Three days into Sydney’s lockdown, I lay on the floor in my lounge and I cried from sheer frustration. How have we been plunged into this state of uncertainty again near 18 months since the pandemic started?
The impacts for all Australians are extreme– something which our government doesn’t seem to grasp with their mixed messages and inconsistency.
Lockdown throws us into another extended period of limbo right at a time when the rest of the world is starting to see the light. More cancelled trips to see family, more disappointment for couples who had weddings planned and more pressure on parents to manage work and parenting responsibilities.
Knowing that Australia has long been one of the better faring countries in terms of suppressing the virus, makes this period even more infuriating. We did not have daily cases in the tens of thousands. We did not have deaths in the hundreds of thousands.
Australia utilised its island status to isolate quickly. Not unlike the movies, when a bank closes the vaults when alerted to a robbery, the bullet-proof, steel doors shuttered at international borders and if you weren’t on the right side of the door, well, too bad — even if you were an Australian citizen.
Scott Morrison did a big song and dance about the vaccines purchased and quickly made the same long term decisions that the UK and USA did in his plans to tackle COVID-19. But unlike those partner countries, Morrison seems to have sat on his hands.
Right now, it’s really difficult to see what he’s being doing the last 6 months to protect the country he leads.
Much like when he hopped on a plane and jetted to Hawaii when Australia was burning, I wonder where Scott Morrison has been? Responses have been left to the states, while Morrison does damage control of his own image and equality-washes his cabinet.
As an expat, this recent lockdown ripped the hope out from under me– a feeling I know which is shared by many Australians especially those with family and friends overseas.
My best friend is getting married in December. She recently sent me flowers asking me to be her bridesmaid. Even though I have been told by many that my attendance is a pipe dream, I had a small glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, we would all be vaccinated in time and the vault doors would be lifted.
These problems pale in comparison to much more heart wrenching stories of people being unable to visit family members who are moribund or who have fallen pregnant and given birth without their parents being able to visit and meet their grandchild.
Yesterday, NSW’s Premier Gladys Berejiklian (finally) voiced her frustration with the federal government’s vaccine response– something which has left her state in dire straits. I felt for her in that moment, and shared her anger and unease.
All of Australia’s premiers have been calling for clarity on the rollout and are ready to get things moving quickly. And as citizens, we have done our bit complying with snap lockdown rules, whipping our masks out when instructed and cancelling trips to stay at home.
It is about time our PM steps up to the plate before Australia is left behind. COVID-19 isn’t going away any time soon and you can’t wrap an entire nation in cotton wool.