opinion

"Please, Gladys. Lock us down properly so we can get out of this faster."

Dear Gladys, 

NSW Premier, please. Did we learn nothing from Victoria? 

Two weeks into a lockdown, with another week now confirmed, Sydney is looking down the barrel of an explosion of cases as the virus moves from the city's east to the west.

While infections are reducing in the outbreak's original epicentre the Eastern Suburbs, there are new areas of concern. Liverpool, Fairfield and Canterbury-Bankstown have vastly different demographics, and the trajectory of this cluster is starting to look familiar. 

Melbourne's 112 day lockdown was exacerbated by communities with larger households and individuals working jobs that didn't allow them to bunker inside their homes.

20 per cent of residences in Fairfield in Sydney's west are made up of five or more people compared to 3.7 per cent in the city, according to the Bureau of Statistics. 

While we're dealing with less cases than Victoria did then - dozens, not hundreds - the factors at play are too similar to ignore. You just have to look at Victoria's most recent lockdown, their fourth, to see how a strict approach gets the job done. By day 14 their cases were at 91, while a more relaxed NSW is already at 357.

But instead of locking down everything in NSW, most of our retail shops are still open. People are being encouraged to 'just do the right thing and stay home'.

Most of us are, but there are plenty who are not. Close the shops, give us a five kilometre radius, hell give us a curfew if you must. Anything to stop this lockdown from dragging on longer than three weeks. 

As The Project host Rachel Corbett told an all Victorian panel on Wednesday night, "I feel like we’re being treated like delicate flowers who couldn’t possibly deal with a lockdown when, in reality, we don’t want to go into a lockdown that continually gets extended because we’re hemming and hawing about where we should be."

Watch: Rachel Corbett on The Project. Post continues after video.


Video via Ten.

"I think everybody understands we’re in the middle of a pandemic.

"If something is going wrong, shut us the hell down and get us back to normal as soon as you possibly can. I don’t think there’s anything unreasonable in that," she added. 

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) estimates that for every week the lockdown continues, retailers collectively lose about $1 billion in trade.

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There's no JobKeeper this time, just grants of between $5000 and $10,000 for small businesses to apply for. While retailers welcome the measure, they say it's not enough to cover costs.

NSW has always been the most open, the least reactionary and heralded by the Prime Minister as the "gold standard" in COVID-19 management. Berejiklian - you have been careful to call our current lockdown a 'stay at home order'.

But if this is about politics, Premier, leave us out of it. In the long run, we don't want a repeat of what happened in Victoria in 2020, locked inside our home for months upon months because we didn't do enough when we had the chance. 

Last weekend half of the Eastern Suburbs was out at Kmart, the beach, and buying new trackies at their local Westfield because the rules were so lax and confusing. Today we learned household visits are helping to fuel the growth in cases, with 38 new infections recorded. It is the highest daily tally since the outbreak began in mid-June.

"It's so critical that we limit our movements," NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said. "No browsing at shops."

People are out shopping, because the shops are still open. They're driving across the city, because they're allowed. They're visiting their parents and family in their homes because this lockdown isn't restrictive enough and if they're allowed to go to Target, why can't they see their mum? This lockdown isn't strict enough, and now the virus has spread to suburbs where it'll be harder to shift it. 

So please just lock us down harder. Our lives are already on hold, so let's do everything we can to get out of this faster. 

Oh, and once we're out of this mess, let's pick up those vaccination rates so we never have to do this again. 

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Feature image: Getty.