave. It’s been really tough and our economy has been very badly affected. Despite that, our Victorian state Premier has said many times that we must first deal with the health crisis before we can deal with the economic crisis. Most Victorians agree with that approach.
The second lockdown started for all of Melbourne on the 7th of July, after our daily number of new cases climbed to 191 new cases on that day. This second lockdown has been designed to drastically reduce movement of the population and to keep us apart whenever possible. For example, we have been under a curfew from 8pm until 5am each night, meaning that we must stay at home during these hours unless you have permission to travel for work or emergency purposes. Most industries are shut down or are working with reduced numbers of workers. For example, large scale construction sites have been limited to 25% of their normal workforce. Of course, there are exceptions including supermarkets, chemists, health care providers, a range of workers who supply the supermarkets, emergency workers and many others. Schools and retail shops have been closed, with restaurants and cafes only being allowed to offer a takeaway service. Those who could work from home were told that they must work from home. During the day, Melbournians (unless exempt) must stay home, although it is possible to leave for certain reasons. The permitted reasons are shopping for food, for medical reasons, to exercise outside up to 1 hour per day and to attend a permitted workplace. Importantly, although you are allowed to visit the supermarket, you can only do this within 5 km from your home, and only one person per household can go once per day. Likewise, when doing exercise outside, it must be within 5 km from your home. As a further measure, on the 19th of July all Victorians have been required to wear a mask whenever they leave their home.
(For the latest and up-to-date restrictions in Victoria, please refer to https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorias-restriction-levels-covid-19)
My wife and I are retired, so the strict lockdown has not been too difficult. We have all our groceries delivered, and if we need to buy something not food-related (for example clothes), we can buy it online and have it delivered. It’s been really hard that we can’t meet with our family and friends. However, we have used online meeting software to catch up with many of them.
It is interesting, and tragic, that Victoria has suffered this second wave of infections and deaths, while other areas of Australia have not. The cause has been the hotel quarantine program in Melbourne. Under this program, all returning overseas travellers were taken from the airport to one of several hotels in the city centre, where they were confined to their rooms for 14 days, before being able to return to their homes. Apparently, mistakes were made in the way it was set up and operated. Unfortunately, many of these returning travellers had the coronavirus and it would seem that some of those supervising them somehow caught the virus and transferred it into the community. From there it spread rapidly, including into aged care facilities. An inquiry has been set up by the state government to find out how this happened. Once their investigations are finished in November, they will give their findings to the government. It is expected that the lessons learned about those mistakes will help make sure that such mistakes are never made again.
While it seems that we have defeated this second wave for now, the restrictions will be very slowly removed, to ensure that Victoria can keep its number of new cases very low as the pandemic continues and until a vaccine is found. The current plan is that we can lift many of the restrictions by late October. I am looking forward to that as it means I will be able ride my motorcycle again and once more meet up with family and friends. While I feel very confident that our current plan is working, there might still be a third wave of the virus – we will see how things go. I will be obeying the social distancing rules. Until a vaccine arrives, that is what we all must do.
If you have a question or a comment to make, please leave it in the comments box at the bottom of this page. Or, you can send me an email at email@example.com. I would love to hear from you. Tell me where you live, a little bit about yourself and what you think of my Slow English podcast. I will write back to you, in English of course. If you would like to take a short quiz to see if you have understood this podcast, you will also find it on my website. Goodbye until next time.
Podcast 123 Quiz - Did you understand the podcast?
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Question 1 of 10
True or False? – The State of Victoria is the only state in Australia which so far has experienced a second wave of coronavirus.Correct
Question 2 of 10
True or False? – In Victoria, the second wave of the virus has spread into aged care facilities.Correct
Question 3 of 10
True or False? – The approach to fighting the coronavirus in Victoria is to deal with the economic crisis before the health crisis.Correct
Question 4 of 10
True or False? – During the second wave of coronavirus in Melbourne, you must do your shopping within 10km from your home.Correct
Question 5 of 10
True or False? – During the second wave lockdown, Melbournians must work from home if they can.Correct
Question 6 of 10
True or False? – During the second wave lockdown in Melbourne, it was okay for a man and his wife to go shopping together to the supermarket.Correct
Question 7 of 10
True or False? – Rob and his wife have used online meeting software to catch up with friends and family.Correct
Question 8 of 10
True or False? – The hotel quarantine program was the cause of the second wave of coronavirus in Melbourne.Correct
Question 9 of 10
True or False? – The inquiry into the hotel quarantine program in Melbourne has stopped the spread of the virus in the second wave.Correct
Question 10 of 10
True or False? – Rob is certain that there will be no third wave of coronavirus in Melbourne.Correct
affected = when something causes a change in something else
apart = away from one another
appeared = how something looked
approach = (here) a way of doing something
at bay = stopped, to keep something away from you
bound = (here) it is sure to happen
catch up with = to meet and spend time with someone
certain = (here) particular
confident = to be sure that something will happen
confined = to be kept in one place and you cannot leave
construction sites = the place where a building is being built
crisis = when things have gone very wrong, when everyone is in danger
curfew = when you are not allowed to leave your home
curve = a shape like a hill or mountain
dangerous = when you can get hurt, sick or die
death toll = the number of people who die
defeated = beaten
designed = (here) made a certain way
devastating = very, very bad
drastically reduce = to make something much smaller in size or number
economic = to do with money and business
emergency purposes = when there is an urgent need to do something
exceptions = things that are different from normal
exempt = when a rule does not apply to you
experienced = (here) when something has happened to you or someone else
facilities = buildings or equipment which make it easier to do something
findings = the things you find when you do an investigation or inquiry
flattened = make a round curve shape become more like a straight line
groceries delivered = brought to your house
included = when something or someone is put together with others
industries = groups of people and businesses which make a product or service
infections = sickness caught from another person
inquiry = when someone asks a lot of questions to find out what happened
investigations = when you find out what happened
large scale = big in size
limited = (here) when something cannot go any higher
measures = (here) things to do in order to prevent something from happening
medical = to do with your body and your health
not food-related = not to do with food
obeying = doing as you are told, following the rules
optimistic = to believe that something will turn out well
overcome = to prevent
pandemic = when a sickness is caught by many, many people
peaking = reaching the highest
permission = when someone gives you the right to do something
permitted = allowed
population = all of the people who live in a place
program = a group of activities together
providers = people or groups who give or sell things to others
publishing = when a book, magazine or blog is given to a large number of people
required = (here) must
residents = people who live in a place
restrictions = when you are not allowed to do certain things
retail shops = shops that sell to the public
retired = when you are no longer working, usually because you are 65 years or older
significant = (here) large, important
social distancing = keeping apart from other people (by 1.5m) to prevent infection
spread = when something goes from one place to another
strict = when something must be followed or done a certain way
substantially = (here) a large amount
suffered = when someone has had bad things happen to them
supervising = looking after, when someone watches you to check you are doing the right thing
surrounding = around something else
tragic = when something is really bad, usually involving injuries and death
transferred = to go from one place to another
travel = go from one place to another
vaccine = a medicine which will stop you from getting a disease
vast bulk = a very, very large amount or large part of something
view = (here) opinion
vulnerable = people who cannot protect themselves
workforce = all the workers