Ever since this pandemic began, all we heard from the media was how it’s affecting the sports players, never mind the every day person and the jobs they’ve lost and everyone in between. Sport must go on! Yes, it is entertainment for some, but at what cost to others?
Be it Football, Basketball, Cricket and now Tennis, we’ve heard it all. The month of January is when the Australian Open is held in Melbourne. Each year I usually hear of my friends making the trip across the country to attend. Last year, friends Pam & Peter Batten were able to enjoy the AO at the Rod Laver Arena. While they were there, they were getting smoked out as the worst fires in our history hit the east coast. It was devastating for everyone, lives and homes lost and 1000s upon 1000s of animals. Then the pandemic hit, they just made it home before all the borders were shut, tight! Including regional borders.
Then it was the football, Australian Rules. Spectators had no games to watch and players had no games to play. At the conclusion of the first round of games, the 2020 AFL season was suspended until June. When the season resumed, many were played without crowds. Then on 28 June, Queensland put a travel ban on Victoria, the AFL relocated all games to be played in Victoria to other states for the next two weeks. Then the teams based in Victoria were to relocate to QLD or WA for the rest of the season! This came about as Victoria was ordered into a six-week lockdown as COVID cases surged. Games started to be played in rapid fire, one every day for several weeks. No matches were played in NSW due to an increase in cases there.
Many of us, die-hard football fans included, all said the game should have been called off for the year. The chances one of the players could have contracted the virus and spread it as they travelled through the states was real. Us mere mortals weren’t allowed to travel!! And woe betide, the Grand Final was held for the first time EVER outside of Victoria!!! Who won? I have no idea. Maybe someone will make a comment and tell me.
Once the football finishes, then it’s usually the cricket. Well, the pandemic changed all that too. The impact on international cricket continued through 2020 and now into 2021.
Now this year, 2021, the pandemic is still gaining momentum, the USA and UK are fighting an ongoing battle. When will it end? While we in Australia have been pretty lucky, but there has been a few outbreaks, first in Victoria, then New South Wales, South Australia too. The borders to Western Australia, have been open, shut, open and shut so many times, no one knows when it’s going to happen next. Many have hopped on flights to come here and find, mid-air, or on landing, that the 14 day self-isolation has now turned into 14 day quaratine at their own expense in an hotel. Many have hopped on flights and gone back home, the cheaper option!
The same has now happened with the AO players. But here’s the thing, they are flying on international flights and test negative before they get on the flight, arrive in Australia, are tested again and bam! they have COVID19. Now all the passengers on the flight from Doha who flew into Melbourne, including players, get to go into quarantine. The 25 players will not be able to leave their hotel room for 14 days and until they are medically cleared. Another flight with 64 passengers including 23 players flew in from Abu Dhabi, they too are in quarantine and all will not be unable to practice.
Others have flown in to Adelaide, South Australia when Melbourne could only take so many into hotel quarantine. About 50 are in a quarantine bubble in Adelaide.
So, where does that leave us? As of today, Monday 18 January 2021, from midnight, travel from Victoria is permitted into Western Australia subject to 14 days self-quarantine and COVID-19 testing. New South Wales and Queensland remain medium risk and travellers from these states cannot enter WA without an exemption. Our son Peter who is in NSW, has resigned himself to the fact that he might not get over to WA to see his new grandchild this year. It is what it is.
We are fortunate though, that we can travel anywhere within our state. No need for us to go away just now and there are plenty of people making the most of seeing their own backyard as they are not able to go overseas! Many we hear are buying caravans and there are more caravans on the road now than there are spots in caravan parks. It’s a very busy time, so being involved in the Midwest Caravan Club makes sense just now as we get to go to places that no one else does! Bonus!
Right now a vaccine is being produced to fight this virus. Everytime they get one step forward, they go two steps backward. A new variant of the virus is discovered somewhere, every day now. Every country is racing to inoculate its population as quickly as possible. But will it stop the variant too? Australia is rolling out the vaccine, first to quarantine and border workers, frontline health workers, aged care and disability care staff and residents. Then it will be elderly adults over 80, then over 70 and on it goes.
I don’t want to get into a debate about whether we should get the vaccine or we shouldn’t. This blog is for my family to look back on in years to come. They will learn of our decision all in good time.
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