New South Wales state premier Gladys Berejiklian had this to say about Australian state-border controls on the 18th of June:
“Yes, we comprise a number of states and each premier has led their state in a different way or (taken) a different approach, but that’s no reason to have internal borders … I can’t see the logic in it. I think it’s crazy.”
And yesterday, less than three weeks later, she said:
… the rate of COVID-19 community transmission in parts of Melbourne gave NSW health officials no choice but to close the border [with Victoria] – and showed no regret or embarrassment for her prior comments on border closures.
While the rest of the country remains stable, Victoria has climbed from 60 active cases to 650 in four weeks.
Politicians used to think they could use COVID control measures for point scoring, especially between states under different political parties. I reserve capacity for a future hollow laugh here, but I hope this is the last of it.
For my overseas readers, Victoria is Australia’s second-largest state in population. The rest of the country has had a flat COVID curve for months, including Sydney where I live, but Melbourne has seen a sharp uptick in the last couple of weeks. It’s a stark reminder that we need to remain vigilant, and for our politicians to listen to health professionals and social workers.