Daniel Andrews has surfaced on social media for the second time in four days after Daily Mail Australia questioned why he’d remained silent for more than six weeks as Victoria was plunged into its fourth lockdown.
Mr Andrews, who oversaw Melbourne’s 112-day lockdown last year, broke his silence on Wednesday to insist he would soon return as state premier as he continues to recover from a horrific fall in March.
It was the first time he had addressed the public since a social media post on April 18, when he said he was making ‘slow and steady progress’.
Mr Andrews was on Saturday night spotted in wife Catherine’s Instagram story, with the state Labor leader getting a lockdown haircut.
‘On the tools again. Practice makes perfect. Love this one so much – getting better every day,’ Mrs Andrews captioned the post.
Mr Andrews’ face was concealed by his wife’s hand and a comb.
That could only fuel an influx of comments conspiracy theorists who have suggested his accident was the result of something more nefarious.
Dan Andrews was pictured in his wife’s Instagram story on Saturday evening receiving a DIY lockdown haircut – his second appearance on social media this week
Andrews was spotted in wife Catherine’s Instagram story on Saturday evening, with the Labor leader getting a lockdown haircut. ‘On the tools again. Practice makes perfect. Love this one so much – getting better every day,’ she captioned the post
Dan Andrews (pictured with daughter Grace, 18) in April as he recovers from a serious back injury
Daniel Andrews issued this message to Victorians on social media on Wednesday night after weeks of silence
It is just the fourth social media post the Labor leader has appeared in since a serious fall in a holiday house in the Mornington Peninsula on March 9, in which he fell down the stairs and badly damaged his spine, and came after Daily Mail Australia questioned his failure to make a public statement during Victoria’s fourth lockdown.
The premier has been replaced by his deputy James Merlino to manage the latest outbreak, with his silence prompting conspiracy theories that suggest his fall wasn’t an accident, with some even claiming the image showing his recovery has been doctored.
Mr Andrews broke his long-awaited silence on Facebook on Wednesday night calling on Victorians to remain strong as they face another seven days in lockdown.
‘I have more scans and a meeting with my medical team next week. I’ll let you know how that goes and exactly when I’ll be back on deck later this month,’ he wrote.
Despite the theories of some online, Andrews suffered serious injures that required months of painstaking recovery.
He suffered at least five broken ribs and an acute compression fracture of the T7 vertebra in his spine, putting him on extended sick leave.
In his first public Facebook post since April, Mr Andrews also took the opportunity to ‘send a message to Victorians’.
Andrews was hospitalised on March 9 and spent 10 days in hospital. This is one of just two pictures the usually prominent politician has appeared in since the accident – with conspiracy theorists claiming it was photoshopped
Sidelined Premier Daniel Andrews posted a message to Facebook about his return to work after a serious fall
Victoria’s gruelling lockdown was extended because state officials warned the coronavirus outbreak could ‘explode’ if restrictions were to ease in Melbourne.
‘There will be no snapback,’ a government source told the Herald Sun.
There were five new cases reported on Saturday, bringing the cluster associated with the Indian double mutant strain to 70.
Restaurants and cafes outside Melbourne were ordered to check customers’ IDs when they reopen to ensure no one from the city sneaks out into regional towns, and a uniform QR code system has also finally been put in place.
Despite the dreaded lockdown extension, the travel limit for Melbournians for exercise and shopping will extend from 5km to 10km, but compulsory wearing of masks both indoors and outdoors will remain in place.
Victoria’s Chief health officer Brett Sutton hinted some of the restrictions could even stay in place beyond the next week.
A closer look at the message posted by Daniel Andrews on Wednesday as he recovers from a back injury
Sources revealed that Melbourne’s lockdown could continue for weeks to come (pictured, mates exercising on Wednesday)
That’s because Victoria are pursing an ‘aggressive suppression’ strategy, with the intent of bringing cases back down to zero.
‘We can’t have one or two cases out there and open back up to the kind of settings we had before,’ Prof Sutton said.
‘That’s what led one case from South Australia to lead to 60 cases and thousands of primary close contacts within a month.’
But with stay-at-home order costing the state about $150 million a day, according to KPMG modelling, and no JobKeeper subsidies in place, it remains unclear how vulnerable Victorians will be supported if the draconian measures continue.
The lockdown is the fourth for Victoria since the lockdown took hold in Australia.
Although the Gladys Berejiklian’s government has been reticent to introduce border closures or lockdowns, there are now fears the state may be forced to impose similar restrictions to Victoria
There are fears the outbreak may have spread to NSW after a family from Melbourne went on a roadtrip
In contrast, the NSW Government has been reticent to impose border restrictions or lockdowns even after it was discovered on Tuesday that a Victorian family who later tested positive for the virus went on 1,765km roadtrip across the state.
The man, his wife and their two children were some of Victoria’s six new locally acquired infections recorded on Wednesday.
Their trip prompted urgent Covid health alerts for numerous venues in NSW.
The family travelled from Melbourne across the NSW border to Jervis Bay, Hyams Beach, Vincentia and Goulburn while potentially infectious on May 23 and 24, just before the city was plunged into lockdown on May 27.
The father had some symptoms on May 25 after driving back to Melbourne on May 24, and tested positive on May 31 – almost a week later.
Last year, Victoria was shut down for 112 consecutive days as the state racket up 800 Covid deaths.
Acting Premier James Merlino announced an extension to the lockdown on Wednesday
An eerily empty Melbourne is seen on Wednesday (pictured) as the city faces another week in lockdown
On Wednesday Mr Merlino confirmed Victoria’s initial seven-day lockdown, sparked by a Covid cluster arising in May, would be extended for another week in the Melbourne area.
‘Just because we’ve had to do this before, doesn’t mean it’s easy to do again,’ Mr Andrews wrote.
‘Some of us will be tired. Some stressed. Some sick to the back teeth of this pandemic. Maybe a mix of all three.
‘But please know that every individual effort you made today, and everything you’ll do tomorrow and every day after will save lives.
‘Record tests, record vaccinations, record fight – we’re doing this to protect our communities, our state and the entire country. Be proud of what you’ve achieved and be proud of our state too. Keep fighting Victoria.’
Restaurants, pubs, and cafes in Melbourne can provide takeaway only but can open for dining in regional Victoria (pictured, a closed cafe in the city on Wednesday)
Before Dan Andrews slipped and suffered serious injury, he was one Australia’s most prominent politicians. But he’s only been seen TWICE since… and it’s fuelling sinister conspiracies about what REALLY happened
By Sam McPhee for Daily Mail Australia
Wild conspiracy theories have emerged about how Dan Andrews suffered his serious back injury that saw him temporarily step down as Victorian Premier.
Before the state Labor leader slipped down stairs at his holiday house on the Mornington Peninsula on March 9, breaking several ribs and suffering a badly damaged spine, he was one of the most prominent politicians in not just Victoria, but Australia.
The 48-year-old’s profile had grown exponentially after spending 112 days through Victoria’s lockdown doing a daily press briefing, which were broadcast live across the nation, amid the longest and harshest restrictions in the world as the state battled a second-wave Covid outbreak that killed more than 800.
But in the two months since handing over the reins to Acting Premier James Merlino, there have been just two social media posts since his fall – and it’s that lack of communication with the electorate that’s fuelling a number of false conspiracy theories about how he really suffered his injuries.
Dan Andrews pictured with his teenage daughter Grace on April 18 – the only picture of the Victorian Premier since he was discharged from hospital
The first post showed him stepping out of bed during his stay in hospital, while the second showed him at home with his teenage daughter Grace on April 18th.
And that’s it. All other media announcements have been on Twitter with text posts or through Mr Merlino.
But filling the void are the conspiracy theories that suggest his fall wasn’t an accident, but something more nefarious – with some even claiming the image showing his recovery has been doctored.
‘I heard you had your head bashed in by people after what you did to the people of Victoria. That is why you hired Photoshop artists to put your head on somebody else’s body,’ one person claimed on Andrews’ last Instagram photo.
‘This is also the reason we have not seen your actual face since the incident. We have not seen your actual hospital photos. And we haven’t heard you speak. Because you got your head bashed in.’
Wild conspiracy theories have emerged claiming Dan Andrews’ fall down the stairs of his holiday home actually occurred at a party – with claims the Victorian premier was pushed by those in attendance
Conspiracy theorists falsely allege a number of alternative causes to his injuries, one which claims the Belt and Road Deal his government signed with China – which has since been disbanded – angered Victorian businesses and led to someone acting out against him.
Others claim Andrews’ handing of the hotel quarantine to a private security company, which ended in a disastrous outbreak and prolonged lockdown in the second half of 2020, saw him become a target.
Other conspiracists even falsely claim Andrews was attacked at the party held by a prominent Australian businessman.
‘Start telling the truth as to why you were pushed when… you were at the party,’ one person replied to Andrews’ Instagram post.
‘How’s that Belt and Road Deal, Dan? Selling us out to the commies. Who pushed you down those stairs?’ another wrote.
Conspiracy theorists suggest that the Belt and Road Deal Andrews signed with China angered Victorian companies and could have played a role in his accident
There are several comments suggesting the image of Mr Andrews and his daughter is Photoshopped, claiming the black and white filter hides ‘inconsistencies’ like bruises.
However, in reality, Andrews’ suffered serious injures that require months of painstaking recovery. He suffered at least five broken ribs and an acute compression fracture of the T7 vertebra in his spine.
Since being released from hospital on March 15, he has been recovering at home.
‘I landed flat on my back and hit the steps hard directly below the shoulder blades fracturing at least five ribs and sustaining an acute compression fracture of the T7 vertebra,’ he said in a statement following the incident.
‘I narrowly avoided permanent damage to my spinal cord.’
RESTRICTIONS IN VICTORIA FROM 11.59PM ON JUNE 3
Changes will come in for all Victorians from 11.59pm on June 3, with rules relaxed in regional Victoria but few changes for Melbourne
Under the strict rules in Melbourne, there are a number of restrictions:
Stay-at-home order with just five reasons to leave the house:
– Shopping for necessary goods and services
– Going to work or permitted education
– Exercise with a two-hour limit
– Medical reasons and care giving
– Getting vaccinated
As well as this, there will be serious restrictions on people’s personal life, business, work and school:
– No visitors to your home other than an intimate partner. Single bubbles will be permitted. If you live alone, you can make a bubble with another person.
– 10km travel limit for exercise and shopping
– Compulsory masks indoors and outdoors unless in the home
– No public gatherings.
– Restaurants, pubs, and cafes can provide takeaway only.
– Essential retail, so supermarkets, food stores, petrol stations, banks, bottle shops and pharmacies, other retail stores can provide click and collect.
– Childcare and kinders will be open as per the last circuit breaker lockdown earlier this year.
– Approved professional sporting events will proceed but proceed without crowds.
– Schools are remote learning, except for vulnerable children, children of authorised workers, Year 11s and Year 12s
– Higher education will move to remote learning only.
– Community support and recreation, accommodation, but there will be some exemptions that apply.
– Hotels, clubs, TABs and the casino will be closed.
– Indoor and outdoor entertainment venues, swimming pools, spas, saunas, indoor and outdoor springs, community venues, drive in cinemas, amusements parks and arcades, creative studios, art galleries and museums, tourism, tours, and transport, and auctions can only happen online.
– Aged care facilities, no visitors except for limited reasons.
– In our hospitals, visitors only for end of life, to support a partner during birth, or a parent accompanying a child.
– In terms of ceremonies, funerals, a maximum of 10 people plus those running the service.
– Weddings cannot proceed unless end of life or deportation reasons apply.
– Religious activities will not proceed other than through broadcast with a maximum of five people.
For regional Victoria:
– Stay-at-home order removed
– No travel limit, but can only go to Melbourne for a permitted reasons (healthcare, emergencies etc)
– Outdoor gatherings can be 10 people
– Food and hospitality open for food only, max 50 people inside
– Retail and beauty open
– 10 at weddings and 50 at funerals