Published: September 2020
Australia and New Zealand are among the last Western countries that follow a virus eradication strategy. Both have failed to fully suppress community transmission – Auckland went into full lockdown for a second time in August – but both have managed to keep covid deaths very low.
In fact, Australian covid deaths (850) are still lower than seasonal flu deaths (up to 4000) and suicides (up to 3000), and about 70% of covid deaths occurred in nursing homes, as a group of Melbourne doctors explain in a recent open letter to Victorian Premier Dan Andrews.
The state of Victoria, in particular, has imposed very harsh lockdown measures, including a 23-hour home detention (1 hour exercise per day), 8pm curfew, 3 mile radius without papers, no weddings and funerals, most businesses closed, drone and helicopter surveillance, mandatory masks indoors and outdoors, and road checkpoints and house searches without warrant.
The Down Under approach to covid is the polar opposite of the relaxed Swedish approach. It is true that Australia and New Zealand are high-risk populations with regards to covid due to their high rate of obesity and metabolic disease (comparable to the US). Nevertheless, any democratic society must ask itself if this is the way they want to handle such a situation.
What is more, Australia and New Zealand have no real exit strategy other than mass vaccination with experimental vaccines and/or permanent quarantining of incoming travelers. Countries that successfully closed their borders early, such as Taiwan, Japan and Norway, will face a similar question, because unlike SARS-1, the SARS-2 virus will not go away.
The following videos show disturbing scenes of covid-related police violence against citizens, including children and pregnant women, mostly in Melbourne and Victoria: woman 1, woman 2,
woman in car, mother/child, pregnant mother, grandmother, two elderly women, house search / door smashed, man 1, young man 2, man 3, beach arrest, military patrols, drone surveillance.
Update: Meanwhile in Australia (June 2021)