The State had essentially relaxed ways to proactively enforce some of the measures which were in place until 15 December. In fact, from the start of December.
The Premier seems to have disappeared from mainstream view, there just seemed to be a clear lack of leadership. We have suffered from the poor judgement and leadership at times from Canberra, but we expect more from our state, being closer to the people on the ground.
Labelling 15 December as “Freedom Day,” was not appropriate. It set false expectations and was like a red rag to a bull as people falsely believed everything was fine.
Months ago, we know that the state punished Western Sydney minus a chunk of LNP Minister Stuart Ayres’ Penrith electorate. Surprisingly COVID doesn’t travel across all parts of an electorate held by a conservative Minister.
Must be wary of the quarantine. Oh wait! Quarantine, our Hawaii loving PM and L Plate Premier somehow decided to do away with even a basic several days facility/hotel quarantine.
Modelling from the Doherty Institute shows that cases would be high if we relaxed all restrictions. Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant and State Health Minister Brad Hazard were aware of this, but it doesn’t appear the Premier or PM were listening to them without hearing aids.
As expected, we reached 6200 cases overnight. Yesterday, testing sites closed early except for a few. As I did the rounds like a yo-yo and was even turned away at 11:57 am at one site, another had shut at 11:50 am.
Two days earlier, I had another test as a raft of my friends have now picked up COVID. I thought it was two hours wait time, however, the staff at the entry and exit points said, “mate you were about two hours. You are easy to spot in a Bulldogs mask and a scooter!”
Earlier this month I called for some basic measures that our government should implement. Obviously, no more lockdowns, and we can avoid this still if we do the following pre-emptively, not just reactively, days and weeks later. I would suggest:
- Masking indoors should not end, encourage at some outdoor places
- Major events beyond 25 per cent capacity should not happen for the immediate future
- Promote social distancing especially when lining up
- Check ins should never ever have been scrapped, its an unbelievable decision when the Premier initially relaxed it. Contact tracers do a good job and its a huge tool to stop the spread
- Minimum three day quarantine for all international arrivals
- The floor space ratio should not have been scrapped. The Premier now needs to find ways to bring transition to 4:1 to give businesses more space than the 2:1 rule
- Consider drafting in leadership that wants to deal with the virus to prevent the overwhelming of our hospital systems
- Create more testing sites
In addition, workers who can undertake tasks from home, should be encouraged to do this over the next two years. Businesses who unnecessarily force staff to come in should be offered a carrot and stick approach. I know accountants and architects who work as silos and can their work from home, being pressured to go into work.
Yesterday and today 80 flights by Jetstar were cancelled I believe. I feel for all those who won’t see their families this Xmas and the business lost by cancellations. I don’t want to harp or say I’m vindicated but when leaders are poor this is what you get.
From early December all the media and government was obsessed by was hitting vaccine targets when we all know it will only stop deaths and lower hospitalisation but won’t stop the spread overall.
The seven basic points I outlined from masks to distancing would have made a huge difference but since early December there’s been no enforcement. There’s a reason why these tools worked before, and will work again.
No, I don’t agree with further lockdowns, period. Let’s help get this under control in other ways.
Billy Cotsis is a presenter at MerakiTV, Foxtel, and feature writer for Neos Kosmos. Find out more at www.herculean.wordpress.com