Increasingly Violent Opposition To The Vaccine Mandate
Construction workers who are opposed to the new restrictions have made their positions known in protests that have escalated in recent days.
After the government closed down tearooms at work sites, some workers took their lunch breaks outside on Friday. They set up tables and plastic chairs in multiple intersections in central Melbourne, blocking roads and holding up traffic.
On Monday, people gathered outside the headquarters of the prominent Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union to protest the mandate, chanting and yelling before attempting to storm the building.
Angry protesters threw bottles and smashed loudspeakers, according to local media reports.
Hundreds of construction workers outside their CFMEU union headquarters on Elizabeth Street, furious about mandatory vaccinations which start Friday for their industry.
Riot police deployed on the scene allegedly used rubber bullets and pepper spray to disperse crowds, the BBC reported, adding that the headquarters building was damaged and “several people” were arrested in the process.
The union later issued a statement condemning the violence “in the strongest possible terms,” noting that an unspecified number of people were injured by violent acts, including the throwing of bottles. But it also distanced itself from the protesters, attributing the actions to “extremists or people manipulated by extremists.”
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What Canada Can Learn From Australias Covid Response
This temporary Saskatchewan expat is loving Melbourne this summer, for the reason many of the locals arent. Its cool not cool as in hip, but low-20s temperature cool. Great for running and biking and walking. Not so great for the beach or dining on restaurant patios and decks.
Those patios and decks are nonetheless open and full , spilling out onto busy streets full of shoppers. The Australian economy is now projected to grow by 3.2 per cent in 2021, a major turnaround from last Julys estimate of minus 4.1 per cent for this year. Whence this miracle?
Maybe pandemic control has something to do with it. Here, pandemic control is not an oxymoron. Australia isnt an orderly, fastidious society like Japan or hospitable to healthy doses of authoritarian rule like Singapore. It is a raucous democracy with its politics evenly divided between conservative and progressive camps. Last November saw a big anti-lockdown demonstration in Melbourne convened to protest the measures that drove the case count down to zero.
But as of Feb. 5, Australia has had 35 COVID deaths-per-million since the beginning of the pandemic. By comparison, Canada has had 543.
Early in the pandemic, no one knew with certainty how contagious or lethal it was and which measures were essential to containing it. Different jurisdictions tried different policies and practices. The results of the global experiment are in. What can we learn from Australia?
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Human Biosecurity Emergency Declaration
On 18 March 2020, a human biosecurity emergency was declared in Australia owing to the risks to human health posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, after a National Security Committee meeting the previous day. The Biosecurity Act 2015 specifies that the Governor-General may declare such an emergency exists if the Health Minister is satisfied that “a listed human disease is posing a severe and immediate threat, or is causing harm, to human health on a nationally significant scale”. This gives the minister sweeping powers, including imposing restrictions or preventing the movement of people and goods between specified places, and evacuations. The Biosecurity Declaration 2020 was declared by the Governor-General, David Hurley, under Section 475 of the Act. The Biosecurity Determination 2020, made by the Health Minister on the same day, forbids international cruise ships from entering Australian ports before 15 April 2020.
A social distancing rule of four square metres per person in any enclosed space was agreed by National Cabinet on 20 March, to be implemented through State and Territory laws. On 22 March 2020, the State governments of New South Wales and Victoria imposed a mandatory closure of non-essential services, while the Governments of Western Australia and South Australia imposed border closures.
How Did California Go From Covid
With the lowest COVID-19 infection rate among all states as of Friday, California, which has some of the strictest mask and vaccination mandates in the country, has managed to flip the script as the former U.S. epicenter of the pandemic.
“They’ve been very much forward-thinking in terms of policies around vaccination requirements and mandates,” said epidemiologist Dr. John Brownstein, chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital and an ABC News contributor.
As of Friday evening, California had an infection rate of 61.1 cases per 100,000 over the past week, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state was briefly the only to be classified with a “moderate” rate of transmission — 10 to 49.99 cases per 100,000 over seven days — before it went back up to “substantial,” meaning 50 to 99.99 cases per 100,000 over seven days.
Over the previous week, Hawaii, Florida, Louisiana, Connecticut, New Jersey, Mississippi, Maryland, Georgia and Washington, D.C., each also reported “substantial” rates.
A rate of at least 100 cases per 100,000 is labeled as “high.” Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Alaska, as of Friday, had the highest rates over the previous seven days, with each above 450 cases per 100,000 people. The U.S. average over that span was 150.9.
Experts said California’s journey from worst to first is likely due to a combination of things.
‘Ending this pandemic’
‘More work to do’
The great outdoors
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What Happens To The Information We Collect
Only anonymous information is collected for this global research.
Cookies are used to monitor your symptoms over time . You can select a no-cookies option and still join us in beating COVID-19 by completing a single entry, for yourself or for your friends or family members. Youll be given this option right at the start.
All of the information will be analysed by teams of scientists to understand more about the virus, including the combinations of symptoms, and change in symptoms across commnities that may indicate the emergence or recession of an outbreak. The results will be shared with local, regional and government authorities and public health networks.
Respiratory Allergies Allergic Rhinitis And Allergic Asthma
People who have hay fever or allergic asthma may have similar symptoms to the symptoms of COVID-19. Some differences are:
- fever does not occur with hay fever or allergic asthma
- itchy nose, itchy and watery eyes, and itchy throat and palate are common symptoms of hay fever but not COVID-19.
More information about the different symptoms is available in the COVID-19: Identifying the symptoms factsheet.
It can be difficult to tell if your symptoms are due to allergies or to COVID-19. You should stay home and get tested:
- when you first get the allergy symptoms, and
- if your symptoms are unexpected, seem different or worse than usual, or do not respond to your usual medication.
Find out more in our video featuring Dr Nick Coatsworth talking about allergies and testing for COVID-19.
If you are concerned you may have COVID-19:
Answer questions about your symptoms to see if you need to seek medical help or get tested. This tool is available online at any time.
If you do not have any symptoms, you should still protect yourself and others.
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But Is Everyone Happy
But Mr Morrison argues those states can’t hide from the virus forever.
“Most states in Australia need to realise that eventually they have to come off Covid zero, because it’s just not sustainable forever,” says Prof Mueller.
“You have to start preparing people for what life looks like, you have to start looking for solutions to the problem rather than just stopping at the problem.”
How An Australian State Beat Its Second Wave Of Covid
This article was published more than 6 months ago. Some information may no longer be current.
Every morning in Melbourne, Jason Thompson waits with his heart in his throat for the official coronavirus count to come out.
On Friday, he was relieved to find that the state of Victoria, where Melbourne is located, had reached a milestone that many of his detractors thought was impossible. Victoria, which was the epicentre of Australias second wave, had gone 14 days without recording a single new case of COVID-19.
Its just a relief, really, Dr. Thompson said. People said we couldnt get under five that wed be lucky to get under 10.
Dr. Thompsons relief was especially profound because he led a controversial modelling effort that Victorias Premier, Daniel Andrews, held up as the reason the lockdown in Melbourne went on as long as it did.
Victoria eventually beat back the virus by testing widely, tracing contacts aggressively and enforcing some of the most Draconian restrictions in the democratic world. As Canadas own second wave sweeps every province west of the Maritimes, there are lessons to be learned from the experience of Melbourne even if it does enjoy the advantage of being in a temperate island country that doesnt share the worlds longest land border with the United States.
The Canadian Press
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So What’s The New Plan
About 36% of Australians over 16 are fully vaccinated – far from enough to exit lockdowns, experts say.
“This groundhog day has to end, and it will end when we start getting to 70% and 80%,” Mr Morrison said last week.
But Australia is picking up pace – it is now jabbing arms faster than the UK and US did at their peaks.
At current rates, Australia could vaccinate 70% of its over-16s by mid-October.
The nation has also begun vaccinating children over 12.
The nation plans to ease out of lockdowns then, and vaccinated people will be granted more freedoms.
But it will continue testing and tracing, and retain low-level restrictions like mask-wearing and social distancing. Smaller lockdowns will also be a possibility but are considered unlikely.
“The plan that is proposed is actually very thoughtful and careful,” says Prof Ivo Mueller, a population health and immunity expert from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne.
“It’s not ‘Freedom Day’, it’s not ‘let’s throw everything out the window and go party’ – that’s not what’s being proposed.”
How Is Beat Covid
Beat COVID-19 Now provides a digital platform that community members can trust and comprehensively self-monitor and register their exposure, symptom development and lived experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. This app is unique because it monitors exposure to COVID-19, positive cases, communication behaviour practices, health literacy, digital health literacy, and food and medicine security.
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Why Has Australia Switched Tack On Covid Zero
Australia has changed its Covid strategy: it’s time to leave lockdowns and “come out of the cave”, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said.
With vaccinations accelerating, he says Australians will soon “live with the virus” for the first time – that is, not try to eliminate it.
It’s a drastic shift for a country used to seeing very few infections.
Australia Beat The World On Shutting Out Covid
An increasingly frustrated Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison turned to an animated film last week to drive home his point that the country needs to reopen COVID-19 or no COVID-19.
“It’s like that movie ‘The Croods’,” he said, referring to the 2013 movie about a prehistoric family forced to leave their home. “People wanted to stay in the cave … We can’t stay in the cave and we can get out of it safely.”
Since then, debate on the issue has descended into a less than family-friendly slinging match between states over a national plan to open internal borders before Christmas.
The problem is not all of Australia is keen to leave the cave so quickly.
In Australia’s largest eastern cities of Sydney and Melbourne, rising COVID-19 infections have led to months-long lockdowns and strict rules on who can travel interstate.
Businesses are suffering, families are split, and the ongoing uncertainty is taking a toll on people’s mental health.
Yet in parts of the country that have managed to contain COVID-19, including the states of Western Australia and Queensland, there is little appetite to open borders and allow the virus in.
After 18 months of basking in their success in keeping COVID-19 out, Australian politicians are now being forced to pivot from a zero COVID-19 strategy to living with the virus.
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How Delta Went Through The Weak Spots
Epidemiologists say the Delta variant has proven to be the most infectious and transmissible of all the strains so far.
Where there were cracks in Australia’s defence system, it succeeded in exploiting them.
The nation’s border and quarantine system had been increasingly challenged since the first variants emerged in late 2020.
Officials documented cases where travellers were catching the virus in quarantine, despite staying in separate rooms.
Experts raised concerns about air recirculation and the lack of fresh air in city hotels.
Around 370,000 people have gone through the system. But there have been 10 breaches leading to outbreaks.
Two outbreaks troubling Australia right now come from people who served hotel quarantine. One is a mine worker in the Northern Territory who caught the virus in Queensland quarantine. The other is a Queensland woman whose infection surfaced just as she completed her stay.
Despite these flaws, experts note that Delta is a “formidable foe” due to its high infection rates.
In New South Wales, of which Sydney is the state capital, officials are reporting near 100% household transmission compared to 25% for earlier strains. People there have caught the virus just from passing one another in a shop.
“Delta is just extremely, highly contagious. And even with the vaccinated workforce there’s still potential to transmit,” says Prof Nancy Baxter, head of the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne.
Failure : Shifting Strategies And Mixed Messages
The lack of a clear, overarching crisis strategy has resulted in a reactive policy approach, featuring confusing messages.
At first there was confusion about exactly which businesses or events should be shut down. There were also inconsistencies between the Commonwealths position and the states. For example, most states closed or partially closed their public schools around Easter and began reopening them when cases went down more than a month later. Despite concerns raised by some state governments, Prime Minister Morrison repeatedly insisted there was no risk in sending children to school. Childcare centres remained officially open throughout.
The mixed messages have been particularly pronounced on Australias approach to the virus itself. The federal government initially talked about slowing the spread, but some states argued for a stop the spread strategy. This tension increased confusion about how far Australias lockdown restrictions should go. Debate raged between people who argued that herd immunity was Australias only realistic option, and those who pushed for elimination of COVID-19 in Australia.
In the end, the case count provided its own answer. Several states began to record multiple days and weeks with no new cases, showing that elimination may indeed be possible.
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Who Is Most At Risk
In Australia, the people most at risk of catching the virus are:
- travellers who have recently been overseas
- those who have been in close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
- people in correctional and detention facilities
- people in group residential settings.
You are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19 if you:
- are age 70 years and older
If you have any medical conditions it is recommended you discuss your individual risk and what you can do to protect yourself with your treating doctor. See our advice for people at risk.
At this stage the risk to children and babies, and the role children play in the transmission of COVID-19, is not clear. However, there has so far been a low rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases among children, relative to the broader population. For more information about COVID-19 and children please read this fact sheet.
There is limited evidence at this time regarding the risk in pregnant women.
Australia’s Outbreak Fueled By The Delta Variant Spreads To New Zealand
Bill Shorten the former opposition leader and current member of Parliament who serves as shadow minister for the national disability insurance scheme and for government services said in a TV interview that some protesters were construction workers while others were “fake tradies.”
“There is a network of hard-right, man-baby Nazis,” he said, “people who just want to cause trouble. … They want to complain about the vaccination, and they deserve to get the full force of everything that’s coming their way.”