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What is the Covid-19 Exit Strategy of 'Zero Covid' countries such as Australia and New Zealand?

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kristiang85

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The liberals have been over run by religious loonies.

I remember reading about the "lock out" drinking laws in Sydney a few years back that killed the nightlife there. Its quite terrifying to think they've infiltrated the national government now...
 

Bantamzen

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The amount of people travelling internationally and not owning a smartphone is minuscule, and such a tiny number of people won’t obstruct the implementation of the policy.

As the proposal is aimed at travellers who would otherwise be subject to hotel quarantine, I expect that is where people will end up if they cannot or do not use the app.
The proposal is aimed at travellers for now. But once implemented what is to stop them expanding their scope. That was what my question was aimed at.
 

island

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The proposal is aimed at travellers for now. But once implemented what is to stop them expanding their scope. That was what my question was aimed at.
I see. Judging from their actions to date I don’t think the Australian authorities will see concerns such as yours as anything other than a red-herring.
 

Bikeman78

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South Australia is now demanding requiring you download an app that features facial recognition and geolocation that contacts you and gives you 15 minutes to reply, or the police will come. God help Australia.
https://twitter.com/Lukewearechange/status/1433452485067292672?t=jwJm9comjDgvPJIhzFaj2w&s=19

And here's the article that triggered the tweet - still calling Australia a liberal democracy, somehow.
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/09/pandemic-australia-still-liberal-democracy/619940/
Wow, how many Police do they have in Australia? No chance of doing that in the UK. Is it just a bluff?
 

Bantamzen

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I see. Judging from their actions to date I don’t think the Australian authorities will see concerns such as yours as anything other than a red-herring.
I'm pretty certain that somewhere in the corridors of power in Australia someone has already asked what else such powers could be used for. Dismiss it all you like, but if you allow such powers expect them to be abused.
 

Horizon22

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I see that - publicly at least - they've sensibly given up on the whole "Covid Zero" approach.


Australia has changed its Covid strategy: it's time to leave lockdowns and "come out of the cave", Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said.
With vaccinations accelerating, he says Australians will soon "live with the virus" for the first time - that is, not try to eliminate it.
It's a drastic shift for a country used to seeing very few infections.
 

35B

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I see that - publicly at least - they've sensibly given up on the whole "Covid Zero" approach.

Yesterday's Sunday Times (sorry, no link handy and it's behind a paywall) had an interesting piece on the tensions between federal government and the states over restrictions - Western Australia and Queensland have not given up on that approach and the state premiers are well supported for it. We should remember that Australia's a big place, and just because stuff's happening in NSW and Victoria, doesn't mean it's happening nationwide.
 

Pakenhamtrain

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Yesterday's Sunday Times (sorry, no link handy and it's behind a paywall) had an interesting piece on the tensions between federal government and the states over restrictions - Western Australia and Queensland have not given up on that approach and the state premiers are well supported for it. We should remember that Australia's a big place, and just because stuff's happening in NSW and Victoria, doesn't mean it's happening nationwide.
Western Australia has always been weird.
 

Freightmaster

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...the tensions between federal government and the states over restrictions - Western Australia and Queensland have not given up on that approach and the state premiers are well supported for it.
So if we amend the thread title slightly to "What is the Covid-19 Exit Strategy of 'Zero Covid' countries Australian states such as Western Australia and Queensland?", what is the answer? Have the premiers of those two states given any indication of exactly how/when they are planning to get back to full 2019 normality or are they burying their heads in the sand?





MARK
 

35B

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So if we amend the thread title slightly to "What is the Covid-19 Exit Strategy of 'Zero Covid' countries Australian states such as Western Australia and Queensland?", what is the answer? Have the premiers of those two states given any indication of exactly how/when they are planning to get back to full 2019 normality or are they burying their heads in the sand?





MARK
Not that I’m aware of. Their current position seems to be based on the belief that they can maintain their splendid isolation from the rest of the country, and use that to avoid letting Delta out. That’s being backed by their voters, hence the difficulty that the national government is having getting them to change their position.
 

Pakenhamtrain

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Not that I’m aware of. Their current position seems to be based on the belief that they can maintain their splendid isolation from the rest of the country, and use that to avoid letting Delta out. That’s being backed by their voters, hence the difficulty that the national government is having getting them to change their position.
They will slowly change thier tune with NSW looking like they will open to the world before everyone else. Shame it was a giant stuff up that got them there and dragged us into it.
 

35B

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They will slowly change thier tune with NSW looking like they will open to the world before everyone else. Shame it was a giant stuff up that got them there and dragged us into it.
Given the old line about changing your watch by 1/2 hour and your calendar by 30 years when going to Queensland, how slowly?
 

Pakenhamtrain

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Given the old line about changing your watch by 1/2 hour and your calendar by 30 years when going to Queensland, how slowly?
I reckon once everyone sees interstate going on holiday they will get grumpy at thier government. WA well.......they're on thier own planet. They'll rejoin earth sometime soon.
 

Cdd89

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I don't see how it can go on that long to be honest:
  • Without travel controls from places with Covid, there is no possibility of maintianing 'Zero Covid'
  • While international travel controls may have been politically tolerable as they only affect a relatively small percentage, domestic travel controls split up far more families
I would expect the tide to turn fairly quickly as a result of this, with huge amount of resentment and recriminations on both sides.
 

35B

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I don't see how it can go on that long to be honest:
  • Without travel controls from places with Covid, there is no possibility of maintianing 'Zero Covid'
  • While international travel controls may have been politically tolerable as they only affect a relatively small percentage, domestic travel controls split up far more families
I would expect the tide to turn fairly quickly as a result of this, with huge amount of resentment and recriminations on both sides.
@Pakenhamtrain may have a different view on this, but on my couple of trips to Australia, I've always been struck by the sense of crossing borders when moving between states, meaning that controls are more practical than might first be thought.

I agree on the politics of domestic separations, though.
 

Pakenhamtrain

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@Pakenhamtrain may have a different view on this, but on my couple of trips to Australia, I've always been struck by the sense of crossing borders when moving between states, meaning that controls are more practical than might first be thought.

I agree on the politics of domestic separations, though.
Depends on where you are. Crossing into WA from SA or NT you go through a quarantine station a bit like how they have going into California in the US.
Going city to city it's more a big deal because of how far apart everything is. The only place it isn't is the QLD/NSW border on the Gold Coast/Tweed Heads. You can drive down back streets and cross into a different state.
NSW into Vic there are that many border crossings manning all of them is impossible.
 

LAX54

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Slightly off track, did not realise until last week, that The Netherlands have never had a 'you must wear a mask' mandate/order in the whole of the pandemic.
18K deaths, and 2Million affected, although they only have a population of 18 Million. (UK 133K / 7 Million / 67 Million)
 

DustyBin

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Slightly off track, did not realise until last week, that The Netherlands have never had a 'you must wear a mask' mandate/order in the whole of the pandemic.
18K deaths, and 2Million affected, although they only have a population of 18 Million. (UK 133K / 7 Million / 67 Million)

I didn’t realise that either. The whole mask thing is pure dogma; at the end of the day nobody has provided any evidence to support the efficacy of face coverings in a community setting. People point to this study and that study but they’re invariably reliant on modelling or tests carried out in lab conditions (or both). They completely ignore the countless variables encountered in a community setting. I’m not aware of a single country where a mask mandate has preceded a decrease in transmission (there are loads of graphs demonstrating this). If anything the data suggests the exact opposite, i.e. they actually lead to increased transmission. It may just be coincidence of course but the data is quite striking!
 

35B

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I didn’t realise that either. The whole mask thing is pure dogma; at the end of the day nobody has provided any evidence to support the efficacy of face coverings in a community setting. People point to this study and that study but they’re invariably reliant on modelling or tests carried out in lab conditions (or both). They completely ignore the countless variables encountered in a community setting. I’m not aware of a single country where a mask mandate has preceded a decrease in transmission (there are loads of graphs demonstrating this). If anything the data suggests the exact opposite, i.e. they actually lead to increased transmission. It may just be coincidence of course but the data is quite striking!
There was a study released recently (pre-print at https://www.poverty-action.org/site..._RCT____Symptomatic_Seropositivity_083121.pdf, apparently pending peer review for Science) comparing different mask strategies in Bangladesh that suggests surgical masks had an effect in reducing the incidence of Covid:
Results: There were 178,288 individuals in the intervention group and 163,838 individuals in the control group. The intervention increased proper mask-wearing from 13.3% in control villages (N=806,547 observations) to 42.3% in treatment villages (N=797,715 observations) (adjusted percentage point difference = 0.29 [0.27, 0.31]). This tripling of mask usage was sustained during the intervention period and two weeks after. Physical distancing increased from 24.1% in control villages to 29.2% in treatment villages (adjusted percentage point difference = 0.05 [0.04, 0.06]). After 5 months, the impact of the intervention faded, but mask-wearing remained 10 percentage points higher in the intervention group. The proportion of individuals with COVID-like symptoms was 7.62% (N=13,273) in the intervention arm and 8.62% (N=13,893) in the control arm. Blood samples were collected from N=10,952 consenting, symptomatic individuals. Adjusting for baseline covariates, the 2 intervention reduced symptomatic seroprevalence by 9.3% (adjusted prevalence ratio (aPR) = 0.91 [0.82, 1.00]; control prevalence 0.76%; treatment prevalence 0.68%). In villages randomized to surgical masks (n = 200), the relative reduction was 11.2% overall (aPR = 0.89 [0.78, 1.00]) and 34.7% among individuals 60+ (aPR = 0.65 [0.46, 0.85]). No adverse events were reported.
Conclusions: Our intervention demonstrates a scalable and effective method to promote mask adoption and reduce symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections.
The implications of the results and method are debated, on fairly partisan lines, and the researchers themselves are clear that the best results were achieved with surgical masks rather than cloth face coverings.
 

takno

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There was a study released recently (pre-print at https://www.poverty-action.org/site..._RCT____Symptomatic_Seropositivity_083121.pdf, apparently pending peer review for Science) comparing different mask strategies in Bangladesh that suggests surgical masks had an effect in reducing the incidence of Covid:

The implications of the results and method are debated, on fairly partisan lines, and the researchers themselves are clear that the best results were achieved with surgical masks rather than cloth face coverings.
This is an interesting paper. Thanks for sharing. It's a bit of an "activist" kind of paper in the sense that it starts from the assumption that increasing mask wearing is a good thing, and then claims (quite reasonably) to have demonstrated that interventions do increase mask-wearing. The secondary conclusions on effectiveness were tested using a pretty shaky methodology and in general don't seem very applicable to western cultures.

On social distancing, there was huge opportunity for observation bias, and the distances counted as socially distant would barely count as polite in normal times in the UK. More importantly they are making the claim that mask-wearing doesn't reduce social-distancing in spite of the fact that the amount of social-distancing happening is already very low, and the masks come along with a significant awareness in-person campaign which may have led people to worry more and take more of every kind of precaution. This is in stark contrast to the western societies where the concern about masks reducing social distancing is being made. In fact, the general existence of an in-person awareness campaign in the study villages could have led to various behaviour changes which would account for a difference, although the researchers partly cover this in their discussion by pointing out the greater apparent effectiveness of surgical masks.

The measurement of symptomatic cases is somewhat problematic, given that it is self-reported, and only occurs in the 2 months after the intervention. Given that in all cases the vast majority of people reporting symptoms didn't show any seroprevalence, the reported symptoms figure is unlikely to be a valuable measure of spread. It's entirely believable (and unaddressed in the report) that people in the masked villages, particularly those with the super scientific surgical masks, could have felt more protected and been more inclined to brush off or not report symptoms. Given that the difference was of the order of 10% that seems at least as likely as any actual benefit derived from the masks. The seroprevalence tests are on even more shaky ground, since they were only conducted on the small subset of people reporting symptoms, and the difference here was even less pronounced. This could easily be entirely driven by under-reporting in symptoms to start with.

In general, I'd say the paper made a semi-believable observation that raising surgical mask-wearing from 10%-40%, in a low-prevalence environment, where indoor mixing is relatively rare but when done is done very intensively, may have had a slight population-level effect on the spread of a pre-Delta variant. In all cases there was a mask mandate in place, so that in itself wasn't tested at all.

I'll file that in the no-silver-bullet pile.
 

johnnychips

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This is an interesting paper. Thanks for sharing. It's a bit of an "activist" kind of paper in the sense that it starts from the assumption that increasing mask wearing is a good thing, and then claims (quite reasonably) to have demonstrated that interventions do increase mask-wearing. The secondary conclusions on effectiveness were tested using a pretty shaky methodology and in general don't seem very applicable to western cultures.

On social distancing, there was huge opportunity for observation bias, and the distances counted as socially distant would barely count as polite in normal times in the UK. More importantly they are making the claim that mask-wearing doesn't reduce social-distancing in spite of the fact that the amount of social-distancing happening is already very low, and the masks come along with a significant awareness in-person campaign which may have led people to worry more and take more of every kind of precaution. This is in stark contrast to the western societies where the concern about masks reducing social distancing is being made. In fact, the general existence of an in-person awareness campaign in the study villages could have led to various behaviour changes which would account for a difference, although the researchers partly cover this in their discussion by pointing out the greater apparent effectiveness of surgical masks.

The measurement of symptomatic cases is somewhat problematic, given that it is self-reported, and only occurs in the 2 months after the intervention. Given that in all cases the vast majority of people reporting symptoms didn't show any seroprevalence, the reported symptoms figure is unlikely to be a valuable measure of spread. It's entirely believable (and unaddressed in the report) that people in the masked villages, particularly those with the super scientific surgical masks, could have felt more protected and been more inclined to brush off or not report symptoms. Given that the difference was of the order of 10% that seems at least as likely as any actual benefit derived from the masks. The seroprevalence tests are on even more shaky ground, since they were only conducted on the small subset of people reporting symptoms, and the difference here was even less pronounced. This could easily be entirely driven by under-reporting in symptoms to start with.

In general, I'd say the paper made a semi-believable observation that raising surgical mask-wearing from 10%-40%, in a low-prevalence environment, where indoor mixing is relatively rare but when done is done very intensively, may have had a slight population-level effect on the spread of a pre-Delta variant. In all cases there was a mask mandate in place, so that in itself wasn't tested at all.

I'll file that in the no-silver-bullet pile.
Thank you @takno for taking so much trouble to read and analyse it all.
 

kristiang85

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The link has a video to a news report from NSW saying that deliveries to people being locked down are being monitored and excess alcohol over a mandated limit is being exceeded confiscated. (Edit: typo)

Australia gets more totalarian by the day. And surely won't this just mean that people will put in more orders, and thus expose delivery drivers to more risk?

I had to laugh at the comment down the page:

Clive James was right: “The problem with Australians is not that so many of them are descended from convicts, but that so many of them are descended from prison officers.”
 
Last edited:

52290

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The link has a video to a news report from NSW saying that deliveries to people being locked down are being monitored and excess alcohol over a mandated limit is being exceeded.

Australia gets more totalarian by the day. And surely won't this just mean that people will put in more orders, and thus expose delivery drivers to more risk?

I had to laugh at the comment down the page:
Surely the word is teetotalitarian.
 

Merseysider

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The link has a video to a news report from NSW saying that deliveries to people being locked down are being monitored and excess alcohol over a mandated limit is being exceeded.
This should be a matter of personal choice.

What next?

“Sorry sir, but you’re only allowed two chocolate bars a day. I’m going to have to confiscate your Snickers.”
 

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