Covid is still here. From today, anyone taking a flight from China to Australia will need to provide a negative rapid test taken within 48 hours of their departing flight. This is a measure put in place by many other countries and is backed by the World Health Organization (WHO).
This decision by the Albanese government raised many questions.
The Opposition, because the decision was taken ignoring the health experts’ advice, has labelled the decision to be ‘political’.
There is also the question as to the efficacy of it all and what to do with people coming from other countries, also grappling with the rise of an infectious new variant.
From today, travelers from China, Hong Kong and Macau will need to test negative within 48 hours of departure despite Australia’s chief medical officer recommending against the new measure.
Looking at the WHO statistics shows why the WHO has backed caution (decisions taken by the governments requiring a negative test result with 48 hours of departure). China has been quietly grappling with the virus all year last year – peaking in May and October and cases again rising in December, despite the Chinese government’s “elimination” or “zero covid” policy.
China is now reopening to the world this week after stringent measures failing to contain the virus. The government’s consequent abandonment of that policy has led to a surge of infections, which with poor vaccination rates has made things worse for other countries receiving the population travelling from China.
The WHO has also taken the view that:
- Beijing has been underreporting infections, deaths and hospitalisations from the virus; and
- The Chinese definition of CIVD deaths was narrower than the WHO’s standard.
No wonder it follows that the political leadership, taking a conservative approach, can decided on the side of caution as Albo has done, although if he were in opposition, he would have done exactly what the Opposition head kicker Stuart Robert has done – labelling the decision to be purely “political” and against the health experts’ advice.
In Victoria, the virus has been under control with government measures, community participation in vaccination and covidsafe behaviours and resultant high immunity. Just to make the point, on December 29, 2021, there were more than 5000 new COVID case reported while on the corresponding day in 2022, December 29, there were less than 2000 new infections.
The idea is – to not go back to any restrictions regime, we should all keep practising covidsafe behaviours, keep ourselves up to date with vaccinations and follow health experts advice while ignoring the political slugfest of our leaders who are elected to do politics, among other things.
To listen to COVIDSafe advice in Hindi and Punjabi, click here.
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