Dan Andrews nominated for Political Leader of the Year, what time is Vic Premier press conference


Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is in the running for a prominent leadership award despite the state being hit by a series of coronavirus bungles and lockdowns.

According to the Daily Mail, Mr Andrews has been nominated for the 2020 McKinnon Political Leader of the Year prize, and is up against some of Australia’s best-known politicians including Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

He was nominated by the panel for his leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – however, critics have expressed outrage at the decision, given Melbourne is currently in the midst of another lockdown.

The latest shutdown was rolled out after the virus began circulating in the wider community after escaping hotel quarantine.

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Mr Andrews copped a grilling over the state’s infection control management and hotel quarantine system during his Monday press briefing, after concerns emerged regarding a gap in the containment ring around Melbourne’s latest outbreak.

Over the weekend it was revealed that a large group of individuals were potentially exposed to the mutant UK strain after a female quarantine worker attended a family event in Melbourne’s inner north on February 6.

Investigators initially ruled it out as an exposure site after the worker tested negative the following day, on February 7 – but when a guest later returned a positive result, authorities looked into the woman’s result and found it was actually a “weak positive”.

That means the 38 guests at the gathering were able to venture out in public for a week before the danger was discovered, and there are now 17 cases linked to the Holiday Inn cluster, with 21 active cases in the state.

One of the critics at yesterday’s press conference was veteran ABC journalist Leigh Sales, who demanded to know why the government “can’t manage two or three cases a day?”

Mr Andrews fired back, telling the 7.30 host “I am more than confident in the team we have and in the Victorian community that they can get through this.”

The latest lockdown comes after Melbourne emerged from one of the world’s toughest coronavirus lockdowns in October last year, with citizens largely confined to their homes for more than three months.

A raft of harsh restrictions were also introduced in January in the wake of Sydney’s northern beaches cluster, with many Victorians temporarily trapped in NSW when the border suddenly closed during the peak holiday season.

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So far, more than 800 Victorians have died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and the state’s lockdowns and restrictions have devastated many businesses and wiped billions from the economy.

In fact, last July, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg warned Victoria’s second, six-week coronavirus lockdown would cost the national economy a staggering $1 billion a week.

Liberal MP James Newbury has criticised Mr Andrews’ nomination in the wake of Victoria’s coronavirus disaster, with MP James Newbury telling the Daily Mail it was a “slap in the face” for those who have suffered under the lockdowns.

The 2019 prize winner was NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, with Senator Penny Wong taking out the top gong in 2018 and Senator Dean Smith winning in 2017.

But Ms Berejiklian has been snubbed this time around despite NSW’s success in controlling the pandemic, as have other state and territory leaders with even greater coronavirus track records.

News.com.au contacted the McKinnon Prize organisation for comment.

WHAT TIME IS TODAY’S PRESS CONFERENCE?

Meanwhile, Victorians are anxiously awaiting Tuesday’s press conference in the hope of discovering whether the lockdown will lift as planned this week – or be extended further.

While the exact time of the conference is yet to be confirmed, it is expected to take place this morning.

Authorities will soon confirm whether the snap, five-day lockdown was enough of a “circuit-breaker” to halt the spread of the highly infectious mutant UK strain, with exposure sites holding the key to freedom.



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