While the world moves on, Australians remain locked up with little hope.
Australians haven’t been let out of their kennel for so long most of us don’t realise the rest of the world is moving on from Covid-19. Here in Fortress Australia we can’t seem to cope with even a small number of cases. This week, the Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian, called the outbreak a ‘national emergency’, despite a mere 1,700 active cases and only 5 deaths this year.
The British Grand Prix for Formula 1 last weekend showed the clear contrast between our countries. Not only did fans fill the stadiums at Silverstone, but they came vaccinated and unmasked. Meanwhile in Australia, we cancelled our GP altogether and three of our largest cities are in complete militaristic lockdowns.
In Sydney weddings are outlawed and funerals severely limited. Masks are required whenever people gather, even outside. Residents must stay at home with a few exceptions such as getting food. Even then, only one person per household is allowed to go out. The NSW government has started sealing suburbs with Covid cases, refusing to allow residents to leave for any reason.
South Australia recently joined in the lockdown paranoia. But the state has gone a step further and incarcerated hundreds in medi-hotels for dining at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Victoria just recorded another 14 cases, apparently enough to ‘justify’ a continued lockdown. The Premier, Dan Andrews, refuses to give residents any information on a possible end date. Instead they have put a “ring of steel”, though copper would be a better analogy with police actively stopping Sydney residents from entering Victoria.
As lockdowns continue to extend, most of us have little hope of getting back to normal before the end of winter. Australians are exhausted.
We are scared (though some of us are more afraid of the police than the virus). And now policymakers are discussing bringing in the military.
State governments have given police the power to enter homes without warrants in order to enforce public health rules. One poor bloke was caught hiding behind a shower curtain after a neighbour dobbed him in for visiting his mate.
Rule violations could lead to $2000 on-the-spot fines for individuals and $10,000 fines for businesses. Aussies are afraid to so much as sneeze (or cough) which could yield a $5000 fine.
Unlike the rest of the world, Australians have not had the opportunity to develop any immunity. By choosing an elimination strategy and closing the border, policymakers left Aussies entirely vulnerable to new virulent strains of the virus. Zero cases means zero antibodies, and we are paying the price now.
But instead of taking responsibility, politicians are blaming the people for the spread, accusing us of not following the rules or refusing to get vaccinated. Prime Minister Scott Morrison stands up at press conferences and reprimands the public for each new outbreak instead of recognising that the system, not the people, are the problem.
Politicians in every state have lectured Australians about getting vaccinated. The federal government even released a video showing a young female actor hyperventilating in an ICU in an attempt to scare people into getting the jab.
Yet, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has failed to approve Moderna or Novax and isn’t even considering Johnson & Johnson, vaccines used to immunize millions of people across the world.
The supply shortage, not the obstinance of the Australian people, has led to the lowest vaccination rate in the OECD.
To make the situation worse, government officials are attempting to convince young Australians to use the AstraZeneca vaccine despite the health warnings. The PM, a politician with zero medical credentials, has even called on medical bodies to change their recommendations to include younger people.
Ironically we have had just as many deaths this year from people taking the vaccine despite the medical advice as we have had from COVID. Those dying from the vaccine tend to be in their forties, not their eighties and nineties. This has inspired fear, distrust of the government, and vaccine hesitancy.
The myth that vaccines don’t protect the public from the virus has begun to run rampant. For our Australian overlords it seems, 90 per cent immunity for Pfizer and 82 per cent for AstraZeneca isn’t enough to relax restrictions. Even the fully vaccinated face quarantines, mask mandates, lockdowns, and fines. For those worried about the vaccine, this is just one more reason not to vaccinate.
Karens and virtue signallers on Twitter seem to still revel in the righteous glory of lockdowns. Politicians simply want to be able to say, “I did everything in my power to stop Covid,” when re-election season comes around. Everyone else is less impressed.
Quiet, hard-working, ordinary Australians are getting tired of the nonsense. Too many people have lost their jobs. Too many people have powerlessly watched their businesses go under. Too many kids have missed too much school.
Some have even begun to murmur about leaving Australia for good. One of my friends already has.
The Australian Liberal Democratic party has started to receive unprecedented support thanks to their anti-lockdown stance. People are fleeing the party of restrictions for a party that recognises the suffering lockdowns cause.
Things aren’t so sunny in Sydney (or Australia for that matter). We remain locked in our homes waiting for our politicians to start using reason, not fear, to make decisions.
This article first appeared in 1828UK on 23 July 2021.