by WorldTribune Staff, September 13, 2021
You may only exercise outdoors 1 hour per day. Those out and about can be fined for stopping to talk to their neighbors. Inhabitants are not allowed to travel more than 5 kilometers from their home.
Soldiers and police are going door-to-door to ensure people who have tested positive are isolating. They are also patrolling the streets and handing out $500 fines to anyone caught not wearing a face mask.
Welcome to (lock)down under.
For those who are actually permitted to visit Australia, and are willing to undergo the required 14-day quarantine upon arrival, the following tourism ad sums up 2021:
Australian blogger Arthur Chrenkoff noted:
The success in suppressing Covid comes with other price tags. The single-minded obsession that no one get sick and die from Covid is being paid for by a slowly unfolding mental-health crisis. Social isolation and dislocation are taking their toll in terms of rising suicide, depression, substance abuse, and domestic violence. Physical health suffers, too, as treatable conditions don’t get treated in the health system that now seems to have only one goal.
How long can this last? If it was up to the drunk-on-power politicians and bureaucrats who have found a winning electoral formula, health experts who have found relevance, and the deathly scared who have found a sense of safety (and, for some at least, the frisson of being a part of something big and important), the answer is “forever.” Which is why the federal government—belatedly trying to orchestrate a return to some normalcy once certain vaccination levels are reached—finds its efforts contradicted by state governments and health experts arguing that the vaccination target actually needs to be (the unreachable and unrealistic) 90 percent or 95 percent, that lockdowns should continue even with a highly vaccinated population, and that international borders should stay closed indefinitely. That this is not great marketing—get vaccinated, but you still won’t be able to do anything!—needs no genius to recognize. Sadly, little evidence has materialized of any major shift in public sentiment. The powers that be still find it easy to taint the opposition to their “zero Covid” policies as callous, anti-science, anti-vax, right-wing extremists.
Will people finally start getting restless as the rest of the developed world slowly returns to normal? Here’s wishing. For now, Australia remains a salutary lesson—an example of what can happen when an easily isolated population is subjected to a relentless scare campaign that plays to existing prejudices and exploits popular innumeracy and lack of critical thinking. The land Down Under is now a Galapagos archipelago of fear, on its own evolutionary path to a utopia where no one ever dies (but terms and conditions apply). Like the Galapagos tortoise, too, the solution is to withdraw inside its shell—but let’s hope it’s not for 150 years.