The Third Article
It’s been eight weeks since I wrote an article entitled ’Melbourne Lockdown Mk2’. Researching e-waste recycling led me to Melburnian, Savvas Aidonopoulos, a manager for an organisation dedicated to reclaiming and recycling e-waste.
Covid had largely retreated from our thoughts. Both our countries were doing well, and there was talk of a combined New Zealand/Australia bubble. Less than a week after our first conversation, Melbourne experienced a Covid spike, and a mild form of lock-down was imposed.
I saved the recycling article to a file, and instead reported on life behind the border control.
One month rolled by and the Melbourne lock-down had been hardened but remarkably, still allowed malls to stay open. Daily cases rose to 750, and the lock-down was hardened again. That brings us to now. There is still one and a half weeks to run on the proposed six-week level four lockdown. A few days ago there was a glimmer of hope as daily cases drop to 70. However, the following day they rose to 90 then 115 new cases. Yesterday there were 81 cases.
What had been, for some, a novel adventure, is now a grinding ordeal.
Why us? Melburnians ask. The likely answer is lax control of quarantine facilities, just as it has been with our mini-resurgence. Like us, Victoria used private security firms to police facilities, and just like us, the firms haven’t been up to the task. It is believed that most of the Melbourne cases stem from two quarantine hotels, and that security people carried the virus into the community. Whether or not Victoria was more lax than any other Australian state, or territory or New Zealand is hard to say, but Victoria has certainly been punished most severely.
When last I spoke to Savvas, his wife and eldest daughter were doing a video yoga class. His youngest daughter was working on an assignment on her computer, and Savvas was about to link up via Zoom with his colleagues.
In short, nothing had changed since my first article eight weeks ago. Nothing except eight weeks ago Savvas was upbeat, positive and believing that as long as everyone did the right thing, Melbourne would get back to normal and everyone could get back to work. Now he despairs. Every day that goes by, Australia is slipping further into recession. It will take a long time to recover.