A repeated line about the covid-19 pandemic from Dan Andrews and his senior Ministers during their daily press briefings is ‘this is not over’. I can assure them that most Victorians are aware that the Andrews Government is not done with its repeated police state lockdown strategy in response to new outbreaks. This is of course all based on public health advice we are told which is kept largely secret from the public.
Tomorrow Metropolitan Melbourne moves from lockdown to strict restriction. Although the public health orders will state you can now leave your home for any reason you cannot travel more than 25km from home, must wear a mask when leaving home, and cannot have visitors to your home. Melburnians also remain locked out of every other state and territory plus New Zealand.
This lockdown lite will be the third week of strict restrictions for Melbournians. There is no guarantee that lockdown lite will be lifted by next Friday with 4 unlinked cases in the northern suburb of Resivor being detected overnight. Then there are the Victorian escapees on the Sunshine Coast who tested positive who came from the Western suburb of Melton. The original extension of Melbourne lockdown was justified because a new Delta strain of the virus emerging a Noth Melbourne primary school which has been linked to a returned Sri Lankan traveler from Melbourne hotel quarantine.
The Andrews Government has said that lockdowns will continue to be a response until herd immunity is reached with vaccinations in the state reaching around 70%. They also hope that the new quarantine camp to be built at Avalon Airport during the second half of the year will eliminate the risk of further quarantine leaks. QR codes have now been mandated for visits to supermarkets, retail shops, takeaway outlets, and offices.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced last week that vaccination certificates will soon be accessible from the Federal Government’s MyGov and MediCare express smartphone apps so that vaccinated Australians can show them to any authority that demands them.
Melburnians’ mental health has deteriorated again during this fourth lockdown, it never gets any easier but in fact, they reopen all the trauma we endured from the extended 4-month lockdown of 2020. Families are again separated, children denied education and recreation, business operators and their employees cannot work again. Businesses such as gyms still remain closed.
This Queen’s Birthday long weekend Melbourians will only be allowed to meet others within a 25km radius from their home either in a group of 10 in public outdoors or at a hospitality venue. You can guarantee that Victoria Police will continue to aggressively enforce lockdown lite including another round of threatening letters hand-delivered to known anti-lockdown activists on Friday night from Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius warning them to stay away from the CBD or risk a fine or incitement charge. Anti-lockdown activists Nick Patterson and Pastor Paul Furlong are still being remanded in custody.
Nobody knows (not even the state’s faceless decision-makers) knows how long until Victoria will eventually ‘snap-back’ to the covid-normal environment we were living under before the Kappa outbreak in the city of Whittlesea triggered this lockdown. We certainly won’t be going back to anything resembling the pre-covid anytime soon (maybe never) as wherever you go you will demand either QR code check-ins and or digital vaccine certificates.