Unvaxxed Australians about to "lose freedoms"

(Peter Parks/Pool via AP)

The strange developments in Australia in response to their current surge in the Delta variant are continuing apace. This is particularly true in the state of New South Wales, where Premier Gladys Berejiklian just unveiled some new plans that appear to promise good news for many of her citizens while including ominous warnings for others. NSW has been under one sort of lockdown or another for a very long time now, with restrictions on the movement of citizens that would seem shocking even to residents of New York or California. But they’ve made a lot of progress with their vaccination rollout in recent months and expect to hit the 80% vaccination rate demanded by the government in the next couple of weeks. At that point, the Premier is going to be loosening or lifting many of the lockdown requirements, but only for those people who have been vaccinated. As for the rest, she’s warning everyone that the unvaccinated will be “losing freedoms” when the date arrives. (Australia news.com)

Unvaccinated NSW residents have been delivered a major blow, with officials confirming those in regional areas who haven’t received the vaccine will have some of their new-found freedoms reversed within weeks.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the 70 per cent roadmap, which is due to kick in on October 11, will apply to the whole state.

This means unvaccinated people living in areas that aren’t currently in lockdown will no longer be able to enjoy the same freedoms they have in recent weeks.

“So there will be individuals in regional and rural NSW who choose not to be vaccinated who will lose their freedoms on October 11,” Mr Barilaro.

Before getting to the details of this plan, it’s worth pointing out that the current “surge” in NSW doesn’t sound like much of a surge. Yesterday, they reported 961 new Covid cases and nine deaths. That’s out of a population of more than 8.1 million people. And this is the response they have launched. One can only imagine what they would have done if they’d been hit with the numbers New York City suffered last year.

The new “freedoms” for the vaccinated during this period (lasting at least until December) are still not unlimited, but it’s a vast improvement over what they have right now. Vaccinated people will be able to “travel freely” anywhere in NSW. They will be able to return to pubs and drink (but only while standing). Up to ten visitors above the age of 12 will be allowed in private homes and up to 20 people will be allowed to gather outdoors. Limits for vaccinated guests at weddings and funerals will be lifted.

As for the 20% of the population that remains unvaccinated, life will be even worse than it is now. Berejiklian is quoted as saying, “I think today is a very disappointing day for those who aren’t vaccinated. I think they assumed when we hit 80 percent double dose they would have certain freedoms.” If so, they were severely mistaken.

The unvaccinated will remain locked down in their homes with no non-cohabitating visitors. Travel will be restricted to only essential trips for food shopping or medical care. They will continue to be limited to being outdoors only a couple of hours per day and they are not to approach or speak to other people. Obviously, they will not be welcome at funerals or weddings or the soon-to-be-reopened swimming pools or beauty salons. They will effectively be held as prisoners in their own homes.

Don’t forget that the police are already beating people down and firing rubber bullets at them for simply being outdoors and it’s been captured on film. Attempts at organized protests against the vaccine mandates have been met with nearly the same sort of response we’ve seen from the Taliban to women attempting to protest their loss of rights in Kabul. Okay, it’s not quite that bad, since we haven’t seen anyone hung from a crane yet, but it’s pretty bad.

I’ve always thought of the Australian people as being a bunch of rugged individualists who thumb their noses at excessive authority. This pandemic has really cast a different light on the Australian government and I have to wonder how popular all of these actions will be during their next round of elections. Of course, that assumes that everyone will be allowed out of their homes to vote.