On January 4 the ACT sadly reported 926 new positive cases of COVID-19. One of those 926 cases is our teenage grandson. He's part of an extended family who were together over the Christmas and New Year period.
In accordance with the health directions we have been testing ourselves using rapid antigen tests. The trouble is we have now run out of kits. What can we do?
I've already rung eight supermarkets and chemists. No-one has any tests for sale; nobody can tell me when they will be getting more.
How do we continue to stay safe if we have no testing kits at home? I'm nearly 80 years old and spent three months at Canberra Hospital early in 2021. I was in ICU for nearly three weeks and on a ventilator for 14 days. I didn't have COVID-19; I had life threatening sepsis. I have been left with ongoing health issues. There are thousands like me with vulnerable health and there are also those who currently have family members at home with the virus.
All of us desperately need rapid antigen test kits. We are told to test ourselves at home. But how can we do this if we can't access any test kits? What does ACT Health recommend?
Elizabeth Chisholm, Kingston
Summernats a risk
Re: "Summernats COVID safety plan requires those with virus symptoms to go home" (canberratimes.com.au, January 5). Pigs might fly.
The Summernats business owners clearly want sickly campers off their site ASAP but how many of the hundreds, if not thousands holed up in hotels, Airbnbs and private accommodation across the city will show the high level of much needed "personal responsibility" and consideration that has been lacking so often at Summernats in past years?
The large amounts many have pre-paid to travel and stay here will likely outweigh any serious focus on the "leave now" button that the organisers and ACT government pretend will operate as 20,000 people move to, from and around the EPIC site for several days.
A recent festival with 10,000 attendees in Tasmania became a major COVID-19 spreading event. As escalating and record cases are reported on a daily basis here and in the states from which many visitors will arrive the Chief Minister and health minister need to explain how they are ensuring Summernats will not worsen our already fatigued and fragile COVID coping' environment and overwhelm our limited medical resources during the rest of January and into February.
Sue Dyer, Downer
More information please
With a record 926 people testing COVID-19 positive in the ACT on Tuesday the government must provide Canberrans with more precise information.
How many were unvaccinated? Were any of these 11 years or younger? If double-jabbed, was it with AZ or Pfizer? Were any fully vaccinated with boosters? What combination of vaccines has been the least, and the most, effective?
This data will provide Canberrans with a better idea of how COVID is progressing in relation to their own vaccine schedule.
Bruce Gall, Nicholls
Ray Edmonson's assertion that the "Australian constitution makes no mention of political parties" (Letters, January 4) has not been true since 1977.
In that year, section 15 was amended to require that if the place of a senator became vacant, and the senator who had occupied it had been an endorsed candidate of a political party at the time of his or her election, then the person appointed to fill the vacancy must, if possible, be a member of the same party.
David Wilson, Braddon
Labor too cautious
I agree, up to a point, with your editorial "Have Albo and the ALP lost their way?" (canberratimes.com.au, January 5). It seems to me that Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese is fixated on avoiding the fate of Bill Shorten's Labor at the "miraculous" 2019 election.
Mr Shorten's biggest mistake was to put the more radical parts of his overly-detailed policy manifesto under the spotlight. This made the task of the Coalition to run a (very effective) scare campaign so much easier. Remember franking credits, negative gearing, phantom death duties, and the openly flouted threat to central Queensland coal industry jobs?
Anthony Albanese is understandably determined not to repeat those mistakes, but he has retreated too far into the hermit-crab shell of safety when bold action is sorely needed.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
The sudden outrage over non-discount chemist prices, in relation just specifically to rapid antigen testing kits, is faintly amusing.
Several years ago I was astonished to discover that a prescription for a very basic long-available medication cost three times more at the local chemist than at a discount chain.
Chemists turned from apothecaries into common retailers, with all their habits, a long time ago. I'm old enough to remember, just a few decades ago, when it took legislation to close chemist cigarette counters.
Let's not be precious, therefore, about small businessfolk, even when they wear half-length white coats.
Alex Mattea, Sydney
Hands off the tower
I am rather disheartened by the comments of your contributor (Letters, January 3) stating that the "restoration" of Black Mountain and surrounds would be of benefit to our "enhanced environmental consciousness". Any undertaking to destroy this icon would be more damaging to the environs' than to leave it as part of our history.
I really think that this structure has significance to our growth and technology as a city and should be treated as part of our historical development.
I feel confident that the Burley Griffins would have enhanced this technology and used it to great advantage to plan for the inland city.
Why can't we just leave some things alone and enjoy them for their engineering feats and planning.
Denise Traynor, Garran
Demolish the tower
It was good to read Ann Kent's history of the Black Mountain Tower (Letters, January 3). The decrepit tower is an eyesore and not symbolic of our city in any way.
There is no capital city in the world that nestles into the natural landscape as does Canberra.
The natural wooded summits of Mt Ainslie and Black Mountain provide the foundation for Marion and Walter Griffin's brilliant design. The summits should be places where residents and visitors can enjoy the uniquely beautiful vistas below and around them, without being overlooked by a large concrete tower.
I remember well the two antennae the tower replaced.
These were high structures for the necessary telecommunications equipment but being narrow and "see through", were much less dominating of the landscape than the current tower.
The Black Mountain tower was conceived and constructed at a time when the things we built were celebrated by our culture much more than the natural environment in which we are blessed to live.
I suspect most Canberrans now value much more the beauties of our natural surroundings, and would support the removal of the Tower.
Tony Slatyer, Red Hill
Novak Djokovic has revealed on his Instagram account that he has an "exemption permission" to head Down Under and compete in the Australian Open.
If it is in fact correct that Djokovic has received a medical exemption, then it is incumbent on the independent panel established to preside over requests for a medical exemption and/or the government-appointed second review panel to explain to the Australia public exactly why Djokovic has been granted such an exemption for the Open. There should be no hiding behind privacy considerations.
The Australian public is entitled to know that Djokovic has not been granted favourable consideration because of his drawcard-status, and that the exemption is for genuine medical reasons.
The safety of players, spectators attending the Open, officials and support staff, etc. is at risk otherwise.
Don Sephton, Greenway
It is not difficult to see why the Canberra Yacht Club is saying that the NCA plan for seaplanes on the western lake is not feasible. The planned landing strip is in the busiest part of the lake for sail boats.
It is also difficult to understand why downwind landings and take off from the west are proposed. If a pilot runs out of wind he or she will finish up in the Albert Hall.
Here's hoping that the NCA will try again. Or drop the proposal.
John Gray, former licensed aircraft pilot, Mawson
TO THE POINT
Oh the irony: "Remove the anti-vaxxers: local elders", January 4, p1. Does 50 years change illegality?
Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla
Re "Remove the anti-vaxxers: local elders", January 4, p1. If Indigenous elders are so concerned about the anti-vaxxers camping next to the tent embassy spreading the virus to .... "vulnerable people like us" they could remove themselves to a safer location instead of calling for another group of legitimate protestors to be moved on.
A Garnet, Deakin
Do others see the irony in the Aboriginal Tent Embassy's complaint that a mob of anti-vaxxer ratbags has set up camp on the lawns in front of OPH?
Bruce Arthurson, Surf Beach, NSW
I agree with Peter Moran (Letters, January 5). Holding Summernats in the middle of the current outbreak is akin to crossing the M5 blindfolded. A crazy government decision.
John Utah, Narrabundah
I was almost as shocked to hear that Scott Morrison is changing the name of Aspen Island to Queen Elizabeth II Island as I was when I heard Tony Abbott was bestowing a knighthood on the Duke of Edinburgh. When will this country stop kowtowing to Britain and the United States and become a truly independent country? I think it is pathetic.
Felicity Chivas, Ainslie
Ian Jannaway implies, contrary to what I have written, that I advocate abolishing our military (Letters, January 1). His nave notion that our wars are all about "freedom" overlooks multiple other motivators for war, including domestic political advantage. We may well be in for another khaki election.
Sue Wareham, president, Medical Association for Prevention of War, Cook
I am no monarchist and so couldn't help chuckling to read Mr Morrison has announced one of the measures to mark the Platinum Jubilee of the Queen's reign is to rename Aspen Island as Queen Elizabeth II Island. Sort of funny that this little pocket handkerchief sized artificial Island that probably no-one except Canberrans have ever heard of is to be named after the Queen. Our head of state must be bemused!
Roderick Holesgrove, Crace
THE BEST WILL DO
Gerry Gillespie (Letters, January 3) congratulates Kim Rubenstein on her excellent article and says that we need to vote for women, no matter their views or abilities, to even up the numbers in Parliament. I disagree. I want the best candidates, male or female, to govern the country. I will be voting for Kim Rubenstein for the Senate because she is an outstanding candidate.
Alan Shroot, Forrest
WHAT'S THE FUSS?
From 1948 until 1950s a flying boat service operated between Grafton and Rose Bay in Sydney. I was in high school then. There were no reports of near misses or accidents. The planes were PBY (Catalina) and Short Sunderlands. Why all the fuss about a small float plane on our lake?