Analysis: As a life-long proud Victorian who has enjoyed mocking every other state for years I have three words to say to the rest of Australia: I am sorry.
Yes, in the middle of a pandemic and a crisis, we have stuffed it up. You are not the only ones upset by this.
If we had run this as well as NSW and Queensland, the entire country would now be debating how much they could reopen and when, rather than worrying about how to keep Victorians away.
If we had run this properly more business would be reopening, fewer people would be looking at financial ruin, and sadly, there would not be so many people fighting for life in intensive care wards.
Victoria has recorded 66 new cases of coronavirus. (Nine)In the past two weeks Victoria has recorded about 650 per cent more new cases than NSW. Our active coronavirus cases have passed 600.
If you apply the cruel arithmetic, allowing for a death rate of 1.3 per cent which is the national average, that could mean as many as seven new lives lost as a result of what has unfolded in the past 14 days.
Now, God willing that won’t happen.
Hospitals are more equipped than they were to fight this, with better equipment and a better understanding.
Perhaps the virus will be less virulent.
But, potentially, Victoria’s awful errors will lead to the loss of life and enormous personal financial suffering.
A woman is tested in her car as Victoria battles a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. (Getty)
There is also the continuing possibility of cases being transferred interstate by idiots, or people slipping through the system.
So why are we in this mess? Genomic testing shows much of the new surge has come from security guards positioned to oversee returned travellers quarantined in hotels.
There are at least 35 cases associated with just one such hotel.
This when NSW quarantine hotels were not responsible for a single case getting into the community.
The difference? Arrogance, sloppiness and an unknown factor nobody will admit.
Victoria Police set up a check point on Sydney Road, Fawkner. (Getty)
Months ago the national emergency cabinet recommended quarantine for returning travellers and it was a masterstroke.
It has helped Australia to the relatively strong positon it now enjoys. The states were offered highly trained military teams to take charge of the hotels. These people are so good some of the rest of the world has been lining up to learn their methods.
NSW accepted and no cases were transferred into the community. Victoria rejected that and we are in trouble.
Nobody knows why Victoria did this. Instead, we brought in private security firms – some reportedly with poorly trained, sloppy staff.
Victoria coronavirus (Nine/Getty)
He has been asked why he rejected the military. No reply. He has been asked who decided what, and hides behind an inquiry he has ordered.
It is evasive political nonsense.
The inquiry may not even look at the responsibility of the politicians, instead focusing on the “agencies”.
But it is not time for heads to roll. That can happen later.
It is time to win trust by being straight with the public and that is something this Victorian government finds impossible.
They are believing weird conspiracy theories, such as the test can be used to collect DNA and track down criminals or tax evaders, or that the virus itself is some sort of overblown conspiracy and it doesn’t really exist.
Victoria suburbs stay-at-home July 1 (9News)
That is frustrating madness.
But it is a further problem the government must manage and is not managing well.
Some of the ignorance is in migrant communities, and the message has not been distributed widely enough in languages other than English.
That is being addressed now, but why not weeks ago?
More, tests could be made mandatory. If you refuse a breath test when driving there is a penalty because you are potentially endangering human life.
It is exactly the same when refusing a COVID-19 test.
Parliament would need to be recalled to change the law. So interrupt the parliamentary holidays, for heaven’s sake, and do it.
But we have also lost our credibility and our right to be trusted as sensible and careful managers in a crisis.
Now we have to pray it doesn’t get worse and that we don’t lose lives as well.
Tragically, the doctors believe both may be inevitable.
And one final point: let this be a warning.
Yes, Victoria made errors, but the virus has shown how dangerous and “efficient” it can be.
Be wary of outbreaks. Take extra care with every decision and the way it is implemented.
Follow the health advice and don’t think we are through it yet.
As your pubs open and life tries to return to normal, don’t take it lightly.