When the footsteps you hear are those of soldiers

The Informer: When the footsteps you hear are those of soldiers

Defence force personnel will hit the ground and go door-knocking with health authorities in Victoria.

Defence force personnel will hit the ground and go door-knocking with health authorities in Victoria.


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That's the problem with labelling something the worst or best, Father Time rolls on over and before you know it, there's a "new record".

That's how Friday, July 24, 2020, has worked out. In Victoria anyway. Just when you thought yesterday was bad, along comes today and gets worse.

Victoria has recorded seven more coronavirus deaths, the state's highest number of pandemic fatalities in 24 hours (up from yesterday), and 300 new cases. And even more depressingly, we've been warned to expect several deaths to be announced each day for the next few weeks due to the large numbers of cases reported daily. The national death toll now stands at 139.

In the perhaps unlikely venue of a council meeting in regional Victoria, concerns about the speed of contact tracing and plans for outbreaks in care homes were voiced.

Mark Harris, a councillor who has been an emergency doctor in the city for many years - didn't hold back when speaking to the aged care issue: "They've had six months to get this right really. It hasn't been done right and they need some reform."

He did not criticise the state's Premier Daniel Andrews or chief health officer Brett Sutton, rather saying: "... I feel they are in a giant map room that is running completely efficiently but not having the foot soldiers on the ground. The battalions they are moving round are paper tigers. It's about time we have to point this out."

The foot soldiers are on their way it appears. But they're real soldiers.

Australian Defence Force personnel and authorised health officers will be knocking on the doors of people who have tested positive but who, so far, have been uncontactable by phone. And so far, Mr Andrews says, that's about 25 per cent of all positive cases.

And if those people think upping stumps to Tasmania or South Australia is a good idea - think again.

Premier Peter Gutwein reckons that Tassie is one of the safest places on the planet (now) and has welcomed folks from SA, WA and the Northern Territory to drop by. Everyone else, well other than Victorians, are welcome mid-August.

South Australia Premier Steven Marshall has announced tougher coronavirus measures in light of Victoria's situation and will extend the hard border closure between the two states in an effort to stay safe.

Concern is still rife in NSW about the ominous increase in community-acquired cases as outbreaks continue to grow in Sydney's southwest and further north but authorities are backing new rules coming into effect today will help drive down numbers.

It's not a crumb of comfort that Australia is not alone in seeing a resurgence - as Hong Kong, Japan and parts of Spain, thought to be over the worst, have seen a spike in cases.

But as the World Health Organisation's Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted this week- almost half of all cases worldwide came from just three countries - the United States, Brazil and India.

Sometimes there's a lot to be said for living a long way from anywhere. Find some distance and stay safe.

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The story When the footsteps you hear are those of soldiers first appeared on The Canberra Times.


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