The announcement of a snap five-day coronavirus lockdown in the Australian state of Victoria has been met with outrage by some business owners and residents.
Victoria will enter a "circuit breaker" lockdown from 11.59pm tonight (local time), Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters this afternoon, in response to a 13-case Covid cluster linked to the Melbourne Airport Holiday Inn MIQ facility.
Andrews said a lockdown was necessary "because this [the UK strain of Covid-19 that the new cases are infected with] is so infectious and is moving so fast".
If Victorians wait for the "theory – that it might be out there, there might be more cases than we know about – if we wait for that to be proven correct, it will be too late", the premier said, adding Victoria could then face "months" of being locked down.
"I know it's not the news that Victorians want to hear today. I know it's not the place that we wanted to be in. However, we've all given so much, we've all done so much. We've built something precious, and we have to make difficult decisions, and do difficult things, in order to defend what we've built," Andrews said.
"I am confident that this short, sharp circuit-breaker will be effective. We will be able to smother this. We will be able to prevent it getting away from us."
But many have been quick to criticise the decision, asking why "a small outbreak in Melbourne means everyone from Mallacoota to Mildura has to go into lockdown?".
More "stop-start restrictions will be a bitter disappointment" for the whole Victorian community, said Business Council Australia (BCA) chief executive Jennifer Westacott.
"We can't go on managing the country like this. This is the second lockdown caused by Victoria's hotel quarantine system, it must not be as long and destructive as the last. We must get hotel quarantine working properly," she said.
"Even a very short lockdown will have monumental social and economic costs."
Westacott said the lockdown will force small businesses to make "decisions about whether to lay off staff or destroy inventory" and airlines to cancel "thousands of flights and shifts".
"New outbreaks shouldn't be a surprise – this is a highly contagious virus, but we know now that we have to live alongside it," she added.
"New and more contagious strains make getting contact tracing, hotel quarantine and local management right even more important, they are not an excuse for throwing an entire state into hardship … The Victorian Government must now explain why this step is necessary and exactly how this will work for each and every business across the state."
#DictatorDan quickly began trending on Twitter in Australia, while one news.com.au reader asked, "Why do Victorians put up with this garbage?"
"What has become abundantly clear is that the Vic Government is completely inept at managing a quarantine programme and we need to stop all our international arrivals to Melbourne permanently. We, the residents of Victoria, are the ones making the sacrifices due to the failures of this quarantine programme," wrote another.
"Why does it have to be the whole state when the cluster is in a part of Melbourne? My wife and I were going to go away for our anniversary this weekend but unfortunately it ain't going to happen!!! Thanks for nothing!!!" one man commented, while another labelled it "typical Melbourne attitude".
But for every outraged Victorian, there was one who acknowledged why such action needs to be taken.
"I wish Boris [Johnson] had the stones to implement such a lockdown," one reader in Britain wrote.
"We had 13k new cases yesterday. I'd much rather your 13. Send Dan this way please!"
"Again: it is possible and even fine to be disappointed, upset, or frustrated at this lockdown WHILE AT THE SAME TIME accepting & supporting its necessity and acknowledging how very well Australia is doing compared to many other countries," Monash University social scientist and Unicef ambassador Dr Susan Carland tweeted.
"There's nowhere in the world that tackled a second wave like Victorians," Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese wrote.
"There's nowhere in the world that can stop a third wave like Victorians. You've got this, Victoria. Australians are with you."