ACT residents angered by Queensland's decision to include them in the latest border ban need to step back, take a deep breath, and consider the bigger picture.
The Victorian outbreak is a full-on national emergency. A state of disaster has been declared, the capital is under restrictions not far short of martial law, and 1196 new cases and 23 deaths were reported in a 48 hour period; 725 and 15 respectively on Wednesday, and 471 and eight respectively on Thursday.
More than 1100 health workers have been infected, hospitals are struggling to cope, and the nursing home crisis is out of control. Victoria's death toll is now 171, Australia's death toll is above 200, and more than 700,000 deaths have been reported worldwide; 100,000 of those in the last 19 days.
This is not the time to be focused on a cancelled holiday or a missed opportunity to see a football game. Why would anyone want to be travelling far from home? Others are doing it far worse than we are. Canberra has done well in avoiding fresh cases for as long as it has but that situation can change in a heartbeat.
Annastacia Palaszczuk is doing everything she can to protect her citizens from going down the same hard road Victoria is travelling. So is Gladys Berejiklian with her decision to mandate 14 days of hotel quarantine for people travelling from Victoria outside of the immediate border areas. All Canberrans would expect our Chief Minister, and his government, to do the same.
The beefed-up Queensland and NSW restrictions actually help to protect the ACT. Queensland has removed the incentive for potentially infected NSW residents and Victorians to travel to Canberra to catch a plane to Brisbane, Noosa, Cairns or Townsville. That's actually good news. Ditto for the tougher NSW-Victorian border regulations.
As Canberrans we should be counting our blessings. We are, arguably, one of the luckiest jurisdictions in the country. Not only has the rate of local infections remained low, this city has also been spared the worst of the economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis to date. Real estate prices, one of this city's pet obsessions, have remained strong, and unemployment actually went down in the March quarter.
That is not to minimise the suffering of many Canberrans, particularly the young who find themselves hard hit by job losses. But it could be much worse, given the Prime Minister's prediction on Thursday that the effective national unemployment would rise from 11 per cent to 13 per cent with 400,000 people set to lose their jobs as a result of the Victorian wave, and that the stage four restrictions would slash economic activity by at least $7 billion to $9 billion.
That is why it is hard to fathom the mentality of those who have been filling in contact sheets at Canberra's hotels and restaurants with names like "Mickey Mouse" and "Donald Duck". Such idiocy places everybody at increased risk.
This city will enter a particularly dangerous phase on August 24 when Parliament resumes. While Victorian MPs planning to attend are being asked to self-isolate from Saturday, there is still an increased risk when a large number of interstate travellers arrive. It also has to be remembered that Victoria is not the only jurisdiction with active cases right now.
The people of Victoria are putting up with a lot at the moment to keep all of us safe and we should be grateful to them for it. This is not the time for "business as usual". Canberrans should be staying close to home, obeying all the rules, and doing all they can to help the country keep the risk of further outbreaks as small as possible.