For those that are itching to travel – one wonders why travellers want to go overseas to the distressed outside world with COVID-19 rampant. It is understandable why Australia would be a favourite destination to overseas travellers offering a safe haven.
The biggest problem Australia has faced is the Federal Government allowing flights into the country. In reality, about 40% of international arrivals are NOT Australian citizens. Why is there an outcry about not getting Australian citizens home?
66 out of every new 100 cases have been people flying into the country and dispersing throughout the community. Thus, in fact the Federal Government has been actively importing the virus and then criticising the States that they are not handling things well.
The other problem is NSW relaxed contact tracing without lockdowns. This is akin to putting out spot fires but not really controlling the flames. Until there is at least 70% vaccination NSW is really an unknown reservoir of COVID-19. It was NSW that triggered the main problem for the rest of Australia via the Ruby Princess fiasco. In fact, until 70% of the population of Australia is vaccinated there will be no herd protection.
There should be no problem restoring full flights into the country provided it is managed by a strict protocol. The danger is that some soft protocols are put in place by the bureaucrats to appease the politicians. Look at the recent evidence of political bungling that led to the whole State of Victoria being locked down for months and the epidemic of deaths of its population. Contrast this to Western Australia and Queensland these states kept their populations extremely safe and the state continued running freely.
From the known medical evidence the only safe protocol for international travellers arriving in Australia would be the following process with no shortcuts :-
- A passenger who has booked a flight to Australia should undergo BOTH COVID-19 immunisation and 2 tests
- The first test following vaccination would be 14 days before departure and the second 24 hours before departure. Both tests have to be negative. In the alternative a swab could be done at boarding as these results would be available when the plane touches down at its destination.
- The results of all the testing should be transmitted from the accredited Laboratory directly to the airline and matched to a boarding pass [easy with computers].
- The requirement that the passenger presents a certificate is nonsense in this day and age – as all certification presented by an individual is capable of being forged.
- Thus, an airline would be assured that the passengers are COVID-19 free as far as can be ascertained. An airline such as QANTAS can fly with a full plane load which can return the business to be financially viable again.
- To begin with, UPON arrival the 14 day quarantine should still be a requirement – with a COVID test on day 5 of quarantine this will pick up the passenger who acquired COVID-19 in flight. It takes 5 days of incubation for COVID-19 to declare itself. Another COVID test should be performed 48 hours before the end of quarantine and tested upon exit from quarantine.
A passenger may still acquire COVID-19 in flight from a fellow vaccinated passenger and mere vaccination may not make the other passenger immune from being infected. Vaccinated passengers may still be viral spreaders. The medical results indicate the vaccination merely provides protection from the severity of the infection, not the infection itself.
The simple alternative scenario touted is that a passenger must present a vaccination certificate only, this is not effective – as vaccination takes 2 weeks to take effect even though it is somehow coupled with the testing results. The passenger will be free to spread COVID-19 around Australia.
The only countries that would present huge problem is China, Russia and countries that do not have verifiable independent laboratories which are not in some way free from Government interference.
So the rush to have University Students coming in again in droves is not of benefit to the Australian economy and the health of the Australian population. The States can only cope with so much economic disruption if a group of individuals trigger another lockdown.
Any foreign passenger who manages to falsify any stage of the protocol should be finger printed , DNA swabbed and immediately deported to the point of departure of the flight. Also, not allowed to return for a period of 10 years.
It is a very simple process and safe travel can return to full commercial viability very quickly . There will be isolated minimal COVID-19 infection coming in but it would be easily and economically controlled.
The Wagner company from Toowoomba quarantine proposal is the most sensible one advanced so far. It should be upgraded to the equivalent of a 3 – 4 star complex, not a mining camp site facility. The international travellers will come in droves to escape the rest of the world. Visa infringements will also rise dramatically as no one coming here would want to go home.