Here we are in week one of a new year. To nobody’s great surprise, the omicron variant of covid-19 is spreading like wildfire. But I’m a little bit surprised that the Powers-That-Be did not anticipate the impact on testing centres, both from people being exposed to the disease and from people who are required to get tested after being in Queensland for six days as a condition of being allowed in. Oh – I forgot the people required to get a negative test before travel.
Having soaring cases of covid in the community is an inevitable part of learning to live with the virus and we were all told to expect it to happen. But the PTB didn’t really consider the impact of that reality and what would happen to the covid testing clinics. They were overwhelmed – especially on public holidays when the clinics were (inexplicably) closed.
Now the PTB are scrambling to control the situation. Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) are being encouraged as an alternative to sitting for hours in a queue at a testing centre, and those who prove to be positive are being told to go home and isolate rather than clogging up hospital emergency departments unless their condition deteriorates. Hopefully the days of testing everybody who might have been in contact with a covid case are coming to an end.
Here in Hervey Bay we wear masks to the supermarket (our go-to choice of travel these days). It’s a simple way of trying to keep other people safe, even if the masks do become a bit warm. Most of the community is complying but I’m amazed at the number of individuals who wear the mask over their mouth but not their nose. After all, when a covid test is performed, swabs are taken from the throat and from the nose. It is a respiratory disease.
I’m sure covid will be disrupting our lives for many weeks but hopefully we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Fingers crossed it’s not a train.
The other big news is, of course, Novak Djokovic, who has been refused entry to Australia to defend his title at the Australian Tennis Open because he is not vaccinated and cannot prove that he has a medical exemption. Tennis Australia and the Victorian Government were willing to accept that Djokovic met the criteria to play. After all, the world’s number one player could be expected to be a big drawcard for the competition. But correspondence between tennis officials and border authorities plainly show that having had covid within the last six months did not make anyone exempt from vaccination. I know the man contracted covid in 2020 – but that’s rather more than six months ago. UPDATE: I seems he might have had covid again in December 2021. But nobody seems to be able to produce any documents to support Djkovic’s contention. He’s a well known anti-vaxxer, which is, of course, his decision to make. It is also up to Australian authorities who they let into the country.
Many Australians support the government’s stance in refusing the world number one entry. Too many ‘celebrities’ and/or rich people have avoided quarantine while ordinary folks wanting to visit dying parents, or get their children to the nearest hospital, albeit in another state, have been refused. Djokovic was vocal about having to endure quarantine last year. As Raffa Nadal (a gentleman of the game) said, “there are rules, and if you don’t want to get the vaccine, then you can have some troubles … if he wanted, he would be playing here in Australia without a problem.” [source] Abide by them or stay home. (I’m hoping Raffa wins the title.)
I confess I’m one of those that thinks that Djokovic is a full-of-himself prima donna. This article from sports website SI, written in Feb 2021, is worth a read. “The Heels Have Eyes, and Novak Djokovic Knows and Sees All – From his personal battles against vaccinations and quarantines to his belief in the, uh, communicative powers of water, it’s been some year at the Church of the World No. 1.” Well worth a read.
As for an international incident with Serbia – give me a break. I can’t imagine the Serbs letting someone from another country dictate the rules for who can come to their country. The suggestion the man is in prison until his lawyers can get an appeal through is laughable. He’s in a hotel and he’s free to leave (the country) whenever he likes. And frankly, the sooner he buggers off, the better.
I should add a disclaimer – tennis to me is only slightly more interesting as a spectator sport than F1 racing, both of them just below watching grass grow – which is happening apace at our place. Seems Pete has to mow every week or so. But I am thoroughly enjoying the Ashes. (For those who just went ‘Huh?’ that’s test match cricket between England and Australia.)
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And to finish, here’s a picture of a couple of damp lorikeets squaring off for an incident.