While Europe and the United States have left the lockdowns behind, Australians are once again confronted with far-reaching restrictions. Sydney has been in lockdown for five weeks and the end is not in sight yet. Even the Australian Army is deployed to help enforce the stringent measures.
Three hundred Australian Army soldiers are ready to go by the door to people in a number of districts in western Sydney city. They check that people adhere to the stringent measures that a coronavirus delta variant outbreak should be controlled. According to police minister David Littleproud, military deployment is needed because “people think the rules don‘t apply to them,” reports public broadcaster ABC.
Critics point out that people in these poorer neighborhoods are being disproportionately dealt with. The residents of the neighborhoods often have a migration background and do lower skilled work. The lockdown has serious financial consequences, as they usually cannot do their work from home.
“Intimidating and Unnecessary”
Rough guns like the military to enforce the measures is intimidating and unnecessary, local drivers say. The mayor of one of the neighborhoods, Steve Christou, says it’s a sign that the state government has completely lost control. “The military should have been there to help with the distribution of the vaccines, or delivery of food packages. Not to be used against the population,” he says to the ABC.
The pruning measures are introduced while the number of infections is almost negligible compared to the Dutch figures. 170 new infections have been reported today, compared to more than 4,500 in the Netherlands yesterday. In total, around 3,000 infections have been detected across Australia since this outbreak began in June. Nine people have since died of the effects of the virus.
At the moment, only about 14 percent of the Australian population is fully protected from the virus. This gives the country the lowest rate of vaccination in the Western world. How come Down Under is so far behind?
Australia‘s zero-tolerance policy is at odds with policies in the rest of the world. While trying to control the virus in the Netherlands, the Australian government strives to eradicate it completely. Every contamination is one too many. The fact that it is an island and can rigorously guard its borders helps to do so. Immediately in March 2020, the government threw borders. The population has to be in lockdown by a handful of cases. Thanks to this rigorous approach, Australia has had a quiet period of time.
The downside is that the vaccination campaign has slowly started. Scott Morrison’s conservative government has not been in a hurry to buy vaccines. He regularly explained that carrying out the vaccination campaign is ‘no competition’.
The country has sufficient Astrazeneca vaccines, but due to contradictory advice, population willingness is low. Initially, the vaccine was not recommended in people under 60 years of age. But because of the ongoing crisis, everyone is now called on to be invented with AstraZeneca. More supplies of the Pfizer vaccine are eagerly awaited, but it does not provide enough for the entire population. Meanwhile, about three million Astrazeneca vaccines are unused on the shelf.
With every new lockdown, the population‘s turmoil is increasing. After almost a year and a half, the support for the severe corona policy begins to show cracks. Last week, thousands of people went out to the streets to demonstrate against the lockdowns. A demonstration in Sydney is scheduled tomorrow.
When announcing a plan to get out of the lockdown, Prime Minister Scott Morrison suddenly talked about a match again today. He wants 70 percent of the population to be vaccinated by the end of the year. “We’re going to win that gold medal,” he said.