Australia catches COVID derangement syndrome

Brisbane has recorded one local COVID-19 case, the state government has taken the sensible precautionary measure to lockdown Greater Brisbane for 3 days to assess the situation, and yet several Australian states and territories have already shut their borders to Queensland or imposed draconian isolation requirements.

Here’s South Australia:

Anyone coming into the state from the region from midnight tonight will be required to quarantine for two weeks.

Anyone who has been in the area since the second of January will be required to be tested…

“Anybody who has been in the Greater Brisbane area since 2 January will be required to have testing here in South Australia and those people will be advised by SMS later today,” said Mr Marshall.

Here’s Tasmania:

Tasmania has declared Greater Brisbane a high risk area, banning arrivals from that city and forcing those recently arrived into quarantine…

“Any traveller arriving in Tasmania from today who has been in the Greater Brisbane area since 2 January will need to immediately quarantine for up to 14 days. If they do not have a suitable premises they will be placed into a Government quarantine hotel.”

Here’s the NT:

Northern Territory has declared greater Brisbane a COVID-19 hotspot and will require travellers to quarantine.

Michael Gunner said the greater Brisbane area has been declared a hotspot, effective immediately.

“This means anyone arriving in the Territory today from the area will have to enter mandatory two-week quarantine,” the chief minister said.

“Unfortunately right now there are incoming flights from Brisbane about to land in Yulara and in Darwin.”

“People on these flights will be given the option of returning to Brisbane or entering mandatory quarantine.”

Whereas NSW, which currently has 197 active local COVID-19 cases, has ordered anyone entering the state via QLD to isolate:

Acting NSW Premier John Barilaro said anyone who has been in Brisbane since 12.01am on January 2 and is in New South Wales now is expected to stay isolated…

If you are already in New South Wales and you have travelled to New South Wales from those locations since 12:01am on the 2 January, we expect you to stay isolated.”

These knee jerk lockdowns make a mockery of the change in the national anthem’s lyrics to “we are one and free”.

We are more divided than ever, too willing to throw up the state shutters at the earliest opportunity.

Unconventional Economist
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Comments

      • Peter PanMEMBER

        That is ok. You may be unlikely to die. Depends on whose numbers you believe.
        Myocarditis has been found in up to 15% of infected athletes in a US study. Means you are more likely (than dying) not to come away unscathed. Also other potential long term consequences.
        It is wishful thinking that if you don’t die from COVID that you will escape without consequences. You may, or you may not. As my kids would say: it is a 50/50 chance… my guess it is best not to get it in the first place. Some degree of heart damage in 60% of middle aged to elderly. Best to avoid I guess if you like to live an active life.

  1. Wtf? Why not lock the borders? Shouldn’t have opened them in the first place. I’m amazed the Qld scare wasn’t caused by all the southerners that rushed here as soon as they could for a holiday. How hard is it to just stay in one place for a year or two, maybe holiday a bit closer to home if you’re lucky.

          • I'll have anotherMEMBER

            What Stewie said.

            The rest of Australia has been getting more and more wound up by the media over QLD lockout laws (similar to other states) that they were frothing at the mouth to lock out Queenslanders.

            All this division plays right into fed gov hands, who are the actual people in charge of international customs and quarantine. They let all the people into the joint then wipe their hands of it, then laugh as all the populus argue amongst ourselves which state has got it right.

      • Can you help me with the maths here? If the virus is 70% more contagious and two people get it by my reasoning it’s 140% more contagious, and it goes on exponentially. Hence the govt is saying if its gets away they won’t be able to stop it and are trying to get in early.

          • I agree its pretty reactionary but if you look at NSW, locked all the non cricket fans of the northern beaches up in isolation, allowing the rest of the state to travel ( with the exception of each area that ends up with an outbreak ). if they dont do the same for Brisbane ( not all QLD ) as an area then they might as well not bother with any pretense of lock down.

            All of these requirements are NOT about border shutdown but about spread minimisation, there is no closed QLD border, just for the hotspot of Brisbane. Its pretty hard to call Brisbane a hotspot based on 1 case but its rarely just 1 case and only for a few days….
            The sooner you stop the spread the shorter the overall lockdown needs to be, surely we dont want another Melbourne scenario.

      • As a retail store owner in the NT, which is normally very tourism dependent, I’m doing well. Actually I’m doing very well.

        Roughly 60% of the NT is employed by the state or federal government, so they are better paid than the private sector. Normally at this time of year Darwinites travel, a holiday in Bali, Christmas in London, a train trip through the Rockies and maybe skiing, but they can’t this year.

        So all these cashed up people have no where to go and nothing to do. The local gov is encouraging everyone to shop local and explore their neighbourhood – and they are.

        Also hundreds, maybe thousands ( even though it’s a small town) decided not to travel interstate because of the uncertainty. They didn’t want to get stuck in Q and decided to have a Staycation.This turned out to be a good choice, given recent events.

        As the voice on the coal face of COVID retail, it’s been great for me, because of the lock downs and border closures. We have captive cashed up customers. I wouldn’t want to be in Sydney or Melbourne but it’s been good for me. I’m also hearing the same thing from other store owners and members of the local retailers association.

        The lockdowns are working for many of us to stay normal, no masks and roaming freely.

        My concern as a retailer is not now, it’s going to be September onwards in 2021.
        Most people will be vaccinated, international borders will be open and everyone is going to want to go anywhere but here. That’s when retail in the NT is going to hurt.
        I expect my figures to drop off a cliff when that happens.

          • Ukraine fnMEMBER

            No middle kingdom tourists will do that to you , sorry to say but OS tourists would of started to decline in QLD without covid . It was only a matter of time that CCP would stop their countrymen enjoying Stralia as a holiday destination for political purposes .

          • I'll have anotherMEMBER

            DLS, if we had have left the borders open, we would have been hit like Vic. We do not have NSW’s sophisticated health system here.

            At that point it would be more than tourist operators feeling hurt. The entire relatively fragile Qld economy would be on its knees.

            Miners, office workers, uber drivers with a bit of tourism and retail. Thats the extent of the non public service up here.

          • So on one hand you say a bunch of industries have a bunch of dead wood businesses that need to fold or adapt yet hospitality is exempt from this mentatlity even though in Qld it is the most bloated industry we have that really needs to trim the fat. Strange rhunking there….

            I live here, I don’t breeze through on a jaunt to the goldie and believe some whinger who missed out on schoolies for the first time in awhile and now is suffering. Sunshine Coast was booked out solid all through the year with qlders holidaying in qld and then business actually died down after the border opened as locals stayed home to avoid the mexican wave. Lol

          • Haywood JablomeMEMBER

            Well UE, they’re hardly going to tell you they’re happy are they? Doesn’t seem to prevent them charging the locals ludicrous amounts or exploiting the foreign tourists when times are good and borders are open though. Like most punters they are always happy with the free market until circumstances are working against them. Yes the restrictions are government imposed, but only in response to a virus that doesn’t give a rat’s.

          • Sorry UE, but tourism is a net import sector. For every business that is suffering tourist wise due to COVID more are cashing it up – that’s the basic maths of it. I know even local tourist business in NSW for example have been going very well. As a whole COVID and border restrictions in the long term if it stays will be a net positive as that money normally leaving to go to Bali, Europe, etc will stay local.

            Australia tbh is a net loser in Globalisation, most winding back of it benefits the country as a “net” position.

          • I would also say that this might just be the second biggest reason, besides govt stimulus, that the local household sector has got record saving’s rates and has been reducing debt. None of that money leaking into overseas spending on holidays (imports, a drain on Australia’s economy) instead staying in Australian balance sheets.

        • Mining BoganMEMBER

          That’s exactly what I here from my Queensland brethren. Some areas you can’t get a room to save your life. Seems the place is full of Queenslanders.

          However…those places that pushed for foreign tourists ahead of locals over the last couple of decades are in serious trouble.

          • Mining BoganMEMBER

            The Goldy is stuffed, but it lost any local appeal twenty years ago. Cairns and region are struggling. Heard rumours that the Whitsundays have good deals going. Get outside there and it’s a different story. There’s genuine surprise at how well Queenslanders have spent their money inside the state.

          • Sure they have. Same goes across the nation. Massive stimulus has boosted spending.

            But tourism areas are suffering. I’ve never seen the GC so quiet (first week of Dec).

            Upon departing on 7 December, the apartment manager said they got massive forward bookings after the borders opened and were booked out until April. This came after 6 months of nothingness.

          • From what I saw, and from what a number of commenters have pointed out is that Areas like the Gold coast, which are up market and frankly overpriced tourist traps catering to cashed up Mexicans, Schoolies and OS travellers are doing it tough but most of the lesser “prestige” areas around the country are doing really well.

            I grew up around Coffs Harbour and have gone back there for at least 2 weeks every Xmas for the last 30+ years. Never seen it so busy, Bellingen, Nambucca Heads, Sawtell etc were all busy with tourists.

            What I did see that I thought was interesting was the number of clothes stores with no customers despite the throng passing by them. Lots of hospitality businesses had queues waiting for service and other shops as well but the clothes related were pretty quiet inside.

            Some places like the south coast have been hit once again, last year the fires and this year the outbreaks down that way.

      • Gtta love them open borders, now qld has 2 uk strain cases and one flew here from Victoria. Would that gold coast jaunt of yours be worth it if it gave you the uk strain? Until we sort out this quarantine debacle shut internal borders, holiday in home state to support tourism sector and sort it out.

      • TheLambKingMEMBER

        It’s deranged.

        It may look deranged to someone who does not understand epidemiology or is not in full possessions of the facts. In States with almost no prevention to the Pandemic (no masks or social distancing) it makes sense to shut the borders for a few days – it costs almost nothing.

        This lady has been infectious for over a week and has 79 close contacts. This strain infects about 15 people per 100 contacts compared to about 9. And when you have the contacts of contacts infected you get a much bigger spread. But the main issue is that she is from a low socio-economic background so will have ‘mingled’ with more people (compared to the North Shore) so there is much more chance of ‘casual’ contacts catching in the 2nd job, public transport, shops etc. So worst case is that we have 20-30 people out there spreading it for a week. Best case is they get 6-12 people infected who are already in lockdown, and we open up again in a week. Either way, with a conservative strategy it makes complete sense and is not deranged.

        But, like I pointed out earlier today, there should be national consistent rules so everyone knows what will happen (and that includes shutting the boarder)

        • But the strain is less deadly.

          Epidemiologists haven’t given a consistent message regarding the threat.

          What I do know is the public enjoys novelty and hysteria. They are uninformed. Sadly, the public rule the roost on this issue and politicians are acting in kind to keep the hysterical public happy.

        • “…it makes sense to shut the borders for a few days – it costs almost nothing”

          Tell that to the people that have just arrived or are on flights to these places and then will be forced into quarantine or forced to take a flight home. Hardly costly.

          We also know that the border closures will last more “than a few days”.

          “the main issue is that she is from a low socio-economic background so will have ‘mingled’ with more people (compared to the North Shore) so there is much more chance of ‘casual’ contacts catching in the 2nd job, public transport, shops etc.”

          Kinda highlights my continuous argument that we need to do quarantine properly, doesn’t it? We still haven’t learned from Victoria’s debacle.

          “But, like I pointed out earlier today, there should be national consistent rules so everyone knows what will happen (and that includes shutting the boarder)”

          Finally we can agree.

          • TheLambKingMEMBER

            Tell that to the people that have just arrived or are on flights to these places and then will be forced into quarantine or forced to take a flight home. Hardly costly.

            You mean the people ignoring advice, and travelling interstate during a GLOBAL PANDEMIC? Where no insurance company with insure you? Like being stuck interstate and blaming Dan, when he specifically said to not travel to NSW? Until we have national rules instead of acting like independent countries, don’t travel interstate!

            Kinda highlights my continuous argument that we need to do quarantine properly, doesn’t it? We still haven’t learned from Victoria’s debacle.

            Correct. Including Victoria. Still not national mandatory mask wearing indoors or on public transport, no national QR code system, not enough controls & testing around hotel quarantine staff. Without consistent national rules for living in a pandemic there will be border closures – as most States are not behaving like they are living in a Pandemic and the person sitting next to them could be infectious!

        • “It may look deranged to someone who does not understand epidemiology”

          “Why Sydney is facing a super-spreading disaster”
          by Raina MacIntyre, Head of the Biosecurity Research Program at the Kirby Institute, UNSW Medicine.
          “We could be looking at 3000 cases by January 8. You could not plan a disaster more perfectly if you tried.”
          https://www.smh.com.au/national/yule-be-sorry-why-sydney-is-facing-a-super-spreading-disaster-20201220-p56p0r.html
          Many of them couldn’t be more wrong and spread hysteria. She wrote that on Dec20th!.

          • +1
            This is precisely why people become skeptical of academics with no skin in the game.
            If I was a graduate of that institution I would be petitioning the vice-chancellor with other alumni and at minimum questioning the ethics of such scare tactic undermining the public confidence and bringing the institution into disrepute. Note, this is not saying ban her from putting out her views, but there now must be some public mea-culpa for getting it so wrong.
            Interesting to know if their ‘performance indicators’ is number of media mentions/articles/year. Perverse incentive indeed.

  2. alwaysanonMEMBER

    Mid-December before the last wave I booked a trip for my 40th birthday in early May to the NT (Uluru, Kakadu and Darwin). I am wondering what the odds are that we’ll still have a closed border (I’m in NSW) by then…

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Maybe that’s just to scare their recalcitrant neighbours into doing the right thing.

      There’s still a lot of bad blood with that Nuclear powerplant the Swedes built on the border.

    • I don’t know about the mortality rate in the UK and am not sure if the data for the new strain is even available yet, but…

      If the new strain is 40% – 80% more transmissible as mentioned above, there will be a massive bulge in numbers needing health care in an already crush loaded system. The NHS can’t cope as it is, so Feb and March look like a pretty horrific time to be an English doctor.

      It was predicted last March that if COVID got out of control, doctors would have make life or death decisions about who got treatment. Looks like it’s going to happen.

  3. With this sort of reaction from govt I suggest it would be very risky for any citizen to travel interstate for any reason. There is a good chance you could find yourself in 2-week quarantine or self-isolation.
    Is it really worth taking that short vacation, that shareholder-value-boosting business trip, or attending that Wedding, funeral or birthday party? Can you and/or your family survive you being locked-up for 14 days in some hotel hellhole, I mean some govt-crony-value-boosting establishment.

  4. This tourist area (Sapphire Coast) has been bubbling along better than expected. We had a Bumper Dec, & Christmas was the busiest it’s been in many a year – by far. But once Dan put out the call the party ended quickly & it was an instant ghost town for a few days. I’ve only had the chance to talk to one motellier straight after & they were pretty devastated. But today the streets have people & the boat ramp’s half full, so I’m guessing it’s not as bad as it initially looked to be. Awaiting better feedback next time I talk to the local barber – He’ll know!

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      That’s the same story I hear from family with AirBnBs up the Sunshine Coast and further north. Whenever there’s a glitch in the matrix they’ll have cancellations and may be empty for a couple of weeks before bookings start kicking off again from intrastate travellers.

      Those areas that treated locals okay are doing well enough to get by. We’re a tight bunch.

    • Apparently a viruses contagion ability accelerates and the mortality rate weakens over time. The strains that survive are the ones that spread fast but don’t kill the host.

      I don’t know if the data is available for the Uk strain but they must be working on it.

      • It is indeed interesting how the complexity and feedback of the selection processes work.
        If you imagine we eliminated all the variants of strains that don’t make you sick from the wider (non hospital) community, what is left, – variants that are more likely hospitalize.
        Not too dissimilar to how the best place to pick up a MRSA infection is from a hospital.

    • Anyone know what that 70% number is based on?
      Seen a number of scientists say it is not possible to actually determine this without some sort of controlled experiment. A statement by the UK govt. said that they had ‘moderate confidence’ these particular mutations made the virus more transmissible, which sounds suspiciously like language used with the confidence of Saddams WMDs.

      My initial thoughts were it was a political calculation, in other words Boris needs a reason for Tier4/5 ‘lockdowns’. Can’t lockdown without a scare story otherwise people will ask why the hell you didn’t lockdown sooner.
      This gives him a convenient reason – a scary mutation.

      The second is the round number itself – 70% which sounds like has been generated by committee.
      10,20,30,40% would not be scary enough, 100%+ sounds too implausible. That gives you 50 through 90. Take the middle of that.
      Humans are not good at coming up with a random number – ask people to pick a number from 1-10, ~30% will pick 7.
      Street hustlers use that irrationality all the time.

  5. Bulls win in overtime

    I’ve said right from the beginning the state border closures are a massive mistake. The country should have hard international border closures and free movement in the country. The thing being and what we are seeing now is that as soon as one state gets cases, the others will close their borders. Unless we eradicate the virus and stop it coming in or a vaccine is mass rolled out we are going to continue to see this tit for tat border closure.

    • working class hamMEMBER

      Border closures actually stop the spread of the virus. Imagine the spread if Vics last outbreak was able to spread to all capital cities? People barely respect the rules when its policed, Aust would still be in lockdown if interstate flights weren’t slowed.

    • This. If the feds had stepped in at any time and formulated a proper national quarantine program instead of this hotel debacle we wouldn’t have had the Vic outbreak or any of the others.

  6. Thank you! Could not agree more.
    There is absolutely no threshold now which is just ridiculous. To lock down and close boarders for one case is complete paranoia. Businesses are going bust because of these closures and people are losing their livelihoods. If politicians were faced with the consequences of losing their job if they closed the boarder then they would never close.

  7. Must say, missed my holiday at Palm Cove and Port Douglas last winter. In 2019 I thought their 80km/h speed limit and speed cameras everywhere was the height of fascism, guess I was wrong.

    People have become totally hysterical in the past year. Hard to know how (or if) we get back to any sense of what was normal behaviour. People been locked up too long, social niceties and politeness out the window as we all scream at each other online.

  8. We are more divided than ever, too willing to throw up the state shutters at the earliest opportunity.

    Its by design. Weren’t you cheering this on in the beginning?

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