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  • Writer's pictureAisling Salisbury

It's Not The Fault of Returning Aussies

Updated: Apr 24, 2021

I don't think I have ever opened a piece of mine using a gif. Usually, I do so to add a little light heartiness to a post or to emphasise a point being made. However, in this case, I could probably just leave the gif and stop writing.

In the last 24hrs, another Australian city is about to go into lockdown for the sake of a couple of cases. I also suspect more states will follow in the next couple of days. But another city finds itself in a snap lockdown, and on a long weekend? It's quite a coincidence, isn't it? Perth is to enter a three-day lockdown after COVID "escaped" from Hotel Quarantine. Again a city and its economy are devastated due to a couple of cases. Cases that, in the eyes of Aussies, was "imported" and was totally "unnecessary to do so".

Therefore, what was one of the first courses of action by the WA Government, besides the lockdown? That's right, it was a cry out to the Federal Government that they have to reduce their international arrivals. So once again it's not the fault of Governmental agencies that can't run a safe Quarantine programme, it's the fault of Australians who have the audacity to want to come home. Therefore in typical Government 101 tactics, they have their scapegoat. It's not our fault, it's theirs. It's a narrative that the populous has definitely bought and continues to spew "if it wasn't for those selfish Australians who want to come home and see their family or want to return then we wouldn't be in this mess" A narrative that Media is quite happy to also sell.

Now yes that is a correct assumption to make but in Australia, at the start of March 2020, 3-4% of your population was overseas at the time the border was closed. Your countrymen are spread far and wide around the world. As the song goes:

"I'm always travelling, I love being free."

Australian's have always travelled and placed roots in other countries, friends, family, relationships, employment. It's part of our past time. As too the country offering itself out to the world as "the lucky country" and check us out . . .

As such many International students, retirees and intrepid travellers have Australia high on their list to visit or even one-day call home. A year ago it was fine to lock yourselves away and hide under the bed until the big bad Rona Bug was gone but it was and always should've been a short-term solution. Instead, it's become your permanent solution. The one thing that could be used to ensure a degree of safety in opening your international border, Hotel Quarantine, is an outdated policy, based on a time when there was little testing and everyone was running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

When the policy came into effect on March 29th 2020 it was based on the following items:

  • Testing wasn't widely available;

  • Allegedly people weren't quarantining at home, thus the need to control it;

  • A "she'll be right" approach, not just in Australia but around the world that this wasn't serious. As such no one practised hand hygiene, socially distanced or took precautions, including some not understanding the concept of Self-Isolation.

All three items are now fixed. You can't board a flight to Australia, assuming you get on one, without having a negative PCR test. I self-isolated at home when I first returned and was only given a spot check on Day 13 and the Police were at the wrong location, as Border Force didn't provide to local authorities the details of where I declared I'd be for the next fortnight, they could only go off a driver's license and electoral roll data. Even the Police Officer I spoke with said "it's totally ridiculous we aren't given the tools to do the job." As for the "she'll be right" approach, that's definitely gone, considering people approve of shutdowns and treating returning Aussies as lepers, they clearly take this seriously.

But all this is missed, the programme meant to protect Australians and process arrivals is seen as the danger and therefore all international arrivals must be stopped. It's an argument that is gaining momentum and is obviously the preferred option by Australians. Well here is where I have an issue with it. The current "leak" has come from a man who left quarantine as he was all cleared and good to go. During Quarantine he would've been tested at least three times, all have to be negative in order to be released. According to world health sources, the data says that on average a person will develop symptoms or test positive to COVID five days after exposure. Considering this gentleman was given the all-clear to leave hotel quarantine after 14 days to only test positive a couple of days later means one thing. He got it in Hotel Quarantine, not from overseas.

According to NSW Health, it's only 1% of arrivals that have/develop COVID after arrival. Considering you are required to test negative before boarding a flight, aircraft have HEPA (Hospital Grade) filters, PPE on the crew and passengers, as too massive social distancing when a 300 seat aircraft can only have 10-40 passengers, it's highly unlikely that the majority of these arrivals get COVID on the flight to Australia.

It's frequently said by the COVID Doomsday warriors:

"It starts with one case!"

Well, it's clear that Hotel Quarantine, in its current form is the cesspool that will spread COVID, not the granting of your own citizens the basic right, as per their passports, to freely cross International Borders.

What's the solution then?

It's home quarantine people!

The Coate Inquiry on Victoria's Screw up even knew this. A report that Victoria said it would follow and take all recommendations, only to be discarded by officials. The report found that:

  1. Claims of people not self-isolating at home were incorrect and breaches were only small in nature;

  2. Home Quarantine was not only more humane but was the best way to prevent the spread of COVID to staff and other residents of the programme;

  3. Compliance could be assured by technical monitoring and more improved directions and processes (Border Force providing local authorities with the correct self-declared location is one suggestion).

Even an Australian who is COVID positive is permitted to Self-Isolate at home, so why can't an Australian who returns from overseas? Especially when they probably don't even have it in the first place. It's a double standard is it not? Then again there are many double standards you have right now, yet it seems you're oblivious to it or simply in denial about it.

Australia, stop the scapegoating of your own who are wanting to come home and have the exact same right as you would have if you were overseas, it's not their fault you are in this position. It's a dud programme that was brought in for incorrect reasons and is run by people who couldn't organise a root in a brothel but would still lose a ton of your money in the process. Wake up, you need to rejoin the world and allow home quarantine, or if you want to continue with this charade, an NZ like system where you book your spot in quarantine before your flight is the way to go. It will ensure that no one is left behind at an airport or denied a flight home. Your lockdowns are the fault of a dud government programme, not your fellow countrymen who are coming home.


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