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Entire state in lock-down because of a lie

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Michi

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Some of you may have heard about this already. We found out this morning…

The entire state of South Australia was placed under an extremely strict lock-down (even stricter than Melbourne's) two days ago due to a cluster linked to a quarantine hotel and a pizza restaurant. There was suspicion of uncontrolled community transmission and, worse, that this might be a new strain of the virus with a much shorter incubation time.

This morning, we found out that the entire state had been unnecessarily placed under lock-down because one of the infected persons had lied to contact tracers. The total cost is easily in the tens of millions of dollars, and quite possibly exceeds 100 million dollars.

 
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rickbern

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Wow. There’s no emoji for this one.

is it still cool enough down there that most activity is still indoors or is it sunny warm late spring?
 

cotedupy

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'He would not comment "any other behaviour that may be alleged or suspected" in relation to the owner or managers of the pizza bar, except that it would be investigated.'

Aha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Ha ha ha ha.
 

gregfisk

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I just read this article, you guys have done a great job of containing the virus. I live in Washington state and we had 1700 cases yesterday. And we are one of the better states at keeping the numbers down. In the US we are losing 2000 people a day to the virus right now and have lost about 250,000 so far with no end in site without a vaccine. Fortunately it looks like they are on the way, although that’s months away.
 

JayGee

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Although this person clearly did the wrong thing - with horrific consequences - you have to take into consideration they are probably a precarious worker, scared they would be subject to VISA penalties / deported if they had told the truth about work. Almost all of the outbreaks in Australia have happened because of structural labour issues / casualized work forces. I think blaming one person is a little rough, when there are issues mitigating against his disclosure. I would say every international student involved in a contact tracing discussion in Australia has probably lied about their employment situation. I really appreciated that the Vic Gov was adamant about not pursuing indivuals for breaking the law based on information that came out during contact tracing.
 
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Geigs

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This exactly. Casual workforce with limited power and high likelihood of illegal work means you'd lie to cops about your work situation. Understandable, but unfortunate consequences. I'm glad the lockdown was brief, having all the kids home for a few days was brutal....
 

cotedupy

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Absolutely agree with the sentiments above.

Tho I believe the operation in question may have been delivering more than just pies.

(And judging by their statement the powers at be suspect that too!)
 
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Michi

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Contact tracing largely depends on people being honest. And honesty depends on not being afraid of repercussions.

By and large, I think Australian authorities have done a good job in emphasising the importance of people coming forward, volunteering information, and feeling safe in doing so, both for themselves and their contacts. We have had a few people getting a criminal conviction, but those were blatant cases of violations, where some people, knowing that they were infected, decided to break quarantine regardless. Other than that, I'm not aware of any legal repercussions.

What I find interesting is how the virus imposes a modus operandi on authorities. The habitual way of reacting to someone who does something wrong is to throw the book at them, and fine them or lock them up. But, because of the dependency on information for contact tracing, we need people to come forward and volunteer what they know, freely and completely, even if that means to not punish someone who, by many people's standards, would deserve punishment.

Lo and behold, we suddenly have a different way of dealing with dishonesty. Not because anything has fundamentally changed in outlook or ethics, but because the information is more important than it is to punish people. Australian authorities are well aware of the risk of driving the information underground, and they have been pragmatic in their approach. (For the better, in my opinion.)

I'm sure that this is neither the first nor the last case of the pandemic precipitating a change of perspective and values. Coronavirus is changing the world in more ways than one…
 

WildBoar

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They are what was left over when the one of the kitsch makers produced the world's largest kangaroo sack coin purse.

(yeah, I bought one as a funny gift for one of my friends when I spent a few weeks in Australia a couple decades ago)
 
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