Keep our borders closed, says member

YourLifeChoices member Nigel Fisher sent us a letter late last week, expressing concern over comments made in our article Australia’s international travel ban could be lifted within weeks.

Mr Fisher makes some very good points, some of which reflect general community sentiment. We asked Mr Fisher if we could republish his comments, and he kindly obliged.

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I’m writing to express my concerns of comments made and issues raised within the article relating to the lifting on international travel bans. In particular, that the state governments, which still have their state borders closed, are deemed as being ‘a nuisance’ due to the ‘hindering border disputes’ and ‘an obstacle to progress’ to trans-Tasman travel.

As a resident of Western Australia, which still has closed borders, I can say, closed borders are great. There are more Western Australians alive today due to our closed borders than if they were left open, leaving more of us to become COVID-19 positive.

Community spread of the virus here has been extremely low, and since our borders were closed, the number of cases within the state are nearly all attributable to outside contamination; that is, from people arriving in this state either by ship or aircraft.

As of 29 May, active COVID-19 cases in WA numbered 25: 20 from the ship Al Kuwait (a sheep carrier voyaging from Doha to Fremantle) and five who arrived in Perth on repatriation flights via Doha. One is a West Australian resident, the other four are residents from other states and territories and were due to continue on domestic flights to their homes. All of these five are in quarantine.

Western Australia has not seen the same level of community spread of the disease as there has been in the eastern states. In fact, community spread in some eastern states is still increasing.

In 1665, the village of Eyam in Derbyshire, England, became a battleground for the plague, the ‘Black Death’, which was sweeping across England at that time. Plague-carrying fleas were imported into the village on some bales of cloth from London.

In response, two priests, of differing faiths, took control of the village, and stopped all movement in and out of the village to prevent the spread of the plague from reaching other nearby villages and other areas of the county.

People from other close-by villages would leave food on large stones placed at all roads leading to Eyam. This food would then be distributed around the village by the villagers, with none of the food donors being in contact with the villagers. Several hundred of the villagers perished due to the plague, but it did not spread to the neighbouring villages. 

Isolation worked then. It will work today.

COVID-19 is a disease with no current cure and it cannot be vaccinated against. It has spread worldwide in an alarmingly short space of time with over five million people infected, resulting in more than 350,000 deaths. Our only defence currently is isolation.

It may seem draconian. It’s upsetting and has caused many holidays to be cancelled, overseas and interstate. My wife and I have had our planned home-swap holiday to New Zealand cancelled, and I’m unsure whether I will be able to obtain a refund on my airfare. But we are both well and, more importantly, alive. 

Sorry, the tourism losses may seem terrible, but better to lose them than our lives.

Keep our international and state borders closed. No Kiwi would thank us for picking up COVID-19 in one of the eastern state capitals, and we wouldn’t thank them if they then brought it into Western Australia. This is bigger than our personal holiday plans.

Do you agree with Mr Fisher? Please share your comments below.

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Related articles:
https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/travel/news/creating-a-transtasman-bubble
https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/travel/travel-qanda/what-is-an-immunity-passport
https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/health/covid19/verdict-on-our-covid19-response

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