Melbourne Lockdown Mk2

Melbourne.  July 2020

Earlier this week I was working on an article about recycling e-waste.  That led me to Melbourne resident, Savvas  Aidonopoulos, the communications manager for an organisation called Australia New Zealand Recycling Platform (ANZRP). That’s a bit of a mouth full, but don’t worry about committing it to memory, because an article about e-waste recycling can wait until next month.  In this month’s article I’m writing about life in a city re-engaged in a battled with Covid-19.

In the short time I have known Savvas, he has gone from mounting concern at resurgent Covid-19 to living in hard lockdown.

Savvas is in a bubble with three others; his wife and two adult children.  All are able to continue working as normal by internet.  Savvas’s wife is an account manager for a large company, while the two kids are university students.  Each, with their own computer, work in their own area of the house, and then regroup at the end of the day for dinner, and usual things people do.

This second lock-down has wrought the same panic buying as mark one.  The toilet paper aisle has been stripped bare.  Other favourites are pasta, rice and flour.

Of the five million locked-down inhabitants, Savvas, and his family are fortunate to be able to continue doing creative work, also they are socially self-sufficient.  For many other, the return to lock-down will be dreadful.  The organisation he works for, has fourteen employees, many younger than Savvas.  Mental health can be a casualty also in this bid to protect physical health.  Twice a day Savvas and his colleagues link up to keep the business moving forward, but with the side benefit of social contact.

This second lock-down is a bitter pill to swallow, and other places in the world that have shown that they’re not prepared to take the sour medicine.  Savvas describes Covid-19 as a dreadful disease, highly contagious, with possible long-term effects on the nervous system, and scarring on the lungs.  Savvas says he’s “happy to live in a country where the government is prepared to put people above profit.  Profit can be recreated, whereas with people it’s a generational proposition”. 

His current reality is wearing surgical gloves, and a face mask when he ventures out for essentials.  This second lockdown is more unequivocal than the last.  Police that are not guarding the borders are patrolling the streets. Had this unfolded in a movie, he would regard it as implausible.

 Our level four lock-down lasted less than five weeks.  The Mark Two Melbourne lock-down is for six.  We are so fortunate in New Zealand.  Uniquely fortunate.  We can attribute this to both good management, and good luck.  It’s relatively easy to secure your borders when you’re an island nation with at least a thousand kilometres of ocean separating you from the nearest continent.  The wisdom of hindsight will show that we have got off very lightly.

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