The closures and cancellations bring back memories of the polio epidemic in the 1930s.
This had a catastrophic effect, particularly in Victoria and Tasmania. In 1935, when in grade four in a Carlton school, a pupil in my class over the infection state, but partially paralysed, was wheeled into class on a cane bed.
In 1937, when I was in grade six, the epidemic worsened. Many schools closed that June. A teacher used to ride a bike to drop off the lessons for the week every Friday. They also dropped off our marked homework from the previous week.
In Victoria, where the school leaving age was 14, there were three options at the end of grade six. You could stay at state school for grades seven and eight; attend junior technical school, where metalwork and woodwork classes were included, or alternatively, sit an entrance exam for high school where science, music, and languages were offered.
At the end of 1937 I was due to sit the high school entrance exam. My teacher called at home and gave me instructions that I was to attend school on the day of the exam. I was ordered not to walk together with any other attendee on the way to school (to avoid the risk of infection).
On arrival at school four pupils were sent to each classroom, each supervised by a teacher. Each of the four of us were placed in separate corners of the classroom.
That was the level of the fear of catching this paralysing, and sometimes fatal, disease in the pre-Salk and Sabin vaccine days.
Michael Adler, Gungahlin
Distance action needed
On Saturday morning I visited Sonoma bakery in Braddon and then a fruit and vegetable outlet at Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets.
The difference in their COVID-19 risk abatement measures could not have been more striking.
Some of the measures Sonoma had taken included: all patrons must queue at 1.5m intervals; a member of staff managed access; all staff wore disposable gloves, and payments had to be made by card.
The Fyshwick fruit and vegetable outlet I visited had done none of this.
There was no management of access to the premises, nor of access to the check-out counters where people were packed close together.
Checkout operators were not wearing gloves, did not use hand sanitisers between transactions, and were still accepting cash, even though they used their hands to transfer all the fruit the customer put onto the checkout counter into carrier bags or boxes.
Since we now know asymptomatic COVID-19 virus carriers are a major cause of infection, a patron of a Fyshwick outlet who is infected, but without symptoms, could pay with cash which has a trace of the virus on it.
This could then infect the check-out operator and all the customers she or he serves.
The ACT government needs to act urgently to get all food outlets in Canberra to follow the kinds of measure Sonoma has introduced.
Paul Hartigan, Ainslie
Give us equity
The government is doing the right thing by ensuring companies stay solvent through the coronavirus crisis.
However, it is going to cost us a fortune. It also means we, as taxpayers, are bearing a huge cost and risk.
As taxpayers, we should be getting equity in every large company given any bailout money. If we prop up a business it is fair to ask that we get some of the profits to repay this when times return to normal.
This will be critical to recovering our public finances. It is only fair to the taxpayers who are paying for it.
Anthony Mannering, Kew, Vic
Plague of locusts
I would like to thank the people of Australia who, for some reason, decided to decimate the Yass grocery stores.
Well done. We have a small population. People from Canberra and Sydney decided it would be a good idea to come here and raid our shops.
My local butcher was not open on Saturday because he can't get meat. He has been wiped out. He has an apprentice who won't be working as much now.
I also blame the store managers for not saying "no" to these ring ins. Other towns are only selling to locals, maybe Yass should do the same.
V Harris, Yass NSW
An orgy on the way?
You can't create a mathematical model to predict when stupidity will strike, Elizabeth Milne (Letters, March 23), but you can reduce its incidence.
A moratorium on police pursuing criminal assault charges in cases where the alleged victim had engaged in hoarding behaviour and was attempting to escape with their haul would certainly go a long way towards discouraging it.
Whether the toilet paper and hand sanitiser shortage is because of greedy, self-important individuals with no sense of social responsibility, or lecherous coprophiles planning some kind of orgy is yet to be seen.
James Allan, Narrabundah
Support your local crook
Hang on Scomo! With all your financial support packages you've forgotten the bad guys out there. With social isolation and people staying at home who can continue to break into our houses?
With no one on the streets there's no pockets that need picking. What about those poor shoplifters with no shops open?
And the muggers? Nothing happening there either. Stealing cars from car parks? Nope they're all carless. The criminal classes need support too.
Doug Hodgson, Pearce
Time for an ACT lockdown
Put Canberra into total lockdown right now for two weeks, maybe even three.
Everyone who is sick at the end of that time should be tested. There shouldn't be many of them.
Put Canberra into total lockdown right now for two weeks, maybe even three.Jacky Gruszka, Coogee, NSW
They would immediately go into strict quarantine (not in their homes) but the way they did in Vo (the only town in Italy that is currently virus-free).
They would get good medical treatment because the hospitals are not yet overloaded. After they're well they go back to their homes.
From then on, anyone coming into Canberra would have to have a very good reason and must automatically quarantine for 14 days.
Jacky Gruszka, Coogee
Trump will pay
By calling the COVID-19 virus the Chinese virus Donald Trump is diverting attention from his inadequate response to the pandemic, a performance which threatens his re-election.
China's poor response has been repeated in the other countries, including the USA, which will result in additional deaths and a deeper economic recession.
If Trump, and leaders like him, were genuine, particularly given the impact of the recession will be most felt by the disadvantaged, they would take steps to reduce inequality by ensuring the wealthy pay more rather than less tax, improve health care, introduce targeted job retraining schemes, increase the supply of low income housing, and adopt strategies that sufficiently limit greenhouse emissions.
Mike Quirk, Garran
Keep your distance
Thank you Canberrans for your support for Braidwood during and after the fires. Your return has been greatly appreciated by our local businesses.
Unfortunately times have changed again. We need you to be mindful and considerate if you do visit.
The PM has discouraged all non-essential travel. Yes, even to your beach house.
Over the weekend Braidwood's main street was bustling and crowded.
There was no evident awareness of "social distancing", any more than on Bondi Beach.
If anyone was carrying the virus, without symptoms, it may well have been left as a gift we could do without.
Please be mindful and considerate, whether or not you visit our town.
Geoff Davies, Braidwood, NSW
Ron Cerabona wrote a heartfelt and honest article about his non-belief in Christianity ("Faith no more", February 2, p20).
It seems Mr Cerabona's lack of faith is based to a large degree on neutral or negative experiences with individual churches and individual professed Christians.
His article seems to imply the faith of Christians is not based on any substantial evidence.
Certainly, there is no absolute proof of the claims of Christianity, but there is little in life that is absolutely certain.
Mr Cerabona could start by exploring the likely answer to an important question of relatively limited scope, namely, "was Jesus who he claimed to be?".
Central to this is whether Jesus actually died during the crucifixion, and whether he was resurrected. Where those two propositions are disputed, the alternative explanations are just too implausible to be believed.
If those two propositions are more likely than not to be true then that realisation has huge implications for one's faith.
Gordon Fyfe, Kambah
TO THE POINT
SCRAP VAN CHARGE
Since all governments, including the ACT are urging non-essential travel, including holidays, be abandoned, caravans and similar vehicles can't be used. The ACT government should waive van registration fees this year. They cannot be used.
Rex Simmons, Mawson
LEAGUE DECISION FLAWED
The NRL's decision to continue to play, in spite of all the advice to the contrary, is spectacularly selfish and stupid. They are not acting in the best interests of Australians. Their interest is only in their "business". Unbelievable!
Peter Funnel, Farrer
I'M TAKING BETS
What are the odds on who will be the first to close the border between NSW and Victoria? I'm betting Victoria by at least an hour.
Peter Baskett, Murrumbateman, NSW
THANKS YOU IDIOTS
A big "thank you" to all those people who went to Bondi Beach on Saturday in contravention of the social distancing rules. Thanks to your insensitivity, selfishness, and rule breaking we now have these new draconian shutdowns which could last for up to six months.
Don Sephton, Greenway
OPTION TO REFUSE
Many of us don't need the automatic rates rebate announced by the ACT Government. Perhaps a simple method (e.g., a voluntary tick box in a secure-reply email to each ratepayer) would enable those of us who don't need it to decline it. It could then be used for a more needy purpose.
John Schmidt, Monash
GOD IS OVER US
Putting Israel Folau's well publicised outcry to one side, I am of the view God has nearly had enough of us and is sending a virulent message to "smarten up or ship out". With coronavirus mortality so high it is probably best if the PM avoids the phrase: "....when we come to the other side..."
Colliss Parrett, Barton
ACT OF BASTARDY
Major petrol retailers in Canberra must have bars sinister in their escutcheons to maintain prices at $1.40 a litre plus. Ten days ago in Ipswich the price for 91 octane was $1.19 a litre. Crude oil prices have dropped even further since. Will no one rid us of this pestilent clique?
Lawry Herron, O'Connor
How different history might have been if Gough Whitlam had delayed delivering the 1975 Federal Budget until October.
Jeff Bradley, Isaacs
TAKE A CHILL PILL JENNA
Jenna Price ("I will not be lectured on toilet paper by this man", canberratimes.com.au, March 20) should take a cold shower. He is not the only uninspiring Prime Minister we have had. The hoarders are saying: "Stuff you mate, I'm all right!". Whether or not that's un-Australian, it merits reproof.
Jack Monaghan, Lyneham
JENNA OUT OF LINE
Jenna Price is incensed because she was lectured by a man ("I will not be lectured on toilet paper by this man", canberratimes.com.au, March 20). Men and women, and the right and the left, need to face COVID-19 together. Let's not let personal feelings or political preferences divide us.
Fred Bennett AM, Bonner
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