Restoring a democracy that the Neo-Cons butchered

I was of the view that Newspoll was going out of the…

Punishing Whistleblowers at the United Nations

The United Nations prides itself on exposing, monitoring and noting the travails…

Going Global with NATO

Regional alliances should, for the most part, remain regional. Areas of the…

Whatever it takes

By 2353NM Some years ago, a plumber was telling me when they came…

Australian War Memorial needs to own Australian frontier…

By David Stephens Proper recognition and commemoration of the Australian Frontier Wars at…

Chegg, Cheating and Australian Universities

The note on Radio National’s Background Briefing on the morning of July…

By the People and for the People: a…

By Max Ogden and John Lord One of Australia's most vexing questions is…

We Are In Total Agreement With The 43%…

Good morning, today we have a representative from the government-in-exile, Shadow Minister…

«
»
Facebook

Covid Testing Rackets and Flying Again

The young boy of seven or so was kissing a toy doll affixed with an alarmed face. The doll, no doubt of full Chinese make, was fully tarted up, lips glossy, eyes wide, a blonde with curls. “Stop making out with her,” cried her mother, sitting in the seat beside him with concern. “It’s creepy.”

The passengers on this Melbourne to Brisbane flight were taking a moment to compose themselves. The customary hard cushion seating, cool, slightly refrigerated, touched the skin, imposing itself upon the visitor. The cafeteria, plastic tray tables that must be put up prior to lift-off and descent. The sardine can phenomenon of being kept close and packed. The mandatory wearing of fitted facemasks, a rule constantly subverted by people nibbling snacks or sneaking a drink or too. People were flying again.

The mother and her child were awaiting to travel to the Queensland capital. She, weary and bleary-eyed, seemed fascinated with another toy her son had also taken on as hand luggage: a classic example of macho moronic strength, an elastic muscle man who could be abused and distorted into any shape of your preference. “Look,” she squealed, “I can tie his arms up.” Just what a traveller needs: a bit of cruelty inflicted on a plastic figure by a desperate human.

Prior to getting on board this Melbourne flight destined for Brisbane, travellers were subject to the delights that have marked out a new form of vaccine apartheid. It is not merely that Queensland will only accept visitors fully vaccinated against COVID-19. They must also perform a valid PCR test within 72 hours of the flight, receive a negative result, and make sure they have obtained a border pass. Evidence of double-vaccination status must be uploaded, along with the test result.

The application for the border pass is wordy, suspicious, and demanding. It is also far from welcoming, suggesting the spirit of the hermit kingdom or an old communist bloc country suspicious of insurrection. The voice of the entire process is threatening; false or misleading information will result in fines running into the thousands of dollars.

The PCR testing regime has become a bazaar of opportunities, a massive racket that shows a certain number of entities and individuals are making some ruddy cash. Governments give a misleading impression that the cost for such tests will be covered by the States, or the Federal Government or a mixture of both. But the devil lies in the detail, and that detail is fiendish.

At times, even the respective governments have little idea what the other is doing regarding the testing regimen. In the latter part of last November, the Queensland state government had a few testy words with their federal counterparts over the issue of costs. “Testing has been proceeding without incident for the last 18 months,” remarked Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt. “This includes testing required to support entry into another state or territory.”

Queensland’s Deputy Premier Steven Miles was only partially satisfied by the clarification, responding that he wished it had been sooner. “There was certainly an orchestrated campaign to confuse people.” He welcomed the fact that PCR tests “would be free for people travelling to Queensland.”

In practice, seeking such a subsidised test in good time prior to travel is impractical, and assumes you have a day to spare. Every testing site recommended by the Victorian state government has been, during the course of December, a picture of long queues and interminable waiting times. They feature submissive, masked citizens waiting quietly as they fiddle and toy with their smartphones.

On 227 Bourke Street in Melbourne, a sombre, passive line on December 14 stretched half-a-mile. When one of the marshals overseeing the barely moving procession was asked if this was the story at other testing centres, she regretfully confirmed that to be the case. “All of them, the same,” she said in an Indian sing-song manner, head shaking. And what about if you are arrived at 7 in the morning? “The same,” came the reply.

The result of such tardiness and chaos is obvious: seeking a PCR test at a pathology lab or clinic, many of whom are doing a thriving business in granting paperwork for imminent travellers. Even then, this field is uneven and inconsistent. Some refuse to do PCR tests for international travel. Others seem to remark on how they specialise in it.

What matters for them is the coin they charge, especially when the test is being done for asymptomatic patients. This will leave you out of pocket to the nice sum of $150 if you were silly enough to claim you were not suffering flu-like symptoms. If conducted on Saturdays, and here, a particular University based clinic comes to mind, the fee is $190. There are no student or staff discounts but you were guaranteed paperwork and a quick result.

With such generosity, the traveller can also look forward to doing another PCR test within five days of arriving in Queensland. Whether this one is subsided or not will depend on the fine print politicians tend to regard as beneath them. By that point, the rage and excitement of the Omicron variant may have changed minds again. The Queensland Premier, like a butler keen to shut the door on unwanted guests, may well close the borders again.

The aggressive reaction taken against 700 or so interstate arrivals is a case in point. With six new cases reported amongst interstate travellers soon after Queensland had opened its borders, a panicked health bureaucracy sprung into action: the passengers on two Virgin flights should self-isolate for two weeks. One of them, a Virgin flight from Newcastle to Brisbane, had recorded an Omicron case. The sunshine state’s Covid record risked being blotted, as was any suggestion that it really wanted travellers from other states coming in, despite being fully vaccinated and tested.

Within hours and a number of unspecified cancellations of holiday plans, the decision was refined: only a certain number of passengers – those sitting in the rows behind, front of and beside the infected passenger in question – would have to self-isolate over the Christmas period. The rest would only require a negative test result before being released from isolation. Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath used that defence of long standing: caution. “We took the same cautious approach when we first started seeing Delta. Omicron is new but I welcome the advice of the Chief Health Officer in relation to these issues.”

One source of amusement did greet those arriving in Brisbane. During D’Ath’s December 16 press conference, an unwelcome visitor was spotted. A huntsman spider had found its way onto the health minister’s leg. “Can somebody please get that spider off?” she pleaded. The spider, having made its point, scarpered. The trip was looking up.

 

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Donate Button

 

 312 total views,  8 views today

7 comments

Login here Register here
  1. Josephus

    Q; ‘alarmed face’- do you mean the toy was made with a scared face, or that the thing had an alarm, to activate if kissed? Certainly travel is a nightmare. Harvey Norman like, vax businesses make a pile. Best to wait, unless Mum or Dad is dying… I know people in Europe left stranded for weeks, with all seats being grabbed within five m after going on line. The paranoia about citizens was exemplified in the idiotic ID test for voters madcap Trumpian scheme. The ‘cheats’ were overwhelmingly old people with memory problems. About idiotic toys: despair sets in. Shops sell tinselly princess dresses for small girls. Girlie choirs teach how to apply make up. Boys get toy guns. The mindless danger of all this is obvious. I recall an engineer told me in Dresden soon after the Wall came down that she was disgusted by the made-up womens’ magazine covers suddenly invading Eastern Germany. We women were allowed to be angry; we had our own jobs, she remarked. Such women were show ponies, in other words. She said that thirty brands of soap powder was pointless. One product that worked was enough. Rapacious capitalism is not freedom. Look at the witch hunt re Assange and Collaery etc. As long as we spend on crappy macho toys or Christmas tinsellry we are good consumers. Not citizens, consumers. So spend on jabs, on useless toys , not on age care, nor basic civic education. We are mere oesophaguses. How good is that Ute on a stick, says our unhinged pm. So put up the tawdry images of false gods! Go spend, travel , ogle at zoos, at dolphins or whales trapped in ponds; have fun in other peoples’ countries, occupy expensive Disneyfied resorts walled off from the ambient poor. That way we keep the illusion creators rich. Play the game. Persecute those who lift the carpet to show the dirt beneath.

  2. Canguro

    An enduring memory of my first year in Sydney after the flight from the land of the crow-eaters in 1980 was a succinct piece of graffiti on a sandstone wall somewhere near the southern end of the city, Glebe or Forest Lodge or nearby.

    It simply said; Consume, Be Silent, Die.

    The pressures to consume, mindlessly, are relentless… and deadly to a person’s well-being, unless they have the frame of mind that sees through the schtick and says, in effect, ‘Fuck you, you mindless marketing arseholes, fuck off with your devil’s pacts.’

  3. Josephus

    Well do I remember from the early 2000s badly written texts perpetrated by a University admin referring to students as consumers. I objected, and reminded the students that they had contracted to learn, research and get good marks, both sides working hard to that effect.
    Consumers however feel entitled, and sure enough, the rot soon set in. Said a lawyer on behalf of a foreign Chinese student: she needs a visa to stay here, we want a letter from you attesting to her status. What? Never seen her in my class! Lawyer was furious. Then a rich South American student demanded to pass, saying her parents had paid a lot for her degree! Sorry, she did no work, fail, was my response. Again, indignation. Money was supposed to deliver the goods.

    The French Situationnists (c 1960s) had plenty of good slogans on the lines of the one you noted, Canguro. In return , let me offer a banner seen on a Dresden church, c 1990: ‘Bread for the world, but the sausage stays here.’

  4. Kangaroo Jack

    I’m now suffering gender confusion.

    Was the child a boy or a girl since they changed their pronouns several times.

    Well done mum for at least giving them a doll to show their grandfather and a second to share with their gay uncle Steven.

    Merry Christmas all

  5. Michael Taylor

    I’ve yet to speak with one person from NSW who is happy about the lifting of most restrictions.

  6. Florence

    What does 150,000 tested yesterday tells us? Why are people still wearing masks? The hospital is closed to all visitors—compassion access is NOT in play. Local GP has upgraded their security. They say shopping centres are empty—mixed messages coming from Premier. My doctor sees the situation as dire.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

Return to home page
%d bloggers like this: