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Australia's coronavirus lockdown strategy worked. Could this be a model for the US?

September 21, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

When Daniel Andrews, premier of the Australian state of Victoria, declared a lockdown over the coronavirus, some detractors on the right labeled him a "dictator" and said he was trying to build "a gulag."

(CNN)When Daniel Andrews, premier of the Australian state of Victoria, declared a lockdown over the coronavirus, some detractors on the right labeled him a "dictator" and said he was trying to build "a gulag. "

But Andrews -- a Labor Party politician who has run Australia's second-largest state since 2014 -- has remained popular with Victorians throughout the lockdown, local polls show.

On Sunday, Victoria recorded just 11 new coronavirus cases, down from over 670 at the height of the most recent outbreak last month.

Next week, Melbourne will begin lifting some restrictions, including a nighttime curfew, if new cases remain below a fortnightly average of 50 per day.

And while it may have provoked outrage from some elements of the Australian media, and criticism from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Victoria's experience shows once again that targeted lockdowns are effective in containing the coronavirus: driving down infections, relieving pressure on hospitals and medical staff, and creating space for contact tracing and mass testing.

This was first shown in China, where the government imposed an intense lockdown on Wuhan, the city where cases of the virus were first detected late last year.

For some lockdown skeptics, China's experience was easy to dismiss: the country is an authoritarian, one-party state, and its methods could not necessarily be applied in democracies.

New Zealand too, which on Monday began reducing social distancing regulations after daily cases dropped to zero, has seen positive results from lockdowns, enabling the country to return to relative normality far faster than nations which did not take such measures.

There is also considerable political resistance to lockdowns, or even partial shutdowns, in some countries, particularly the United States, where last week Attorney General William Barr said a nationwide closure would be the "greatest intrusion on civil liberties" in history "other than slavery. "

Potential lockdowns have also provoked backlash in the European Union and United Kingdom in recent days, despite a spike in case numbers across the continent.

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