It’s obvious now we were lulled into a false sense of security several weeks ago by Queensland CHO Jeannette Young when she said future lockdowns were unlikely. Our CHO has panicked once again, caused the Premier a sleepless night, and Brisbane is once again in a costly and unnecessary lockdown.
Obviously, it’s bad for tourism. It’s disruptive. It ignores fundamental civil liberties. It smashes business confidence. All of these costs for only a small number of COVID cases, and with the vaccine being rolled out, and on the day after JobKeeper has ended. It defies common sense.
The argument goes that the lockdown means we can get on top of the cluster and hopefully all is good for Easter. But how can this be so when the case numbers we’ll see over the next few days will have been determined by events one week or two weeks ago? The lockdown we’ve entered into makes it more likely, not less likely, that we’ll be in lockdown over Easter. We’re already in lockdown, so, unless we see only one or two new cases, I expect the government will keep us in lockdown. This is complete madness.
For a rational conversation on the undesirability of the new three-day Brisbane lockdown, check out Steve Austin’s masterful interview of ANU Professor Peter Collignon on 612 ABC Brisbane this afternoon (from around 1:48:03). Recall that Professor Colllignon was critical of the early January Brisbane lockdown. I think that, if you have such an eminent medical scientist critical of a health policy measure, you should have a more critical view of the judgment of our CHO.
I argued against the extension of the CHO’s emergency powers and against further lockdowns – unless our public health system was at risk of overwhelm – back in January at the Parliamentary Inquiry into the relevant bill, but, alas, fear prevailed among our elected representatives. Only the One Nation member Stephen Andrew had the wisdom and courage to oppose the extension of the CHO’s powers. Check out my post:
We can’t go on with these disruptive lockdowns whenever we get a handful of cases. I was supportive of the first lockdown last year because everything was so uncertain, and we had so many more cases each day. But we’ve had time to get a decent contact tracing system in place – we hope – and we should not have to resort to these costly and totalitarian lockdown measures if we’re only seeing a small number of cases.
For strident arguments against lockdowns, check out my Economics Explored interview with UNSW Professor of Finance Peter Swan AO.
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