2020 was a year full of unfortunate events, disasters and world-changing events that affected almost every person around the world. Here in Australia we were no exception. We suffered devastating bushfires that ravaged much of the east coast of our country in January. On the first of March, Australia recorded its first death due to COVID-19. As March progressed and COVID-19 cases increased, more and more restrictions were introduced nationwide and the financial and economic effects of these became more and more apparent.
As of 6 April 2020 at least 12 deaths and more than 700 cases of coronavirus in Australia occur and are linked to the cruise ship Ruby Princess, which disembarked passengers in Sydney despite several of them, and some crew, showing symptoms of coronavirus. Much of the country enters into lockdown measures in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.
In early July, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Melbourne and nearby Shire of Mitchell reintroduce stage three restrictions for at least six weeks after a surge in coronavirus case numbers with the majority of new cases stemming from community transmission. All other states and territories introduce strict quarantine measures or deny entry for any incoming travellers who have recently visited Victoria. The border between New South Wales and Victoria is closed for the first time since the 1918–19 Spanish flu pandemic, after an increase in COVID-19 cases in Melbourne.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and escalating numbers of infection rates, especially in the workplace, Victoria declares a state of disaster and stage four restrictions are put in place on 2 August . This included a police-enforced curfew in metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire between 8 pm and 5 am, the shutdown of a number of non-essential businesses, exercise only allowed for one hour a day and only one person per household allowed to go shopping once a day and within a 5 km radius of home. As a consequence of rising infection numbers imported from metropolitan Melbourne all other areas of regional Victoria are to enter stage three restrictions previously placed on Melbourne and Mitchell Shire on 5 August.
On 2 September the Australian economy went into recession for the first time in nearly thirty years, as the country's GDP fell 7 per cent in the June quarter.
The Australian Defence Force released on 19 November the final report of the inquiry by Justice Paul Brereton into alleged war crimes during the War in Afghanistan. The inquiry found there was credible evidence of 23 incidents of unlawful killings and a further two instances of the war crime of "cruel treatment". The inquiry also found that Australian soldiers summarily executed non-combatants and prisoners.
On 18 December the 2020 Sydney to Hobart yacht race race was cancelled for the first time in its history due to an outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Sydney New South Wales. On 19 December, in response to a coronavirus outbreak in the Northern Beaches area of Sydney, all other states and territories close their borders to all residents of greater Sydney, throwing interstate travel plans into chaos for those intent on visiting or leaving greater Sydney.
On 21 December, the final report from the inquiry into Victoria's botched coronavirus hotel quarantine program which led to a second wave of coronavirus in Victoria and over 800 deaths was released. The report is unable to determine who commissioned the use of private security and criticises the Andrews Government for failing to do "proper analysis" of the plan.
On 21 December, Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets of the solar system, appeared in a rare "great conjunction". The two planets' proximity in the sky in 2020 hasn't happened in about 400 years, and it hasn't been visible in the evening sky (when the sunlight doesn't obstruct viewing) in about 800 years.
As the world begins to vaccinate widely against COVID-19 in December, there is mounting hope that 2021 will see the pandemic recede and the world may then begin to go back into some semblance of normality.
This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.