Covid spreaders who ended zero-covid in Australia

Covid spreaders who ended zero-covid in Australia. Social cohesion and community spirit is not what it was.

Tom Dusevic.

Delta is at large in Dubbo, a stealthy and vicious chaser to the illicit drugs sold by virus-carrying dealers.

Anger and fear are running through this western NSW community, as Covid-19 positive young men move around housing estates in defiance of stay-at-home orders, infecting their families and dozens of other vulnerable households.

As the number of infected people pushes towards 500 in the town of 34,000 that is the locus of the pandemic in the region, people have had enough. Community leaders are appealing to serial ­offenders through social platforms and by speaking to them ­directly, but wonder if it is making any difference given a “deficiency in empathy”, as one person ­described it.

Dubbo Mayor Steve Lawrence tells The Australian criminal ­behaviour makes it harder to suppress transmission of the virus, putting pressure on limited health resources and making it more likely the lockdown will go for longer. He says while 95 per cent of people are obeying public health orders, compliance can be really difficult for people living in crowded public housing.

Authorities trying to change the behaviour of young men defying health orders have made little difference. …

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie says “crime hasn’t stopped because of Covid”. “There are individuals who don’t follow the rules at any time,” he says. “They’re prepared to just carry on doing what they always do during Covid and they’re putting themselves and others at risk. Many belong to large families with vulnerable members in poor health. …

Wiradjuri elder Frank Doolan says the “pandemic exposes a lot of things and in this case it’s the disconnect between young people and the community”. …

Last month The Australian reported the source of the Dubbo outbreak was a drug dealer who had come to town via Sydney.

Often police will have arrested a person, who then becomes ill and is taken to hospital for a check and then tests positive for the virus. McKechnie says four police officers have been infected during the outbreak.

But it’s not only criminals who are breaking the health orders, says the senior officer. There is a broader group of people who normally wouldn’t be offending, but have received infringement notices for visiting friends or hosting barbecues. …

Police Aboriginal youth teams are still doing their work in the community, trying to ensure compliance with health orders and to stay in touch with kids at risk.

Lawrence says policymakers need to engage with the reality of communities. “For example, we know that the illicit drug trade has been responsible for a number of outbreaks of the virus across Australia,” he says.

James Hall:

Health authorities are sweating on the Covid-19 status of a Queensland family who finally gave permission to be tested after sneaking into the state from Melbourne. …

The family’s back roads entry into Queensland and initial refusal to be tested forced an entire school into home quarantine earlier on Thursday.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said two of the children gave the family up when they started telling fellow pupils at the Australian International Islamic College in Carrara about the family of five’s trip to Melbourne.

The family are now in hotel quarantine and only agreed to co-operate with authorities on Thursday afternoon. …

“Police have informed us that they have information that they’ve returned around three days ago and two of the children went to school and those children told their classmates that they had recently been in Melbourne.”

Australia is not the high-trust society it was fifty years ago. Such progress!