Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Kate Hawkesby: Sydney outbreak reminds us not to get too cocky over Covid


Quarantine free travel to and from Sydney is now paused. It remains to be seen whether Sydney itself will go into a lockdown.

But it raises the question of complacency.

Which we here should be very aware of too.

We have, for all intents and purposes, gone back to our normal daily routines and lives, we are enjoying our freedoms, and Covid here feels like a distant memory.

And we've taken our foot off the gas.

Bus passengers are not wearing masks as they're supposed to, a handful do, a big chunk don't.

Some bus drivers aren't even wearing them.

Taxi and Uber drivers are by and large not wearing masks.

Not that this necessarily will save us if the Delta variant arrives here, but it shows just how many 'rules' we've put in place to protect us, which are now simply being ignored.

As for scanning in, about this time last year we were peaking at around 2 million people signing in to the Covid tracer app.

Today? Barely any of us. 1 in 10, it's about as low as a couple of hundred thousand.

On top of that, our government's slow vaccine rollout is a problem.

Many aren't thinking it's a problem or don't care because they don't think it affects us as acutely, yet.

But if the Delta variant winds up here, I tell you what, people will start caring.

Not enough of our population is vaccinated to protect our most vulnerable, not enough of us would be safe from it.

And the possibility is always just one outbreak away.

Just one breach at the border, one MIQ mix up, or as is potentially the case today, one traveller.

Passengers on a flight to Wellington and back to Sydney last weekend have been identified as close contacts of a Covid case in New South Wales. The NSW Health Authority says anyone who was on those Qantas flights needs to get a test and self-isolate for 14 days.

So it's close enough to our backyard to infiltrate our backyard if we're not vigilant and we're not careful.

We are in the midst of winter colds season; our immunity can be low at this time, so it behoves us to do our best to stay healthy.

It's not to panic and say the writings on the wall; it's just to remember that for all our bullishness about how lucky and great we are as a country to have no Covid here, we can't be too cocky.

Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.

1 comment:

DeeM said...

Most people need a good reason to do something unusual that they find annoying and inconvenient. Asking them to wear masks at all times on public transport and check in every time they enter a public place when there have been no cases for some considerable time will generally meet with a poor response.
However, as soon as a new case(s) pops up, particularly in their town/city, then the reason returns and they reluctantly put their masks on again and start using the tracer app.
You could say that's shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted but that's human nature for you. It takes a long time to normalise practices, like wearing seatbelts or putting a bike helmet on.
And let's be honest - nobody in their right mind likes wearing a face mask so they'll avoid it if they can.