IN foreshadowing a substantial easing of COVID-19 restrictions, Premier Dominic Perrottet and others in his government this week described the new less-intensive approach to crowd limits, contact tracing and QR codes as great news for business.
That may be the case.
Nobody wants these things to continue for any longer than necessary.
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Mr Perrottet says the new regime will start on December 15, or whenever the state reaches a 16-and-over vaccination rate of 95 per cent, whichever comes first.
The latest Commonwealth figures show Australia at 86.3 per cent.
But such qualified percentages can be misleading.
Our total population vaccination rate is just over 72 per cent, and only slightly behind that of the Netherlands, where a surge of more than 20,000 cases a day in a population of 17 million has the Dutch health system under extreme pressure.
Some hospitals have reportedly halted chemotherapy treatments and other services to free up intensive care beds.
This is a disturbing future to face.
Government advisers in this country will surely have the global situation under constant watch, and our political leaders must know what lurks in the wings, as they open a drawbridge across our protective moat.
Luckily for us, our Christmas holiday season is in summer, which seems less favourable to COVID than the colder months.
Even so, the longer the pandemic continues, the more obvious our difficulties in controlling the virus become.
It took some time for Australians to become used to wearing masks, and to automatically reach for the phone to log in via a QR code.
Public health measures including intensive contact tracing have played major roles in controlling Australian outbreaks.
As welcome as the eased restrictions might be, we have to remain open to the possibility that they will return in their harshest forms.
With global case numbers again on the rise, it is in our own self-interest to tread warily, for we know how quickly things can change for the worse.
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