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With thirteen more cases discovered in NSW, the share of the blame shouldn’t be with Jetstar, or those crossing the border, but those within the state who have shown a shocking lack of responsibility.
The Victorian border may be closed, but we in New South Wales are living through the great ‘when’. As Chelsea Hetherington of the ABC has noted this afternoon, “NSW has recorded thirteen new cases of coronavirus from more than 18,500 tests. Eleven are in hotel quarantine and the remaining two are the cases previously identified from Albury.”
But the recent border closure is merely the tip of a very clueless iceberg. To believe that we’re somehow immune to what Victoria is experiencing is to flip the bird at lost touch with reality. Placing the ADF on the border a lasting solution does not make. As Hetherington has tabulated, NSW leads the nation in international arrivals with 39,394 touching down between June 7 and July 7.
But wait, there’s more. Many heads were shaken in the wake of the Jetstar bungle, where a plane from Melbourne landed in Sydney and released its passengers, sans COVID screening. According to the airline’s chief executive, Gareth Evans said the incident is “very, very different to the Ruby Princess…these passengers were screened when they got on the aircraft in Melbourne. The screening has taken place, it’s just that the double-check of screening didn’t happen straight away. The risk is extremely low, extremely low, and it’s a very, very different situation to the Ruby Princess.”
This broken logic flows directly from the top. On Monday, Gladys Berejikian demanded that all states open their borders as she was banning Victorians from entering. “I also stress to the other states, now that New South Wales has taken this decision and given where we are, there is really no excuse for any other state, apart from Victoria, to have any border closures with New South Wales,” she said.
While much time has been wasted scoring points, today is not whole the whole issue. Since the outset, New South Wales has lived in some sort of entitled fantasy. The condition has been ripe for such. The laws have been vague, and the leadership lacking. As a Sydneysider, I can safely say that we need clear and strict restrictions. Anything less, and we’ll think that the rules don’t apply to us. If New South Wales had a power animal, it’d be the speedo-wearing Bronte boomer who scaled the fence erected for his own protection, because the beach belonged to him.
As a Sydneysider, we need clear and strict restrictions. Anything less, and we’ll think that the rules don’t apply to us. If New South Wales had a power animal, it’d be the speedo-wearing Bronte boomer who scaled the fence erected for his own protection, because the beach belonged to him..
A more contemporary example would be the Balmain supermarket employee who brought had the virus and placed 50 staff in isolation. A day after the headlines, I took a drive to the premier state’s latest ground zero (replete with face mask, air-conditioning closed and windows up), I found the streets (and the Woolworths) soundtracked to the dull whirr of business-as-usual.
The citizens of that suburb felt they were free to do so, because they’ve been lead to believe that it isn’t that serious. On June 30, Berejiklian commented on the breaking of social distancing rules, proclaiming that she has “noticed in and around my movements that people are starting to relax a little bit too much for my liking.”
Ask the average Sydneysider what we can and cannot do, and we won’t be able to tell you. We come from a state where we were told that the schools were closed, but remain open. As a result, we’re left to police ourselves. The below image was allegedly taken at a Sydney pub last night. Wednesday night is Uni night. The Golden Sheaf is not an isolated incident, as similar lines exist outside pubs and designer retail outlets the city over. The only thing that separates Victoria from NSW is the belief that it won’t happen to us.
— Simon Rutledge (@simonrutledge88) July 8, 2020