Perhaps it was the moment the rescue dogs were shot.
Then again, perhaps it was the optics of using the military to lock down its citizens.
Or maybe officials are now more open to new scientific and historical information, such as the experiences during the global coronavirus pandemic of 1889.
But whatever the reasons are, Australians are being freed from the bondage of the nation’s current “Covid Zero” policy….slowly.
Australia is set to end its “covid zero” policy after Prime Minister Scott Morrison determined that the country’s approach is not “sustainable” in the face of the more infectious COVID-19 delta variant.
Australia has maintained a strict policy of restrictions and lockdowns to stamp out any outbreak, but the government over the weekend laid out a new plan that marks a sharp change in policy.
The government will drop most restrictions once 80% of adults are vaccinated, which the government believes could happen by the end of the year, The Economist reported. Any further action would occur only after hospitals reached a point at which they could no longer cope with new cases, but will otherwise handle what they can.
The delta variant provided a new challenge for a nation that The Washington Post once labeled a “pandemic success story.” The nation responded to the variant by instituting what it called “circuit breakers”: any detected cases would result in a lockdown to stop the spread “at the beginning.”
However, Morrison on Aug. 23 said the current course of action was “not a sustainable way to live in this country.”
And while vaccines certainly aren’t the magic bullet they were initially portrayed to be, at least accepting the fact that “Covid Zero” is not reasonably achievable is a sane step in the right direction. The timeline suggests the virus spread globally after the exposure occurred in the fall of 2019 during the World Military Games in Wuhan.
Suppose Australia can also pursue an early diagnosis, the development of effective and readily available treatments, and getting the population to embrace healthy eating and lifestyles. In that case, it will go much farther in halting severe illness and death when outbreaks inevitably occur.
Australia isn’t the only one ditching “Covid Zero” as a goal: So is Singapore.
Singapore has decided to give up on the dream of covid-zero and will instead learn to “live with the virus,” according to the country’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday. The decision comes despite the fact that Singapore has one of the highest covid-19 vaccination rates in the world, with 80% of the adult population fully vaccinated—second only to the country of Malta’s 82%.
Singapore, a country of roughly 5.7 million people, has been among a handful of countries that have pursued a strategy of completely eliminating covid-19, rather than just suppressing the virus. Other covid-zero countries over the past year have included New Zealand, Taiwan, China, Vietnam, and Australia.
“It is no longer possible to bring covid-19 cases down to zero, even if we lock down for a long time. Therefore, we must prepare for covid-19 to become endemic, like the flu or chicken pox,” Lee said on Sunday during a speech to commemorate the country’s National Day, according to a transcript from the Strait Times.
Finally, let’s take a look at “Covid Zero” New Zealand. It’s being reported a woman’s death is linked to the Pfizer vaccine.
The information was released by the health ministry following a review by an independent Covid-19 vaccine safety monitoring board of the death of a woman after receiving the vaccine. The ministry’s statement did not give the woman’s age.
The board considered that the woman’s death was due to myocarditis, which is known to be a rare side effect of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, the statement said. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle that can limit the organ’s ability to pump blood and can cause changes in heartbeat rhythms.
The country now has 107 COVID-19 cases.
There are 35 new cases of Covid-19 in the community, bringing the total number linked to the Auckland outbreak to 107.
Of these, 99 cases are in Auckland and eight are in Wellington. All the cases have been or are being transferred to a managed isolation facility.
Fewer than half of the 13,000-odd contacts linked to the outbreak have been tested, the Ministry of Health said.
I made New Zealand COVID Twitter mad the other day by saying their lockdown wasn’t going well, and they angrily suggested if I checked back in a few days, cases would clearly be starting to turn down
So I did.
Annnd nope, still not working! pic.twitter.com/q93BbLPYOX
— IM (@ianmSC) August 28, 2021
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