Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Federal leadership needed

Crackneck pre-dawn this morning (courtesy Julie)
In Australia, both the Federal and State leaders have done well to this point in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.  There are exceptions and occasional slip-ups, but the two levels of government have worked well together to make management of the pandemic in Australia a global success story ...... thus far.

The arrangement has seen the Federal government leave the States to formulate and manage their own social-distancing restrictions, including tolerating the closing of State borders.  However, there is now a need for the Federal government to provide some firm leadership.  It should to use its substantial levers of power to open the internal Australian borders and drive a national policy for dealing with COVID-19 hotspots as they arise.

Dawn at The Haven this morning (courtesy Julie)
We currently have a hotchpotch of State approaches.  Three States (Northern Territory, Victoria and New South Wales) have no restrictions on visitors from other States, three States (Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania) ban visitors from all other States, and one State (South Australia) allows visitors from some States.  This is compounded by "advice" from New South Wales not to travel to, or accept visitors from, Melbourne, and "advice" from Victoria for residents of hotspot LGAs not to leave their area.

Early morning swimmers at Terrigal (courtesy Julie)
It should be possible to come up with a set of nationally implemented criteria for defining hotspot LGAs and the actions to be taken in response.  This would recognise that the great majority of the country is virus-free and allow residents of those areas to more quickly resume normal economic intercourse with the rest of the country.  State borders are too arbitrary a tool to manage COVID-19 hotspots now the virus is largely under control, and it seems the decision to keep borders closed has become very political in some States.  The Federal government taking control would provide cover for State leaders to open their borders despite it being politically unpopular.

For exercise, I rode for 30 minutes on the bike trainer this morning.  There were a few sharp twinges in the hip initially, but when warmed up, the pain was very low-level.  I remain optimistic about coping with the demands of everyday biking when we leave next week, and will have those anti-inflammatories for backup.

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