Costs of border farce just too high
IT would be laughable if there were not such tragic consequences of the COVID-19 border debate.
On the one hand our national leaders are talking about the prospect of overseas travel by next year, greenlighting crowds at football games, and heralding milestones in the race for a vaccine.
Yet, at a state level, we have bickering between two premiers about border restrictions in a contest that, at times, has mirrored an untidy schoolyard feud.
It is indisputable that measures must be taken to control the risk of a second wave in Queensland. But the problem lies in the hard-line stance and inflexibility by government box-tickers and their masters, who seem unwilling to consider whether a common sense alternative to the border rules exists.
The victims of this total lack of cohesion between the states in battling COVID are some of our most vulnerable people, such as the tragic case of three-year-old Thomas Collins, who died in Melbourne thousands of kilometres from his Ipswich home and extended family.
With the critically ill boy's parents unable to work out a way around the border bureaucracy, Thomas was unable to spend his final days surrounded by extended family in his home state.
His parents had tried desperately to get home to the support of their family and friends after being told the little boy - who had spent his life battling a rare disease - would not survive after brain surgery in Melbourne. But they were told their only choice was to first spend 14 days in a Queensland quarantine facility with their dying son.
If Thomas was to have died during quarantine his parents would have been forced to stay in the same room for their 14-day isolation period.
Even now, the grieving family remain stuck in Melbourne, unable to return home to see family members or hold a funeral before spending two weeks in quarantine.
This at the same time that NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian again blasted Queensland's border policy, accusing authorities of "making up stuff as they go" and constantly "changing the rules". Queensland's border restrictions were "beyond understanding", she claimed.
And yet the restrictions remain locked in, even though NSW hasn't had a local coronavirus case for 15 days - should the trend continue, it will not have had a locally acquired case for 25 days on December 1.
But that would leave it days shy of meeting Queensland's current demand for 28 days without a transmission by December 1, when the border restrictions are due to be reassessed - according to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's plan to reconsider the rules at the end of every month. Queensland has vowed to remain closed to any declared hot spots.
This comes at a time when federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has flagged international travel could restart again as early as next year should the COVID-19 vaccine rollout go to plan. Vaccine candidates Pfizer and Moderna have already revealed efficacy rates of more than 90 per cent from early trials, buoying hopes of being able to travel abroad.
Leaders have agreed the COVID-19 vaccine must be safe, affordable and available to all - especially in developing countries. Maybe we are being too optimistic, but there is hope for less baseless parochialism on the international stage than we have seen locally.
ROAD SAFETY A GIFT IN ANY SEASON
FATAL accidents are always a harsh and heartbreaking reminder of the frailty of life.
But it hits harder at certain times of year - none more so
than heading into the Christmas break.
The thought of loved ones torn from our hold in the blink of an eye seems an impossible weight to bear.
The thought of the deep grief the family is enduring today - or the thought of a near-miss many of us have had - is never far from our minds when seeing such images.
And of course our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victims of Sunday's tragic car accident.
Likewise, everyone on the roads this coming break needs to take stock, drive safely and come home to your family.
Responsibility for election comment is taken by Chris Jones, corner of Mayne Rd & Campbell St, Bowen Hills, Qld 4006. Printed and published by NEWSQUEENSLAND (ACN 009 661 778). Contact details are available at www.couriermail.com.au/help/contact-us
Originally published as Editor's view: Costs of border farce just too high