They said it couldn’t be done, but it has. Victoria has now had 28 consecutive days of no new coronavirus cases, and now has no active cases. We meet the epidemiologists definition of coronavirus having been eliminated.
This is a great tribute to the hard yards put in by the vast majority of Victorians, who have followed the health messages and the Government’s State of Emergency directives. It is also a vindication of the Victorian Government’s strategy and resolve, and of the epidemiologists and those who said we should be aiming to eliminate coronavirus from our state and from our country.
Those who said it couldn’t be done, and that we would simply have to learn to live with coronavirus, now have egg on their faces. They were prepared to put the economy before public health. Their priorities were plain wrong.
Many of the opponents of the Government’s drastic measures did so in the name of freedom – freedom not to wear a mask, freedom from curfews, freedom from travel restrictions etc. But to walk around Melbourne’s streets now is to taste real freedom. This is not merely the freedom not to wear a mask outdoors, or the freedom to travel wherever we like and visit whoever we like whenever we like. Now we are free of the fear of catching or spreading coronavirus – that is real freedom.
But there’s a catch (isn’t there always a catch?). While Australia is beating coronavirus, much of the rest of the world is a basket case, with cases increasing, not reducing. It is said that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and so it is here. We cannot open up our borders, or soften the quarantine arrangements, to suit the economic interests of some businesses. This must wait until the vaccines which are being developed are effective and in widespread use.
Until that happy day, we must continue with the hard international borders, and continue to enjoy our hard-won freedom. We’ve earnt it.
The Hon. Kelvin Thomson
Sustainable Australia Party