The Victorian premier has slapped down calls for the state to do away with daylight saving during the lockdown.
A health professional pushing for daylight saving to be cancelled points to a growing body of research suggesting there are harmful health and economic disruptions associated with the twice annual changing of the clocks.
Professor of diabetes at Melbourne’s Monash University, Paul Zimmet, said this summer could be particularly important to scrap the light-saving measure.
Speaking to 3AW on Wednesday morning, he said the Victorian health department needed to consider the negative impacts of the upcoming change for those already dealing with lockdown restrictions.
“In terms of the scientific evidence, which we will want to stick with at the moment, there are more heart attacks just after daylight savings, more road accidents, and then you’ve got workplace accidents, car accidents and their implications,” he said.
A Michigan Medicine study in the US in 2017 found both a 22 per cent increase in people having heart attacks the day after daylight saving started in the state, and a 21 per cent decrease the day after daylight saving ended.
“There is also cognitive dysfunction in relation to the... change in timing to our normal body rhythms,” Prof Zimmet said.
He acknowledged “this is an international scientific debate at the moment”, pointing to the European Union which has decided to scrap daylight saving time from 2021.
When asked by a reporter on Wednesday morning, Daniel Andrews was quick to dismiss the idea.
“I don't want to be disrespectful to the professor, who may be a very learned individual.
“No,” he said. “Daylight saving will be proceeding.
“That's why the curfew changes, that extra hour is really important, well ahead of daylight saving,” he said, referring to the fact that Melbourne’s curfew was recently changed from 8pm to 9pm.
‘A summer like no other’, Victoria premier says
Among some laughter from the press pack, Mr Andrews used the moment to implore Melburnians to stay the course with Stage 4 restrictions as the days get longer.
“Your question gives me an opportunity to make a point that those extra hours of daylight and hopefully good weather over summer ... it will be a summer like no other. If we stay the course we'll be able to get close to normal,” he said.
“People will be able to go out and enjoy the city, enjoy the state, enjoy being back at work, enjoy a sense of confidence as they go into 2021.
“And you know what they'll enjoy most? They'll enjoy the fundamental truth that all that they've given, all that they've done counted for something. It wasn't frittered away.
“It wasn't because pressure came and a bad decision was made, the wrong decision was made. We've got to avoid that. This will be a summer like no other and daylight saving, I can confirm, will be a feature of it.”
Daylight saving time will come into effect at 2am on October 4, with residents in NSW, the ACT, Victoria South Australia and Tasmania turning their clocks forward by one hour.
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