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How ‘Black Cab rapist’ John Worboys lured victims

Black cab rapist John Worboys preyed on lone females making their way home
Ex stripper was jailed in..

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  • Black cab rapist John Worboys preyed on lone females making their way home
  • Ex stripper was jailed in 2009 for drugging and sexually assaulting 12 women
  • But more than 100 women came forward to say he had assaulted them
  • Yesterday, it emerged Parole Board had cleared him for release, sparking outcry
  • His victims expressed disgust at decision saying it had left them 'very shaken'

By Thomas Burrows for MailOnline

Published: 02:28 EST, 5 January 2018 | Updated: 02:46 EST, 5 January 2018

Taxi driver John Worboys was jailed for raping and sexually assaulting passengers in 2009

Taxi driver John Worboys was jailed for raping and sexually assaulting passengers in 2009

Black cab rapist John Worboys preyed on lone females making their way home, luring them with offers of a safe ride before drugging them.

Worboys, a former stripper, was jailed in 2009 for drugging and sexually assaulting 12 passengers.

But more than 100 women came forward to say he had assaulted them – and police suspected him of more than 500 attacks.

At the time of his conviction, he was given an 'indeterminate' sentence – with a minimum term of eight years. It meant he could be kept in jail for as long as he posed a threat to the public.

But yesterday, it emerged the Parole Board had cleared him for release, deciding he no longer presented a risk.

The decision to release him from prison has sparked an outcry with campaigners saying it 'beggars belief'.

Worboys, 60, is likely to be back on the streets within weeks.

His victims expressed disgust at decision saying it had left them 'very shaken' and 'very upset.'

One of his victims, Carrie Symonds, was singled out as she waited for a night bus after an evening out on the King's Road in Chelsea in July 2007One of his victims, Carrie Symonds, was singled out as she waited for a night bus after an evening out on the King's Road in Chelsea in July 2007One of Worboys' rape kits, including alochol and cups he used to drug victimsOne of Worboys' rape kits, including alochol and cups he used to drug victims

Carrie Symonds (left) was singled out as she waited for a night bus in Chelsea in July 2007. Shown right, one of Worboys' rape kits, including alochol and cups he used to drug victims

Worboys was prosecuted for one rape and 11 sex assaults and drug charges at Croydon Crown Court in March 2009.

The amateur porn star had been stalking victims for 13 years since he started working as a London cabbie, officers believe.

He targeted lone females and claimed he had won thousands of pounds on the lottery or in a casino, showing them a bag of cash.

He would invite them to help celebrate, supplying champagne or vodka which he had spiked with a powerful prescription drug and an over-the-counter medicine, a cocktail that left the women so incapacitated he was able to rape and sexually assault them.

Police also found a 'rape kit' in the back of his taxi which including sleeping tablets, condoms, gloves and an ashtray he used to crush the drugs.

When they woke, many of the victims could not remember what had happened.

Worboys is a former porn actor and stripper who called himself Terry the MinderWorboys is a former porn actor and stripper who called himself Terry the MinderShown, the Hackney flat Worboys shared with his former wife Jean ClaytonShown, the Hackney flat Worboys shared with his former wife Jean Clayton

Worboys is a former porn actor and stripper who called himself Terry the Minder (left). Shown right, the Hackney flat Worboys shared with his former wife Jean Clayton

One victim came round to find Worboys raping her.

The next day day, the rapist put an envelope through her door containing £10 and a note wishing her a happy Christmas.

He took trophies from his victims, including a wristband from one and scribbled the names and addresses of several others in a notebook.

During the seven week trial, victim after victim told how they felt safe with the driver – who occasionally used the name Paul or Tony – because they were stepping into a registered black London taxi.

On several occasions he offered to drive a woman home for a fraction of the normal cost, or even for free, claiming he lived in their direction.

Most of the women were young professionals – lawyers, insurance brokers, office workers or journalists.

One victim was a new mother out celebrating for the first time with her friends.

Jean Clayton met Worboys in 1988 at a pub in Hackney, east London where he worked as a stripper. The pair married shortly after before splitting in 1995Jean Clayton met Worboys in 1988 at a pub in Hackney, east London where he worked as a stripper. The pair married shortly after before splitting in 1995

Jean Clayton met Worboys in 1988 at a pub in Hackney, east London where he worked as a stripper. The pair married shortly after before splitting in 1995

Carrie Symonds was 19 when Worboys spotted her waiting for a night bus after an evening out on the King's Road in Chelsea in July 2007.

Worboys offered to take the 20-year-old home to East Sheen six miles away.

She described how Worboys had boasted about winning a large sum of money from gambling.

She told the BBC in 2009: 'He then gave me a glass of champagne. There was always the slightest doubt this could be spiked so I had a sip but then poured the rest of it on to the floor.'

Ms Symonds, who is now director of communications for the Conservative Party, said Worboys stopped the cab and asked to join her in the back to celebrate his win.

She said: 'He seemed quite friendly. I didn't feel worried by him.'

He bet her £50 she could not drink a shot of vodka and said he would then take her home for free. She couldn't throw it away without him seeing, so drank it.

She recalled: 'I can't remember anything from that point onwards and that's what is so worrying. I believe he got in to the front of the cab and did drive me back then straight away. I feel that if I was assaulted I would instinctively know. That's what I hope. I can 99 per cent say nothing happened but to have that 1 per cent of doubt is terrifying.'

Police found a rape kit in the back of Worboys' taxi which including sleeping tablets, condoms and an ashtray he used to crush the drugs (top right) Police found a rape kit in the back of Worboys' taxi which including sleeping tablets, condoms and an ashtray he used to crush the drugs (top right) 

Police found a rape kit in the back of Worboys' taxi which including sleeping tablets, condoms and an ashtray he used to crush the drugs (top right)

Sarah Craigie encountered the evil of Worboys in May 2007 after she went to see a former boyfriend working as a DJ in a West End nightclub.

Walking near Leicester Square she was crying and 'in a bit of a state' when she came across a cab rank and Worboys asked if she needed a lift.

'I told him that I needed to get back to Dagenham but only had £30 on me and that would not be enough,' she recalled.

Sarah Craigie (pictured) encountered the evil of Worboys in May 2007Sarah Craigie (pictured) encountered the evil of Worboys in May 2007

Sarah Craigie (pictured) encountered the evil of Worboys in May 2007

'He said, 'Don't worry darling…I will get you home safe.'

Within five minutes of the journey starting, Worboys had asked her why she was crying and if she had a boyfriend.

Miss Craigie – who admits she was drunk – poured her heart out.

'It was then he said he had enjoyed a great day and had won thousands of pounds at the races,' she said.

'He asked me if I wanted to have a drink to celebrate. By that time I had really had enough alcohol but he offered me vodka, champagne, wine – he said he had anything I wanted to drink.

'I said I would have a soft drink and after a while he passed me a can of Coke. After that the journey became a blur. Within about 20 minutes I was feeling really nauseous and drowsy. I was just dizzy and feeling so out of it.'

Miss Craigie rang a friend who advised her to text her boyfriend. She remembers little else until she woke up somewhere near home.

'The driver said he needed to go to the toilet and he got out of the cab and was away for a few minutes,' she added.

Kathy Martin, who was Worboys' girlfriend at the time of the attacks said she was unaware of what he was doing in his taxi cabKathy Martin, who was Worboys' girlfriend at the time of the attacks said she was unaware of what he was doing in his taxi cabKathy Martin, who was Worboys' girlfriend at the time of the attacks said she was unaware of what he was doing in his taxi cabKathy Martin, who was Worboys' girlfriend at the time of the attacks said she was unaware of what he was doing in his taxi cab

Kathy Martin, who was Worboys' girlfriend at the time of the attacks said she was unaware of what he was doing in his taxi cab

'The next thing I remember was him being in the back of the taxi with me. He had a white plastic carrier bag full of cash – I have never seen so much money – and he was sipping champagne from a glass.

'He then came towards me – really close and I felt very intimidated and vulnerable.

'Worboys just kept on invading my personal space and it was then I then got angry.

'I shouted at him, 'This just isn't right – you should not be drinking. Just take me home.''

She recalled that Worboys then became aggressive and replied: 'Don't get out of your f***ing pram – I only wanted to celebrate my good fortune with you.'

He drove her home and Miss Craigie recalled her relief at seeing her boyfriend waiting outside her home. 'He literally pulled me out of the cab.'

Worboys drove off at speed. Miss Craigie believes the journey home, which should have lasted only 30 minutes, had taken two hours.

The decision not to pursue new charges and a therefore lengthier sentence for Worboys would have fallen to Kier Starmer, who served as Director of Public Prosecutions at the timeThe decision not to pursue new charges and a therefore lengthier sentence for Worboys would have fallen to Kier Starmer, who served as Director of Public Prosecutions at the time

The decision not to pursue new charges and a therefore lengthier sentence for Worboys would have fallen to Kier Starmer, who served as Director of Public Prosecutions at the time

Meanwhile Worboys' ex-wife, Jean Clayton, told The Sun he should 'never be let out'.

Ms Cooper said Worboys' crimes were 'the most appalling and vile' and there were 'serious questions' over the Parole Board's decision.

Carrie-Ann, the daughter of Worboys' ex-wife, added: 'I caught him spying and he tried to give me massages. He was creepy, conniving.

'He made our family's life a misery. I can't imagine what these women are feeling. Nine years and out isn't justice. It's awful.'

Another of Worboy's victims told the BBC they were completely unaware Worboys was due to be released.

One of Worboys' first victims, just 19 when drugged and molested in 2007, said last night: 'This decision is an utter mockery of everything that's happened to all of us.

'In 2009 I said it was pathetically lenient, and it is. It's a joke. Just thinking about him coming out is making me feel ill.'

The rapist's ex-wife Jean Clayton is pictured near her home in Yambol, BulgariaThe rapist's ex-wife Jean Clayton is pictured near her home in Yambol, BulgariaWorboys is pictured arriving at Sutton Magistrates Court ahead of a preliminary hearing into his rape trialWorboys is pictured arriving at Sutton Magistrates Court ahead of a preliminary hearing into his rape trial

The rapist's ex-wife Jean Clayton is pictured left, near her home in Yambol, Bulgaria. Right, Worboys arrives at Sutton Magistrates Court ahead of a preliminary hearing into his rape trial

How Labour's Starmer let him escape more charges

Sir Keir Starmer was facing serious questions last night over the decision not to prosecute John Worboys over dozens more sex attacks.

The Labour frontbencher was accused of ignoring scores of women who came forward after the taxi driver's conviction in March 2009. Sir Keir – now Shadow Brexit Secretary – was then the country's top prosecutor.

Worboys, a former stripper and porn actor, was convicted of attacking 12 women. He was jailed indefinitely after being found guilty of one rape and 11 sexual assaults. At the time of his conviction, 83 women had come forward with complaints against him. Another 19 have come forward since then.

But the Crown Prosecution Service declined to bring any more charges – despite Scotland Yard passing files on the cases to prosecutors. Instead the CPS ordered 'no further action' (NFA).

At the time, Sir Keir was head of the CPS as Director of Public Prosecutions. It is not known whether he was directly involved in the decision not to prosecute.

Last night, Sir Keir refused to comment on the row. It is understood that one reason for the NFA decision was that Worboys had been given an indefinite prison sentence by the judge at his trial.

But critics last night said that if he had been hauled back to court to face more charges and was found guilty, he might have been kept behind bars for longer.

Criticising Sir Keir, Conservative MP Priti Patel said: 'This is an appalling reflection on someone who is now a Labour shadow minister of their 'soft on crime' stance and lack of interest in wanting to prosecute horrendous crimes against women … because Worboys was in prison.'

A senior Whitehall source said: 'If Worboys had been ordered to stand trial for more attacks, it is possible he would have been convicted and given a longer sentence.'

At the time of Worboys' conviction, police said that 83 women had come forward with complaints against him.

Another 19 women have come forward since that time.

But police fear he may have attacked more than 500 women as he worked seven nights a week and was known to have targeted up to three women a night.

Despite this, the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute him with more offences.

Sir Keir Starmer, who was then director of public prosecutions, has been urged to explain why further allegations against Worboys were not looked into.

Conservative MP Priti Patel told the Mail: 'There are serious questions to answer as to why this was not taken further, why he failed to look into the allegations and why he failed to act.'

Sir Keir, now Labour's shadow Brexit secretary, has declined to comment.

It is not yet known if he was directly involved in the CPS's decision not to pursue further allegations.

The parole panel took the decision to release Worboys on Wednesday morning, but it emerged only yesterday.

Last night a Government insider said 'to say we are surprised is a massive understatement'.

Victims' rights campaigner Harry Fletcher said the move was 'extraordinary… however the authorities are under intense pressure to get out of prison these IPP prisoners who have passed their minimum sentence'.

Karen Ingala Smith of women's charity Nia said: 'He's served…just over a month per victim. How can we say justice has been served?'

Yvonne Traynor of Rape Crisis South London described the time Worboys spent in prison as 'woefully short'.

Yvette Cooper, of the Commons' home affairs committee, said it was a 'shocking decision' and 'deeply upsetting'.

Harriet Wistrich, a solicitor for two women who brought claims against police over failure to investigate Worboys, told Channel 4 News his victims were 'sick, disgusted and shocked to the core'.

He added: 'They've already been let down very badly by the criminal justice system. Neither of them had been informed.'

Fay Maxted, chief executive of The Survivors Trust, called Worboys' crimes 'calculated' and 'deliberate'.

She said: 'Naturally the victims are going to feel, I think cheated that he is being released … you think you're going to be safe when you're in a taxi, so it will be very frightening for his victims to know that he is being released.'

Sophie Walker, leader of the Women's Equality Party, said: 'The parole board may have satisfied itself that he can be prevented from ruining even more lives, but that will come as little comfort to the more than 100 women who he is thought to have attacked.'

Sarah Green, from the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said: 'The decision to release John Worboys beggars belief. It is likely to be the product of a justice system and a society that cannot and perhaps will not deal with rape.'

It emerged last night that only four of his victims had been contacted beforehand of the parole decision as they had signed up to the victim contact scheme.

A report published after his conviction found there was a 'mindset' among police that the driver of a black cab was unlikely to be responsible for a sex attack.

The paper by the Independent Police Complaints Commission discovered a catalogue of missed opportunities, errors of judgment and failures by Scotland Yard had left Worboys free to prey on women.

Two of Worboys' victims would go on to win human rights cases in the High Court against the Metropolitan Police in 2014.

The pair – known as DSD and NBV – claimed there had been serious failures in the investigation which led to Worboys to avoid detection and re-offend.

Worboys was first arrested in July 2007 after a 19-year-old student reported a sex attack in South-East London. Officers traced him using CCTV.

But instead of turning up at his house unannounced, they arrested him by appointment – giving him the opportunity to get rid of evidence such as his 'rape kit', which contained drugs and drinks.

Police also failed to search his home and taxi. The investigation was later dropped by senior officers.

He gave me vodka… I'm sure it was spiked: Worboys victim speaks out

Carrie Symonds believes that Worboys spiked her drink in 2007Carrie Symonds believes that Worboys spiked her drink in 2007

Carrie Symonds believes that Worboys spiked her drink in 2007

Carrie Symonds was waiting for a night bus after an evening out in Chelsea in 2007 when she was approached by Worboys, who offered to take her home in his cab.

Tipsy after several drinks, the 19-year-old accepted his lift back to East Sheen in west London, six miles away. On the journey Worboys, who appeared 'friendly and very genuine', persuaded her to drink a glass of vodka.

The next memory Miss Symonds had was waking up at 3pm the next day after being violently sick and passing out in the bath at home. She thought her drink must have been spiked but had so little recollection of what happened that she did not report the incident until February 2008, when police made a public appeal for victims.

Miss Symonds, who waived her right to anonymity, said previously: 'I'll never be able to get in a black cab again…it is terrifying to think what might have happened to me. I think I would instinctively know if I had been sexually assaulted and I'm 99 per cent sure I was not, but that 1 per cent of doubt is always there.'

Miss Symonds was one of 14 women who gave evidence against Worboys in court.

She said: 'He offered me a cigarette which I accepted … he told me he'd won a lot of money and showed me stacks of cash. I thought the conversation was seedy but … I wasn't too worried. I just thought he was weird.'

Worboys offered her champagne but she poured it on the floor. She downed the vodka only after he promised to pay her £50 and give her the lift home for free. She added: 'He puts you in a position where you feel indebted to him … He's a professional conman.'

Bungling police who didn't believe black cabbie could carry out crimes

A victim of Worboys called for police officers who laughed at her and left her feeling like a criminal to be sacked following his conviction.

The former Greenwich University student, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was attacked in the back of Worboys's black cab in July 2007.

She passed out after drinking spiked champagne and being forced to swallow pills. The woman cannot remember any of her ordeal as she travelled from a Covent Garden party to her New Eltham digs.

She spoke after a damning report found a series of appalling police blunders left Worboys free to attack dozens of women.

Police found a 'rape kit' in the back of his taxi which including sleeping tablets, condoms and glovesPolice found a 'rape kit' in the back of his taxi which including sleeping tablets, condoms and gloves

Police found a 'rape kit' in the back of his taxi which including sleeping tablets, condoms and gloves

The report found there was a 'mindset' among police that the driver of a black cab was unlikely to be responsible for a sex attack.

A paper by the Independent Police Complaints Commission also found a catalogue of missed opportunities, errors of judgment and failures by Scotland Yard left Worboys free to prey on women.

The woman said two officers 'just laughed' at her when she told them.

She said the uniformed officers were 'intimidating' and 'patronising' and did not take her seriously as they delayed taking her statement and were late collecting CCTV.

Sarah Craigie (pictured) encountered the evil of Worboys in May 2007Sarah Craigie (pictured) encountered the evil of Worboys in May 2007

Sarah Craigie (pictured) encountered the evil of Worboys in May 2007

The woman added police could have stopped Worboys 'a very long time ago' if officers had 'done their job better'.

She said she was also poorly treated by a specialist sexual offences investigative techniques officer who gave her false information about the progress of the case.

Two crucial opportunities to stop him sooner were missed – in 2003 when a key witness was not interviewed and in July 2007 when his arrest was bungled, his taxi was not searched and he was allowed to go free.

The IPCC report said seven women were attacked between July 2007 when he was first arrested and February 2008 when he was finally caught.

But police estimate that Worboys, who was known to attack up to three women per night, could have attacked 40 victims in that period.

The watchdog found detectives refused to believe victims and one woman said she was laughed at, intimidated and 'made to feel like a criminal' when she reported the attack.

Five officers have now been disciplined, but no one has been sacked over the botched inquiry.

Instead they received written warnings and 'words of advice' to the outrage of victims who say scores of lives have been ruined unnecessarily.

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Australia

Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms

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The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.

The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.

All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.

It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.

British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.

The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.

The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.

It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.

“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.

“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”

The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.

It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128

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Australia

Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official

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Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.

The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.

Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.

Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.

“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.

Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”

However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.

Australia’s tight restrictions

The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.

Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.

A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.

Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.

Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.

Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.

Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.

The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.

While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.

Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.

In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581

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Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection

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The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.

Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.

Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.

It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.

The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.

Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”

“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.

“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”

Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.

Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.

For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.

Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.

A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.

Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane

Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane

At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.

When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.

Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.

While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.

But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.

And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.

And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836

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