/ 03 March 2021

Going the distance with COVID

Before you get too much pep in your 2021 step, the World Health Organisation yesterday said it’s “unrealistic” to think the pandemic will be over this year. But there is some good news… Dr Michael Ryan, the director of WHO’s emergencies program, said data from countries rolling out vaccinations shows that “if we’re smart, we can finish with the hospitalisations and the deaths and the tragedy associated with this pandemic” by the end of 2021.

Yeah nah… Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the first locally-acquired cases of the coronavirus in Australia. And while we’ve been through a bit since then (more than some/not as much as others…), things are on the up with the vaccination program kicking off and restrictions continuing to ease nationwide. But the WHO also delivered a reality check – the virus is mutating, and nothing is guaranteed in an evolving pandemic. And there’s one hotspot that’s worrying international experts – Brazil. The virus is off and racing there again, leading one expert to predict: “If Brazil does not control the virus, it will be the largest open laboratory in the world for the virus to mutate.” Yikes…

Dunno… But Western Oz Premier Mark McGowan wants to keep a good thing going. No, not the coronavirus crisis – the border checks the state has set up to keep travellers from hotspots out of the state. McGowan yesterday said he could see merit in maintaining a “controlled border” to keep illicit drugs out of the state in a post-pandemic world. “And if civil libertarians or the like don’t like that, my argument would be that keeping meth out of WA is very important,” he said yesterday. He later clarified his comments saying he wouldn’t extend the mandatory traveller registration system, but he is interested in more vehicle inspections. McGowan is in the middle of a one-sided election campaign with locals going to the polls on 13 March.

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