The Informer: Are we there yet? Not by a long shot it seems

The road the COVID-19 clearance is, the authorities say, not a short, sharp route.
The road the COVID-19 clearance is, the authorities say, not a short, sharp route.

We all know the refrain - from saying it as a kid, hankering to get somewhere fast, or as a parent doing their best to manage expectations on a long and tedious route.

"Are we there yet?" seems a reasonable enough question when considering the national COVID-19 environment.

The man best-placed to answer that today is Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton. And the answer is a definitive no.

He said the state hadn't yet turned the corner and with 270 new cases in the past 24 hours, that spike is getting spikier.

It's timely to mention the "third wave" of infection sweeping through Hong Kong. Another 50 cases where social-distancing rules have been drastically tightened after a spike in infections. In Hong Kong that equals a second consecutive day there were more than 50 cases in the city, after a record high of 41 local infections on Monday.

In NSW it was a queue of a different kind to the one which turned heads yesterday. This one was a massive line-up at a drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic on the southern edge of Sydney.

Yesterday it was the prospect of free donuts that had people queuing at Krispy Kreme stores across the capital with (sometimes) not a lot of importance placed on social distancing. Today the gravity of the state's re-emerging COVID situation prompted a different response.

The NSW government tightened some social restrictions again as health authorities work to trace the spread of a cluster of 28 COVID-19 cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel in south-western Sydney.

Queensland has declared two Sydney council areas COVID-19 hotspots and banned anyone who has travelled to suburbs within Liverpool and Campbelltown from entering the state. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced as much to the world in a tweet this morning. Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young explained the move in more detail earlier this afternoon.

"Until today, all current COVID-19 hotspots were located in Victoria. Currently the whole State of Victoria remains a hotspot," Dr Young said. "We are watching this situation very closely, and we remind people to remain alert but not alarmed."

Ahhh, it's back, the old comfort blankie of "alert but not alarmed". Invariably the small print associated with such a disclaimer prompts the exact opposite reaction, but anyway ...

While one Victorian health service has made face masks essential for visitors, wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England will be mandatory from July 24. The British media shared the message "spectacularly".

Will the same message make its way across Melbourne, or will it breach the Vic-NSW border, too? More twists, more turns tomorrow (no doubt).

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This story Are we there yet? Sadly, no first appeared on The Canberra Times.