Flat White

How to cope with Covid? Let’s try to be more Swiss

8 July 2021

5:44 PM

8 July 2021

5:44 PM

Singapore and Switzerland seem to be the greatest realists in the world today. 

They’re getting on with living – not COVID normal – just normal. 

They have worked out that the virus is not going to disappear and life is simply too short to stay locked-up and locked-down for eternity. 

They’re done with the yo-yo of emotions and the long shadows of doubt. 

Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Queensland take note – look to those nations for the way forward – not the trigger happy, ‘I know nothing’, coronavirus convulsions of the Victorian government. 

Victoria is not the go-to guide for how to handle an outbreak: the highest aim shouldn’t be the nation’s lowest common denominator. 

And right now, the current rush of border closures and lockdowns are not a good sign for a once-confident nation. 

So, I ask this question: where is our fighting spirit, Australia? Could someone please return the Boxing Kangaroo? Please. 

Ahhh, the Boxing Kangaroo – the symbol that flew high on the mast when Australia II won the America’s Cup – the days of Hawke glory when bosses were bums and victory was savoured via liquid hops and skipping work. 

The Olympic website describes the BK, as this: The Boxing Kangaroo has a huge amount of self-confidence and epitomises the Australian fighting spirit. This unrelenting “have a go” Aussie spirit makes him hugely popular with all Australians.

And more: BK is not a lout, nor is he aggressive or arrogant. He is, however, assertive when it comes to defending his country’s glory.

But where is that darn Kangaroo? Where is that spirit?  Under the doona, under the bed, under wraps? Understood? 

Why have we become a nation scared to have a go at returning to normal like Singapore and Switzerland? 

This is Australia, not Snowflake Central. 

Where are the Kurt Fearnleys of Australia in our ruling class of bureaucrats – the experts who say heaps behind the curtain – but provide nothing to the public to either defend, or even explain, their incessant doona diktats? 

Fearnley is Australia’s extraordinary three-time Paralympic Gold Medallist, two-time Commonweath gold medallist, four-time world championship title holder and holder of 44 marathon victories.  He brought welling tears of pride to the nation after his 2018 Commonwealth Games race win on the Gold Coast. 

Just over the line – he told his young son in an immediate embrace live on camera – ‘when you’re in these colours you’ve got to be fierce and today I had as close to fierce as I’ll ever get.’

Beat that for pride.  Beat that for staring down defeat. Beat that for belief. 

That is the attitude we need to tap into: ferocity, strength and can-do. Not doona and don’t. 

Incentive is what some may need to get The Jab. While many have lined up, many haven’t. So, if the stick doesn’t seem to be working, maybe the carrot will?  

Let’s be more Swiss – and less scared. 

With nearly 3000 cases since June 9, Switzerland has eased a raft of restrictions. Masks are not needed outdoors, and employers can decide if they’re needed in workplaces.  There are no restrictions on outdoor sporting or cultural gatherings. Only non-vaccinated people will be tested upon arrival by plane – and entry restrictions are eased for people who can prove they’ve been vaccinated. 

Singapore has the strongest messaging of all. 

It has realised that zero transmission is near on impossible. It is ended quarantine for travellers and won’t be providing the drone of daily cases – instead only going public with the numbers that are serious: those hospitalised, on oxygen or in intensive care. 

Its three lead Ministers tasked with the virus management told the Straits Times recently that they’ll now treat COVID-19 like any other flu and get on with it. “We can’t eradicate it, but we can turn the pandemic into something much less threatening, like influenza or chickenpox, and get on with our lives.” 

Like Australia, they know that vaccination is critical. 

And unlike Australia, their vaccination rates are higher. Maybe it’s because their population is being shown the benefits that come from vaccination? 

In Australia, we’re shown blocked borders and bans. 

We have to end the daily ritual of a CHO and Premier prosecuting the impossible solution of virus elimination while instilling unreasonable fear into the population. 

To quote another public safety message: we need to be alert, but not alarmed. 

There have been no COVID deaths in Australia this year, yet how many have died from acute mental illness associated with isolation and lockdown edicts? How many have had their lives shortened through delayed or non-existent medical treatment?  

How many have had their livelihoods destroyed because businesses have been forced to lock their doors?   

In Britain, there are a reported 10,000 daily infections and even with this ‘beastly’, ‘fast moving’, ‘clever’ strain, deaths are in single figures and largely associated with co-morbidity issues – all the while deaths from the common flu are ten times greater.  

Victorians, Australians, I urge this: find your inner Boxing Kangaroo – your Kurt Fearnley soul. 

If it takes being vaccinated to do it – then let’s do it. 

Confidence is key – and governments that tremble and quiver at single-figures – or just above – need to find the carrots that will give confidence. 

Don’t say no to funerals. Don’t separate the sick from their families. Don’t tell wedding couples they must mask up at the altar and then change the directives. 

Don’t turn the tap on and then off. 

Above all else, let’s apply common sense, proportionality, and trust: because this coronavirusof one sort or another, is here to stay. 

We need to find fierce. 

Beverley McArthur is a Liberal Legislative Councillor for the Western Victoria Region.

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