Melbourne will set a depressing world record tomorrow with its 235th day in lockdown since the Covid pandemic began.
It has been widely reported that no city in the world has been under stay-at-home orders longer, with Wednesday equalling Argentinian capital Buenos Aires.
The price of repeated lockdowns and the explosion of violent opposition to them in the past week is that Melbourne is now better known as the world’s most locked-down city than its former claim to being the world’s most liveable city.
Melbourne equalled the most unpopular of world records – the city with the most days under lockdown – on Wednesday and will claim the miserable title on its own tomorrow. Pictured are thousands of anti-lockdown protesters in the city on Tuesday
Disillusioned and frustrated Melburnians have been subjected to six Covid lockdowns, with residents told to stay home at some point in 14 of the past 20 months
Exercise has been the only escape from stay-at-home orders forced on millions of people living in Melbourne for much of the past 20 months
A couple walks in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the city that Melbourne will beat as the being in lockdown the longest tomorrow. On Tuesday Argentinian authorities announced protective masks outdoors will no longer be mandatory, social gatherings will be allowed, as they loosened Covid restrictions
Longsuffering Melbourne won’t just eclipse the unwanted world record, it will smash it as Premier Daniel Andrews’ roadmap to freedom don’t end lockdown until October 26.
How does Australia compare?
Australia remains among the most heavily locked-down countries on earth according to a respected international data project.
Oxford University’s Covid-19 Stringency Index, which produces a composite score to measure each country’s government policy responses, gave Australia a score of 71.76 the last time the data was updated 10 days ago.
That was the same score as Cuba.
The score is based on nine indicators including school closures, workplace closures, and travel bans.
Only Honduras (75), Argentina and Iraq (both 75.93), China (76.39), Panama (77.31) and New Zealand (81.02) scored higher.
At that point Melbourne would have been under various lockdowns for 268 days, with a stay-at-home-order in place for at least part of the month for 14 of the past 20 months.
While some countries have experienced various Covid restrictions for long periods during 2020 and 2021, none have endured so many days under stay-at-home orders.
Melbourne’s disastrous lockdown record is made of a 111 day lockdown from July to October last year and the current lockdown, which will be 83 days if it ends as planned on October 26.
The city had three other lockdowns: 43 days, ending last May; 5 days in February 2021; 14 days in May-June 2021; and 12 days this July.
Melbourne has little chance of an early reprieve to the current lockdown with another 628 Covid cases recorded on Wednesday, the most since August 1 last year.
Three people also lost their lives after testing positive for Covid.
The new cases were diagnosed from 60,829 tests and 43,056 vaccine doses were administered on Tuesday.
Meanwhile on Tuesday Argentinian authorities announced protective masks outdoors will no longer be mandatory, social gatherings will be allowed, as they loosened Covid restrictions as the government came under heavy pressure.
This week the patience of thousands of people in Melbourne completely ran out, with disillusionment and anti-lockdown protests grow and morph into public disorder across the city since Saturday.
Images of violent clashes between police and protesters in Melbourne have gone viral around the world
The escalating protests on Melbourne’s streets have led to scenes Australia and the rest of the world has not associated with its former status as the world’s most liveable city
The city’s tradies have been among its most visible dissenters, with thousands reacting angrily to Premier Dan Andrews’ draconian mandate to shut down all construction for two weeks.
The peak union CFMEU distanced itself from the actions of protesters on Monday, saying it ‘condemns far right extremist violence’.
Its National Secretary Dave Noonan claimed the crowd was ‘heavy infiltrated by neo-Nazis’.
But as the city’s increasingly violent protests enter their fourth day the number of protesters has only grown.
The huge crowds rallying on Tuesday and Wednesday appear to represent much wider anger with Melbourne’s continual and draconian lockdowns than niche groups are capable of.
Police have so far made hundreds of arrests amidst continual clashes and calls for the rallies to end.
As they struggled to contain the protests police have also come in for accusations of heavy-handed tactics.
Footage showed two officers pepper-spraying an elderly woman on Saturday, while photographer Luis Ascui, who works for Daily Mail Australia and some of the nation’s other top news publications, was targeted by a young officer, who sprayed pepper foam directly into his eyes.
The violent scenes and the unwanted lockdown record also mean the city’s previously positive international reputation as one of the world’s most liveable cities has taken a battering.
World media widely reported the violent clashes between protesters and police in Melbourne, including those in Australia’s major tourist markets such as Britain, the United States and Japan.
Demonstrators were left outraged after footage showed two officers deploying pepper spray at a woman during violent protests in Richmond, Melbourne, on Saturday
Luis Ascui was alongside an elderly woman who got pepper sprayed while on the ground moments have they attacked him
Images and video of thuggish protesters rioting fighting with and attacking police, hurling smoke bombs and bottles on the streets of Melbourne have gone worldwide.
American news website Bloomberg ran an article about Melbourne titled ‘Life in the World’s Most Locked Down City’.
KRWG media in New Mexico reported: ‘The Australian city of Melbourne – once deemed the world’s most livable, is now one of the most locked down’.
Melbourne’s proud mantle as the world’s most liveable city seems to have long gone, instead it earned the awkward title of the world’s best city to work from home.
Even Australians are voting with their feet on the prospect of remaining in Victoria.
Recent data showed Victoria experienced by far the biggest population decline of any Australian state this year
Victoria’s population fell 0.6 per cent in the year to March 2021, although mainly due to lost migration.
Australia remains among the most heavily locked-down countries on earth according to a respected international data project, but Melbourne easily eclipses all other Australian cities – including Sydney.