ONE of my great Christmas delights over the years has been to welcome my good friend Trevor Kavanagh and his Australian wife to my home village of Manly – seven miles from Sydney and from caregiving. one thousand miles.
It’s an interesting formula. The summer sun mixes with sand, surf, beer, wine, shrimp and stalls – a far cry from the mists, sleet and snow of England’s Christmas cards as you might imagine.
I know this is not news to many of you who have friends and lovers in Australia, as we have them in the UK, but we are indeed living in paradise.
For years, I’ve looked out at the sparkling blue Pacific from my window, loving the ever-changing waves, their crests glittering with white lilies like Trevor trying to surf.
But not now. Covid has once again ruined our Christmas party.
We are out of restrictions but families are still being torn apart by borders closed by stubborn state premiers. Packed travel plans and loved ones only seen on Zoom, a clever innovation but no substitute for a hug.
Australia had a rap bum during our long winter lockdown. We’ve been ridiculed for abandoning the laid-back, laid-back “she’ll be right, man” attitude in favor of strict bans on personal movement and interaction.
Our Covid quarantine facilities, originally set up to house illegal immigrants, have been likened to wartime prison camps and we have been mocked for following countless rules and regulations are applied as recommended by health officials.
These things are harsh and callous. State premiers have found new powers that a few years ago could not have been imagined. They have been ruthless and autocratic in their use – always for “medical advice” and to “keep our people safe”.
These are fig leaves to support policies to eradicate or contain the virus – lofty goals that have been largely successful, but short-sighted.
Now, most of Australia has abandoned repressive policies in favor of living with Covid. This new Australian Protocol is gaining worldwide attention and acclaim. The release policy was first promoted by Premier Dominic Perrottet of New South Wales and has now been absorbed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Our ScoMo and your BoJo are very similar.
ScoMoBoris’s hair is more tied up. But if you look below, there’s not much there.
They were both passionate men, fond of political exploration and lacking in policy rigor. They are conservative in every way except their actions.
ScoMo espouses the view that we should all be free to make our own choices, and he seeks to overturn the Prime Minister’s belief that we must be saved from ourselves – even if we must. locked up.
So now we can move freely with no curfew or travel restrictions. We are no longer barred from socializing at sporting events, we can drink while standing in bars and we can sing at weddings and dance as we please. This new policy enjoys wide public support, which may seem surprising since it stands in stark contrast to what was promoted and advocated, a year ago.
This is not to say that the old policies are wrong. It’s just that they’re not okay right now.
There are two main differences. The first is vaccination rates, with more than 90% of us double or triple vaccination.
The second, and most intriguing, difference is that our politicians have wrested decision-making from the medical professionals.
Of course there are risks. Omicron is on the rise, with daily cases in the thousands. But more seriously, only some people become so sick that they need to be hospitalized and, unlike your NHS, our intensive care facilities are barely required.
On Christmas Eve, Sydney had 5,600 new cases. But of those, only 35 went to the hospital and 3 went to the ICU. There is a dead person.
Living with Covid is more and more like living with the flu. If you achieve it, you will get over it and move on with your life.
So every day from Sydney, guys, I’m going to the beach.
- Mark Day is a former editor of The Australian, broadcaster and author.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/4344351/living-with-covid-flu-mark-day/ Living with Covid is like living with the flu