With the Omicron variant of COVID-19 now having been detected in almost every state and territory, and concern community transmission has already begun to appear, many Australians will be fearing the reimposition of stringent health controls over the summer holiday period.
The good news is that most premiers and chief ministers have heeded the federal government's advice to hold their nerve and to avoid panicky and knee-jerk reactions.
We have, for example, seen little in the way of arbitrary border closures since the Omicron variant was first detected here. That said, the decisions by some states, such as South Australia, to beef up their entry requirements is defensible given their current vaccination status.
The same is true of suggestions by some experts, including epidemiologist James McCaw, that it might be prudent to reintroduce light restrictions such as mask wearing in some indoor settings and minor restrictions on crowd density in hospitality and entertainment venues "sooner rather than later".
Professor McCaw was speaking after Victoria announced 1232 new local COVID-19 cases, down from 1312 the previous day, on Thursday. NSW announced 420 cases on Thursday, up from 403 on Wednesday. The ACT, meanwhile, announced four new cases, down from the eight new cases and one death announced on Wednesday.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, whose state has yet to experience the significant spike in case numbers predicted for when it came out of lockdown, is leading by example. He has said that although his government is "willing and able" to make adjustments to health orders if necessary there are no plans to defer the further easing of mask mandates and QR code check-in requirements scheduled for next week.
"Let's look at the position we're in today," he said. "There are 420 cases, we have low hospitalisation rates ... and there is a small minority of people (an estimated 5.5 per cent) who aren't vaccinated".
He believes that with 93 per cent of NSW residents above the age of 16 now having been double-jabbed, the state is well placed to deal with Omicron heading into Christmas.
The ACT is in an even stronger position with a 98.1 per cent vaccination rate. And, in even more good news, Moderna has also been approved for booster shots and it is expected ATAGI will approve guidelines for the administration of Pfizer to five- to 12-year-olds in the near future. It has already been approved by the TGA.
All of that said, there is a strong argument for Canberrans to take matters into their own hands to minimise the spread of all variants of coronavirus as much as possible. Everybody would still have their masks. If you are concerned about entering crowded shopping centres in the run-up to Christmas then feel free to use them.
Good hand hygiene, respecting other people's space and being tested promptly if you are feeling unwell will all go a long way to keeping yourself, your family, and your community safe. It will also help prevent the reintroduction of mandated restrictions by keeping case numbers down.
And, of course, it is essential for everybody to have their booster shot as soon as they are eligible.
While it is not yet known if Omicron is resistant to some vaccines, there is strong evidence the third jab increases the level of protection significantly.
Canberrans have done an outstanding job in protecting themselves and their community for the better part of two years now.
We are now at the point of having to learn to live with the virus.
The best way to do that is to follow the health advice, use some common sense and to show consideration for those around you.
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