Sky News: “PM’s ‘indefinite lockdown’ making Aussies ‘political prisoners’ of his election hopes”

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It appears that there might be some cracking coming out of Australia when it comes to the question of what the correct approach to the coronavirus pandemic is.

The Sky News (Australia) notes that in light of election-winning hopes, the Prime Minister has moved from suppression strategy to eliminating one that is practically impossible if they allow any international arrivals. The virus will find its way out, and eventually, this strategy will fail (look what happened during the Spanish flu).

Here’s an excerpt from the Sky News:

Australia has no “exit date” for international border closures which could continue indefinitely after the prime minister explicitly admitted he has “no game plan to re-join the rest of the world,” says Sky News host Rita Panahi.

Mr Morrison revealed to the Sunday Herald Sun he intended to keep Australia’s borders closed indefinitely, saying the completion of the vaccine rollout did not guarantee a reopening.

Mr Morrow said Scott Morrison was “saying as recently as January and February of this year the strategy was suppression not elimination and now he has come out and explicitly said elimination”.

“Scott Morrison has made himself a political prisoner to panicky premiers like Mark McGowan and Annastacia Palaszczuk and as a result he’s made us political prisoners of his re-election hopes.

Mr Morrow said the Coalition were in “full-on election mode” and “smashing that panic button as hard as they can to stay in power.”

Qantas

And here’s Herald Sun:

Scott Morrison says Australia will be closed to the world for a long time

Mr Morrison said that given the risk aversion of the state premiers he couldn’t be certain things would change even after the vaccine rollout was completed.

“The next big step that can be taken is that Australians who are vaccinated, based on clear evidence that this prevents transmissibility, are able to travel and return to Australia without having to hotel quarantine, and ideally we only have to engage in some sort of home quarantine of a less restrictive nature,” he said.

AUSTRALIA TO STAY SHUT OFF ‘FOR NOW’

Australia will stay closed to the world for now, he said, warning he doesn’t see an appetite to move ­beyond the suppression strategy that has shut the nation’s borders.

In an exclusive and wide-ranging interview with News Corp, the Prime Minister made clear there was no plan to alter the government’s approach to the pandemic that has created Fortress Australia.

Conclusion

So, keeping Aussies terrified and borders closed might be an election strategy for the Prime Minister?

As I wrote earlier this week, both Australia and New Zealand have weathered the Covid-19 pandemic well. Being an island helps when you can simply ban most flights and mandate a two-week hotel quarantine.

But what then is the way out? You cannot keep the border closed indefinitely.

It is difficult to see how coronavirus could be eliminated from the world due to vaccine hesitation among some populations and the mutation of the virus.

You need to accept some level of community transmission and a small number of deaths once the willing population has been vaccinated. None of the vaccines out wholly saves you from Covid-19 but massively diminishes the number of severe cases and deaths and likely affects the spreading of the virus too.

Closing the borders is the easiest thing to do, but then what? You cannot keep them closed indefinitely, and waiting for the virus to have been eradicated is not a strategy but lunacy.

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