Melbourne Lock Down Three Weeks On

Remember when we were unsure whether we could eliminate Covid 19?

Remember when we wondered if the level four lock-down was a bit over the top?

Remember feeling slightly irked when the level four lock-down was extended by four days to include another weekend? 

I remember thinking I could hardly wait for the wisdom of hindsight.  I now have the answers to the things I wondered about.  The consequences of a different approach are on display across the ditch in the state of Victoria and in particular, Melbourne.

In my last newsletter I reported on an interview with Melbourne resident, Savvas Aldonopoulos,  I have got to know by phone and email.  Three weeks ago, when Melbourne’s six-week (intended) mark-two lockdown had just started, he was chipper and buoyed by the fact that his home situation was better than most.  He had family, creative work, and a belief that everyone did the right thing, Covid would be conquered and life would return to normal.  Why shouldn’t it?  That’s what happened in New Zealand.

Today when I spoke to Savvas he wasn’t feeling at all chipper.  Victoria had just had their worst day ever: 723 new cases.  New Zealand’s worst day was 89.  The population of Victoria is 6.5 million.  The population of New Zealand is 5 million.

Lockdown two is grinding Melburnians down, and the main reason is that it hard to see an end.  Rather than progress, Covid seems to be winning.  Particularly disturbing is that steps to stem the virus are being undermined by fellow citizens.  Savvas charitably refers to these people as ill informed.

I tuned into Australian television to get a broader perspective and was brought up short by the statement that the Victorian government is considering a New Zealand style lockdown.  In Melbourne, I thought they already had a hard lockdown, but Savvas told me that the malls are still open, and this, in his view, defies all logic.

Though the current crisis is more acute than the first wave, people are taking it less seriously.  Downtown pedestrian counts are higher, and there’s an  American style defiance by people who believe that the restrictions deny them their constitutional rights. 

Their right to put everyone else in danger.

As I said to Savvas, I feel a bit guilty being a citizen of possibly the only country where we can safely shake hands and hug.  Afterwards I thought I’d better check my facts.  It turns out that Iceland, Ireland, Norway, and Thailand have also achieved similar success.  Checkout this link: https://www.endcoronavirus.org/countries

One thing, however, is for sure; Covid is an evil genie that will quickly erase all our gains if let loose again.  It’s still running riot in more countries than not.

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