So much for social distancing

Disturbing footage from Twitter user Sally Prosser shows just how at risk we are of COVID-19 infection, due to lax biosecurity measures on the ‘frontlines’.

Published on The New Daily on Thursday, the footage captured passengers blatantly disregarding social distancing rules designed to defend us against coronavirus.

“I just feel like it was a real kick in the guts to everyone out there doing the right thing,” said Ms Prosser.

“At the front line, there’s nothing, there’s no one even encouraging people to stand apart.”

At a time when most Australians are doing their part to stem the spread of COVID-19, it seems yet again, NSW      shows it still has some way to go in enforcing social distancing rules on its residents.

There’s currently a fight to find out who was responsible for letting 130 infected passengers off the Ruby Princess cruise ship in Sydney last week.

And footage of revellers disregarding social distancing rules at Bondi Beach was framed as a catalyst for the stricter rules that immediately followed, say some. This airport footage may well lead to full lockdown, say many others.

While Australia’s borders are closed to foreign travellers, and Australians banned from travel overseas, there are still some incoming flights for returning citizens and residents.

And, as of Thursday morning, every returning passenger must now be tested for COVID-19.

“The testing space is too small for all passengers, and disembarking is not being staggered to allow for social distancing,” said a spokesperson from the public sector union that represents biosecurity and Australian Border Force officers.

Some say this is a direct failure of government.

“It is astonishing that the government is telling the nation to social distance and take the utmost precautions but cannot take steps to assure us at our border,” said CPSU deputy national president Brooke Muscat-Bentley.

“This is a failure of planning, just like we have seen with Services Australia this week. The government has known what was coming but have just been unable or unwilling to prepare for it.”

It seems Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has some questions to answer.

“The NSW Police are taking over cruise ship arrivals. Airport queues are violating social distancing rules. The Australian Border Force is getting mixed messages and directions,” said Labor’s Kristina Keneally.

“The Minister for Home Affairs needs to get on top of our borders, today.”

Thankfully, the Prime Minister has answered the call, announcing late Friday that the army will help manage the mass quarantine of returning Australians. 

Quarantines apply to everyone who arrives at an Australian airport from midnight on Saturday, reports The New Daily, with travellers to be quarantined for 14 days at hotels or other accommodation in the state they fly to, regardless of their home state.

“You have come back into Australia, you need to live up to this pledge,” said Mr Morrison.

“The state and territory governments are going to make sure you do. And there are strong penalties for those who don’t comply with this and the states and territories are already moving in their enforcement measures.”

Does this footage disturb you? Or is it understandable? Are you happy with Mr Morrison’s response? Are you confident that our biosecurity protocols are having the desired effect?

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Related articles:
How to correctly self-isolate
Public transport shutdown possible
Australians wake to strict new laws

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.


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