The whole of Victoria is now in Lockdown #5. Yes, we’ve already had four, one of which included the world’s longest lockdown. Lockdown #5 is courtesy of New South Wales. Thanks a lot NSW. Our Premier, Daniel Andrews made the announcement last Thursday (15 July 2021) at midnight that we had commenced a five-day lockdown. We knew it was coming as the Delta Covid strain began to make her way around the world after first appearing in India earlier this year. Given Australia is an island, we all know how it got here. Yes siree! It arrived on a flight from overseas. An infected flight crew member passed it on to a limousine driver who in turn spread it around Sydney as he went about his business. This drama began four weeks ago. Now three states are lockdown: New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
Back to Lockdown #5
Here in Victoria, we have all become experts in everything to do with the pandemic. Lockdowns, Delta, Alpha, Kappa, Astra Zenica, Pfizer, quarantine, contact tracing, getting the jab, contagious, infectious, super-spreaders, masks, excessive consumption of toilet paper, isolation, social- distancing, depression, stay at home and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg. That’s all we ever hear about. So naturally no one believed Premier Dan when he said five days was going to be enough to snuff out the spread of the Delta strain that we have unfortunately inherited.
Take a deep breath (with your mask on) and stay calm
But the Premier and his team of health professionals were trying to keep us all calm. They were telling us good things like the cases are all linked so we do not have fresh chains of transmission, contact tracers are working 24/7 to contain the virus, everybody’s doing such an amazing job following the rules, thousands are getting tested every day, extra test sites will have longer operating hours, 90 percent of people are getting results back within 24 hours. That was all well and good. But not an easy task because heaps of peeps were angry with the Premier of NSW (Gladys Berejiklian) for not going into lockdown as soon as the first case of the Delta variant appeared.
What’s the thing about Delta?
It’s obvious that the Delta variant is already presenting a significant challenge to Australia. One of the problems is that hardly anyone in this country is fully (or even half) vaccinated. Some reports are telling us that it’s ‘the pandemic of the unvaccinated’. And that’s not helpful when you consider that we are one of the countries with the lowest vaccination rates in the world. I’m being kind here by the way. Once Delta is in the community it can spread like wildfire. For example, the average person infected with the Delta variant is likely to transmit it to about six other people compared to 2.5 for the original strain of the virus. Another feature of Delta is that it is more easily transmissible to younger adults and children and far more likely to put them in hospital than other variants.
How did it get here?
There were three removalists in a removalist truck. Sounds like a joke so far. One got a message to say he had tested positive to Covid as they were driving over the NSW/Victorian border. Instead of following the health advice in the message, they continued further into Victoria. The next day a second removalist received a positive test but that still didn’t stop them. After delivering furniture to a family in Craigieburn, a suburb on the outskirts of Melbourne, they continued to an apartment building in Maribyrnong. They were there for a few hours sans masks. Finally, they travelled onto South Australia infecting heaps of people on the way as they stopped at various cafes, service stations and fast-food outlets.
The latest from the Melbourne news desk ……
So as predicted, the five days of lockdown has blown out to another seven days. It’s hard to feel optimistic even after Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton said we’re on track. He added that without this current lockdown thousands would have been infected by now. Twenty-six new cases were recorded today, the highest number of new infections in a single day since September last year. They are all linked to known cases and sixteen of them were already in isolation. People are still going crazy to get tested. There are 107 active cases now with more than 380 exposure sites from Mildura to Philip Island and to Melbourne. And that’s optimism. Woohoo!!