Unlike other nations, including Canada, which aim to keep new infections at a level that will not overwhelm the medical system, Australia seeks to virtually eliminate the virus from its shores.
When Australia was hit by a surge of COVID-19 cases in late July, just weeks after declaring victory over the first wave, it caused one of the longest blockades in the world in Melbourne, for example, closing virtually everything that was not a grocery store or hospital. almost four months.
Roadblocks have been set up in many cities to ensure that people stay home. Even when restrictions were eased, there was a curfew and people were not allowed more than five miles[5 km]from home. Break the rule, and you could face a $ 1,300 fine.
The school initially had extended leave – and then education was moved, in many places, entirely online. When restrictions were most draconian, in some areas it was illegal to walk your dog even on your street.
“These are not rules that are against you, they are rules for you,” Daniel Andrews, Victoria’s prime minister, said in a November 8 public statement, reminding people of the purpose of the restrictions. “It’s about your safety, your job, your community, your family, your country.
Australians arriving from abroad had to report for return – there were daily restrictions – and each had to be quarantined at a government-designated hotel, sometimes guarded by soldiers.
The Prime Minister of South Australia, Stephen Marshall, openly stated this in public briefing on 17 November“There is no second chance to stop the second wave.”
The approach worked great. Recorded cases of the nation peaked in 739 on August 5, but since then the count has taken place declined steadily and most Australian cities have spent weeks without a single new case.
It came at a cost of a million jobs nationwide and thousands of now-failing businesses. But it was worth it, says Dr. Nancy Baxter, who heads the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne.
“You can’t have a well-functioning economy with a raging pandemic. It’s not an economy versus lives,” she told CBC News.
Baxter is a Canadian who moved to Melbourne shortly before the city entered its first blockade. She is now caring for her friends in Canada, where the approach to the pandemic was very different.
“Listening to what is happening in Ontario, it ‘s pretty shocking just. “They basically concede defeat and say they will let the epidemic run wild in Ontario.”
She spoke before Ontario imposed a blockade on much of the Greater Toronto area on November 23. And yet even now, as the number of cases increases, nowhere in Canada has the government gone to the level that Australia has done.
Australians also welcomed the measures. Their image as Dundee crocodile-like rule breakers has been marred by widespread compliance with some of the most severe pandemic restrictions in the world.
As it is surrounded by water, Australia has the opportunity to severely restrict entry into the country. Canada, meanwhile, relies heavily on commercial truck drivers to bring food and other goods from the United States, and they are one of the basic workers exempt from quarantine requirements.
“Australia is unique in that we can really control who enters and leaves the country,” said Asison Dutton, a professor of chemistry in Melbourne and another Canadian transplant.
“We have stayed the right way, we are going to aggressively fight zero,” he added.
Dutton also suggests that so-called “pandemic fatigue” did not take the same form in Australia as it does in other nations.
“When the government came out and they were wearing masks in the first week of August, there were about 20 seconds of complaints and everyone came out with a mask that matched their shirt.
Now comes the big test.
Restrictions have now been eased, and restaurants and bars, long closed, have reopened. The country is waiting to see if all this will lead to a new leap.
There is hypersensitivity and a widespread desire to quickly eliminate any recurrence of the virus.
For example, in the city of Adelaide, which was declared SOBIDI, in September, a single cough in a hospital this month ended with the activation of an immediate six-day blockade of the “switch”.
The South Australians will take a break and create a 6-day switch that will allow us to move forward from the Parafield cluster.
This means that all non-essential workers must stay at home and leave only for groceries and medical supplies.
We do this to keep SA safe and strong. pic.twitter.com/qbSvfIrkvX
An elderly woman in the hospital was infected and was identified among 30 people after extensive efforts to find contacts.
Thousands in the city were told to take the KOVID-19 test and there was a complete public shutdown in an attempt to eradicate the virus.
As one Adelaide resident told a local news team, “It makes sense, doesn’t it? We don’t want to end up like the rest of the world.”