Critics point out that people in these slums are treated disproportionately. Neighborhood residents often have an immigrant background and do less skilled work. The closure leads to serious financial consequences, as they are usually unable to do their work from home.
‘Frightening and unnecessary’
Local officials say the use of large weapons such as the military to enforce the measures is frightening and unnecessary. The mayor of a neighborhood, Steve Christo, says this is a sign that the state government has completely lost control. “The military should have been there to help distribute vaccines or deliver food parcels,” he told ABC. “Not being used against residents.”
Strict measures are being introduced while the number of infections is negligible compared to the Dutch figures. Today, 170 new infections were reported, compared to more than 4,500 in the Netherlands yesterday. In total, about 3,000 infections have been detected across Australia since the outbreak began in June. Nine people have since died from the effects of the virus.
Currently, only about 14 per cent of Australia’s population is fully protected from the virus. This makes the country the lowest vaccination rate in the Western world. Why is Down Under falling behind?
Australia’s zero-tolerance policy contrasts with policies in the rest of the world. While efforts are being made in the Netherlands to contain the virus, the Australian government is striving to eradicate it completely. Each infection is one too many. The fact that it is an island and can strictly guard its borders helps with this. Immediately in March 2020, the government closed the borders. Residents have already had to go into lockdown in a few cases. Thanks to this strict approach, Australia went through a period of calm.
The downside is that the vaccination campaign has been slow to start. Scott Morrison’s conservative government was in no hurry to buy vaccines. He regularly explained that running a vaccination campaign was “not a competition”.
The country has enough AstraZeneca vaccines, but due to conflicting advice, readiness among the population is low. Initially, the vaccine was not recommended for those under 60 years of age. But due to the ongoing crisis, everyone is now urged to get vaccinated with AstraZeneca. More Pfizer’s vaccine is eagerly expected to be delivered, but not enough is being made available to the entire population. Meanwhile, there are about three million unused AstraZeneca vaccines on the shelf.
With each new closure, unrest in the population increases. After nearly a year and a half, support for the tough coronavirus policy is starting to show cracks. In the past week, thousands of people have taken to the streets to demonstrate against the lockdowns. A demonstration is also scheduled in Sydney tomorrow.
When announcing a plan to exit the lockdown, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was suddenly talking about a game again today. He wants 70 percent of the population to be vaccinated by the end of the year. “We will win that gold medal,” he said.
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