Other states used some security guards but they were always supervised by police officers or soldiers or other uniformed personnel. That made all the difference in the world.
All the way through this crisis, Andrews has spoken in the most melodramatic terms about the life-and-death consequences of everyday decisions. If you go out shopping, people will die, no pair of shoes is worth a life, etc. And he positively excoriated golf, apparently the devil’s own pastime.
Yet when faced with managing a group of people — international returnees going into quarantine — who were almost certainly carrying a disproportionate rate of virus infections, and who were possibly traumatised by the struggle many had to get home at all and were therefore likely to chafe against a fortnight in a hotel room, the Andrews government chose the least-trained workforce it could possibly imagine for the job.
This is staggering incompetence. Anyone familiar with the security industry knows how meagre its general training is. … Guards were given 30 seconds training, meaning they just signed a form saying they’d read a piece of paper, or sometimes three minutes training, for the hotel roles. …
Now in its customary politburo style, the Victorian government has decided it doesn’t need to answer a single question, nor accept a single iota of democratic accountability for this debacle until an official inquiry reports, presumably when the heat has gone out of the issue.
But there were political failures too. The Andrews government was happy to name all sorts of institutions with breakouts when it suited them politically, even a school linked to an inactive case to support the government’s then desire to keep schools shut.
But the Cedar Meats abattoir — Labor donors and full of Labor mates — had their identity protected until it was dragged out by the media. This turned out to be a very significant outbreak. Surely common sense tells you that naming them early would have encouraged any of their casual contacts to get tested.
A measure of a political leader’s quality is how stringently they will speak to their own supporters when necessary. Andrews notionally discouraged demonstrators, but his efforts to get people not to attend the Black Lives Matter demonstrations were pitiful.
If you go shopping, people will die, never translated into: if you go demonstrating, people will die.
The governments in Australia are certainly going to a lot of trouble to crush COVID-19. The cost is high.
Shame we didn’t close the borders in early February, as we suggested, which would have avoided most of the cost. Odd how the media and commentators in this country completely miss that point. They will not blame government for putting us in harm’s way by not paying attention and being slow to close the borders. Instead, Morrison and the state premiers are lauded for the great job they did!
Meanwhile, the death rates continue to fall — as the virus mutates, as those with co-morbidities get better at hiding, and as medical treatments improve. I don’t think I’ve seen this mentioned in the media anywhere, but surely it’s a very pertinent development? Still, there is an awful lot we don’t know about this disease and how much damage it does to those it does not kill.
All these actions to avoid COVID buy us time. Four double-blind vaccine trials are now underway in the US, and might produce a vaccine by Christmas. Though how well any emergent vaccine will have been tested will be debatable.
It is apparent now that most of the world lacks either the physical resources or political will to avoid COVID. It’s going to be endemic in much of the world. China successfully sickened most of the world.