Anti-Corona Fortress: How the Pandemic Is Changing Australia

Anti-Corona Fortress: How the Pandemic is Changing Australia

Australia is at a dead-end due to its zero covid strategies. Millions of people are only allowed to leave their homes for “vital reasons.” But Corona’s political guidelines are under massive criticism. 

Instead of honking cars and party people in high heels and Pilsner glasses, no one has been away from home in Surry Hills, in the heart of Sydney, for a long time. A completely unusual image, says pizzeria owner Jeff Latanza. Latanza does not expect guests. But it is still open. 

“The main reason is that we have something to do every day and that we can be there for our clients,” explains Latanza. “But it is sad to come to the city. Otherwise, there are so many people here that even taxis can hardly stop to let someone out. Unfortunately, it is now like a ghost town. “


Restaurateurs fear bankruptcy 

Latanza’s restaurant has 80 per cent fewer sales, except for two chefs that Jeff had to fire his entire workforce. A total of 14 employees. Jeff receives 2000 euros of emergency aid from Corona every month from the state, rent and ancillary costs are almost three times higher, his savings are about to run out. Not much more, and Jeff has to lock himself in forever: “We think back and forth and try to postpone the inevitable as long as possible. But actually, we will soon be over.” 

Restaurants, cafes, pubs and gyms in Sydney, which have survived closures and visitor bans, can only initially reopen to fully vaccinated people in late October. In Melbourne, the strict dating restrictions that have been in place for months have been relaxed somewhat. Minimum concessions come too late for thousands of businesses, businesses, and businesses.


Entrepreneurs criticize the government’s lack of a plan. 

Wedding planner Rachel Sleiman compares the last 18 months of the crown crisis to a boxing match. Round after round, he somehow tried to keep his Melbourne event agency on its feet despite the constant low blows: first, the financial aid promised by the government did not materialize, then there were new restrictions and repeated shutdowns. Melbourne has now experienced a total of six, the longest 180 days. 

After block four, Rachel had to fire her staff; after block six, she broke the knockout. Rachel criticizes the government’s lack of planning: “The business I built at home from an early age went bankrupt. He had employees and a good name. All that is lost. Because the government has not provided stability and has no idea how to get out of this mess.


Australia has become an anti-coronavirus stronghold. 

Australia quickly became isolated after the pandemic began to halt the spread of the virus. Testing and quarantine measures were repeatedly checked for local virus sources. The government’s zero covid strategies appeared to be working.


A variant of the virus increases the number of cases. 

Tens of thousands of spectators at sporting events, open restaurants, pubs, gyms, theatres, cinemas and stores. There was even a travel bubble with New Zealand, where you could fly freely between the two countries. Between isolated outbreaks, life almost returned to normal, and the economy began to recover. 

Then the Delta variant appeared in Australia. The number of cases has increased. First a few hundred new infections, then thousands. The government has reset the country to zero. Even if it is getting more and more relaxed, twelve of the 25 million Australians are still currently locked up. But more and more people ask themselves: why? 

There are repeated protests against the blockade in Sydney. “Away from curfews and daily restrictions”: some 3,000 protesters call for freedom “without a mask” and a way out of the so-called “zero covid trap”. “We must finally end the closure of schools and the ban on all public life,” said Damien King, one of the organizers of the rally. It’s a joke that metropolises like Sydney, Brisbane, or Melbourne have to go into a strict lockdown on the recommendation of unelected health officials, and often only because of a few dozen people testing positive. 

“Many think that the Covid restrictions are a completely past reality and are purely politically motivated. We protest to make our voices heard, “King said.


The government relies on contact reduction as a solution.

While there were demonstrations for the return of citizen property in Brisbane, Melbourne and other cities, the Scott Morrison administration continued to focus on eradicating the virus through reducing contacts. One that tested positive was too much. Australian states isolated themselves from each other at times. If he wanted to visit his family or just go to work, he couldn’t cross borders. 4,444 rugby teams and politicians were allowed to move freely. Hundreds of thousands lost their jobs, and the government approved an increase in the diet. “Australia has degenerated into a two-class society,” believes Dy Lee of the “Get Up” civil movement. “Black Lives Matter” rallies were allowed, but protest marches against the government’s “Crown arbitrariness” would have been banned as “super spread events.” 

“People are just frustrated and overwhelmed,” Lee said. “Many see that we cannot get out of all this. Other countries like Denmark, England and Sweden are leading the way, but then our politicians would have to admit that their zero covid strategies were wrong. Perhaps all that remains is civil disobedience. We have to find a way out of this crisis together. If the government can’t, we have to do it ourselves.


Australians Stranded: Double Standards in Quarantine Regulations 

Officially, Australia’s external borders are still closed after an 18-month pandemic. However, entrepreneurs classified as systemically important can move in and out of the country, Hollywood stars make movies in Australia, and tennis professionals play tournaments. 38,000 Australians are still trapped abroad and unable to return home due to a lack of quarantine beds. 

One is Holly Foster, 21, from Melbourne. The law student has been stranded in London for 15 months: “I have been trying to go home since last October. The Australian Open tennis players broke their legs to create quarantine posts, but nothing happens to Australian citizens. We have no” money, without a job and an apartment. It hurts the other stranded Australians and me how they treat us. “

Holly tells her story via Skype in the London penthouse apartment of friends who let her sleep on their couch. She was backpacking in Europe when Australia closed its borders due to the crown. Holly interrupted her trip and tried to continue No result. 

The Australian consulate has been shipping it to airlines for 15 months, and they are sending it back to the consulate. Holly stopped at Heathrow airport seven times with her backpack packed, only to find that her flight had been cancelled or that her seat had been transferred to someone willing to pay five times as much for the ticket. 

“If you can’t afford the equivalent of 8,000 euros for a business class seat like me, you won’t get a flight,” says Holly. “There were also no chartered evacuation flights for Australians. It is shameful. The government has had time to establish mass quarantine facilities at home since March of last year. But nothing happened.”


Those affected complain to the United Nations. 

54 Australians have died of Covid19 since the outbreak of the Corona crisis abroad. Away from home, often alone. In Indonesia, India, Lebanon and the In the Netherlands, in France, England, the US and Peru, families and married couples are separated, thousands of prisoners were only able to say goodbye to their dying relatives at their home in Australia by phone. Civil rights activist and lawyer Kim Rubenstein is now suing the United Nations over a group of stranded people. 

“The UN court says: The right of a citizen to live in his own country is inviolable,” Rubenstein said. “There has been no success in building or installing quarantine stations across Australia. If it wanted to, the government would have the means to bring Australians home on a preferential basis.” 

Attempts are underway in South Australia and Tasmania to quarantine returnees from abroad for 14 days under strict digital surveillance at home. There is no noticeable change in input practice insight. In other places, too, progress is slow: with vaccination. At first, there was a very little vaccine, then very little willingness to vaccinate. The government now threatens to open the external border only when 80 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated. That can probably be achieved by early 2022 at the earliest. 

Sydney: 5,000 vaccination doses per day. 4,444 vaccination records are currently being broken in Sydney, the site of the 2000 Olympics. 5,000 cans are injected here every day. The queue outside is a good 200 meters long. After months of waiting for the vaccine, a few more hours don’t matter. Many are happy to have finally been vaccinated; others are upset that it took so long. There was too much conflicting information from too many different places, saying it was confusing. Others complain: “Not enough has been informed about the risks of vaccines.” There is simply no good medical advice. 

Compared to other OECD countries, Australia has a particularly slow vaccination rate. And self-inflicted, as critics point out. The government wanted a vaccine that it could manufacture in the country. The vaccine was AstraZeneca. “He got the wrong horse and put it all on one card,” says Stephen Duckett, a health expert at the Grattan Institute, a group of independent political experts. At first nothing, and then when there were problems with AstraZeneca, he ordered other vaccine developers too late. Duckett suspects that the in-house production contract with AstraZeneca was purely politically motivated.


Critics see serious mistakes by the government.

“The government wanted to show leadership and recognize everyone,” Duckett said. “Looking ahead to the next election. It’s no wonder we’re late. We had to put ourselves at the bottom of the world and we only got the little vaccine. Anything that could go wrong went wrong.” 

Blockades ban on going out and visiting: To increase the vaccination rate, the government is making daily life as difficult as possible for vaccine sceptics. The Grattan Institute has found that most Australians are not vaccinated out of conviction, but primarily so that they can return to travel unimpeded in the future. However, the least vaccinated are Australians who are most at risk. The 500,000 indigenous people of the country. Most of them live, often far from cities and supply routes, in the deserted and inaccessible interior.


Aboriginal “more at risk than white Australians.” 

Study 2 at CAAMA Aboriginal radio station in Alice Springs, Central Australia. The red light is on; the recording is in progress. Editor Nanette Cox reads the latest government code of conduct on coronavirus to Glenn Sharp in English, and the Luritja Aborigines translate it into the local indigenous dialect spoken 600 kilometres away on the edge of the Tanami Desert. 

Glenn is one of the translators. With 17 indigenous dialects in the Northern Territory, some two dozen native speakers help with the information campaign. Whether it’s exits and roadblocks for remote Aboriginal communities, calls to wash your hands frequently, or when and where you can get vaccinated – announcements are recorded daily and broadcast 24 hours a day on CAAMA radio shows. 

“Time is precious, we have to inform our people quickly,” says moderator Warren Williams, who coordinates the coronavirus announcements. Many Aboriginal families lived crowded together in longhouses, often three generations under one roof. Distance and hygiene are foreign words. Williams believes that natives of the country are at greater risk than white Australians. Because much more often they are overwhelmed by serious diseases. 

“I’m very concerned that our people are not doing well,” Williams said. “Aboriginal people have chronic heart, lung and kidney problems or diabetes. They have to be very careful in this crisis. One infected person is enough and the virus spreads like wildfire in a village.”


So far, almost 1,200 deaths from Covid.  

For a year, it was possible to keep Covid19 out of even the most remote Aboriginal settlements. However, in the end, the virus was faster than the vaccine. There have been outbreaks in small settlements somewhere in the middle of nowhere. A nightmare for the health authorities. Pastor Ray Minniecon tirelessly warns indigenous communities inside against any contact with the outside world in his radio spots. 

“We will do everything we can to protect our people,” says Minniecon. “There can be no other funeral. I say to Aboriginal communities: ‘Get vaccinated, wear masks and stay home. For the good of others, not out of fear “.” 

In Australia, so far, almost 1,200 people have died from or with Corona; 23,000 people are considered infected. Figures that are among the lowest in the world. However, according to polls, support for the government has dropped from more than 80 per cent to just 42 per cent in one year; Prime Minister Scott Morrison and state prime ministers are under pressure mainly because they have no alternative to confinement. 4,444 soldiers in Sydney monitored the no-exit bans. Across the country, the police imposed tens of thousands of fines, often just for taking a walk on the beach. Protest marches against the government’s crown measures were razed to the ground with water cannons. Irish-born journalist James Morrow does not recognize his adopted country, Australia: “One thing worries me in particular: I am afraid that after this crisis we will be an Australia different from the previous one. More suspicious and less democratic. Millions of people were afraid for no reason, and this fear is used to making political decisions alone. This is not the Australia I know. And I have lived here for 20 years.


Business Associations Sound the Alarm 

Despite billions of bridging financial aid and although unemployment figures seem less catastrophic than feared, business associations are sounding the alarm. Economists estimate that retailers alone generate six billion euros in sales due to harsh lockdowns. 

Small and medium-sized businesses are threatened by a historic wave of bankruptcies, the country is facing the second consecutive recession. If tourists and international students are not allowed to return from abroad soon, the economy could suffer irreparable damage in the long term. Zoe Paine had to close her boutique in a Sydney shopping centre two months ago. The flower shop and shoe store that she had on both sides went bankrupt in June.


The Zero covid Front crumbles into politics. 

“It is bitterly disappointing, but our government has let us down. It cannot be said otherwise. It feels like we’re drifting aimlessly from one day to the next with no end in sight. It’s sad, but that’s the reality. “Zoe Paine, merchant 

Other countries have reopened, Australia is still hesitant. Waiting for a higher vaccination rate. But the covid zero fronts are crumbling. A growing number of Australian prime ministers admit that zero incidents are out of reach. Australia has to accept that the virus will not go away, that one has to live with it and cannot be isolated forever. Government aid cannot last forever. Prime Minister Scott Morrison plans to be re-elected in the middle of next year. So your crown policy will likely be put to the vote as well.

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