Please, we need leniency in exceptional cases
29th May 2021

Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson

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Please, we need leniency in exceptional cases

I support the decision to lockdown for a week. However, there should be a process for exceptional cases. My husband, who has dementia, suffered a serious fall last Saturday. He is in St Vincent’s with a brace which must stay on for three months. Until yesterday, I could visit him from 12pm each day, walking the two kilometres each way as part of my daily routine.

The hospital had rigorous entry procedures (registration, temperature, checklist of tier sites, new face mask). My husband does not understand what has happened to him and is easily distressed. He keeps trying to rip off the velcro straps securing his brace. If he were in a nursing home, he would have carers he knows. Now he is confined to a ward with three strangers and no staff he knows. The staff are wonderful, but when I am there it frees them up to deal with the other patients with dementia on that ward. Surely there can be exceptions to the blanket lockdown of hospitals.
Dianne Berlin, Carlton

Yes, it is tough – especially for health workers

I am sorry that children’s birthday parties have been cancelled again (The Age, 28/5). It is tough on them and tough on their parents. But isn’t parenting all about management of expectations and disappointments? Just do it, for goodness sake.

Can we have less of the “woe is me” from people who have to miss funerals, postpone weddings and have their plans for international travel frustrated? We know it is hard – but nowhere near as hard as it is for our health services, and leaders who have to manage a massively difficult crisis. How did we manage in 1941 when Dad wasn’t around to attend birthday parties and the night was spent in bomb shelters?
David Myer, South Melbourne

What a difference a day makes to ’safety’

On Thursday I walked my dog, without wearing a mask, and this was legal and safe. Yesterday I did the same and this was illegal and dangerous. This time next week, once the lockdown ends, it will be legal and safe again. What nonsense.
Steve Jones, Healesville

A long, tiring battle to make an appointment

I spent most of Thursday trying to get through on the number to book a vaccination. Repeatedly I received messages saying that the line was disconnected or experiencing a higher than usual call volume and to call back later. Finally, at 7.55pm, I got through to a menu option, only to be told that the wait time to book a spot was over two hours. What is the point of repeatedly telling people to get vaccinated if the system is not set up to cope with the numbers? Moreover, why is there no facility to book online?
Lisa Anderson, Canterbury

Each state needs a dedicated quarantine centre

Forget the 99.99per cent success rate of hotel quarantine that the federal government keep banging on about. It is, as Dennis Richards (Letters, 28/5) says, the 0.01per cent that causes the problems. The latest “0.01per cent case” acquired in hotel quarantine in South Australia has caused, in Victoria, 15,000 people to self-isolate, unable to attend work, school, business etc, and the entire state to go into lockdown.

This 0.01per cent will cost billions of dollars, to say nothing of the enormous personal costs and other states closing their borders. How much cheaper it would be to build a Howard Springs-style quarantine centre in every state. If the scientific argument is not enough reason, perhaps the financial one might be. This pandemic will be with us for a long time yet.
Liz Harvey, Mount Eliza

Get the jab for your health and the community

The notion that one needs to be given some kind of reward for being vaccinated, such as frequent flier points or a beverage of choice (The Age, 28/5), diminishes the value of this important health measure. For goodness sake, the vaccine is required to save lives and to protect the community and there should be no need to offer some form of bribe.
Rod Evans, Parkville


Planning for the future

Julian Smibert says “Victoria’s politicians and health bureaucrats have shown they have no plans beyond lockdowns and vaccines” (Letters, 28/5). Simply not true.

The state government, in its recent budget, announced $155million to back a new Institute for Infectious Disease and it has also publicised its plan to set up a purpose-built quarantine facility in Mickleham. Furthermore, comprehensive vaccination of the population is the pathway out of the pandemic and so deserves the focus of government, state and federal.
Jane Robins, Moonee Ponds

Please, get vaccinated

Annika Smethurst (Opinion, 28/5) makes a spurious comparison between the ‴⁣⁣protection” provided by hotel quarantine (“more than 99per cent effective‴⁣⁣) versus vaccination (“70per cent”).
As we in Melbourne know only too well, just a single case escaping from quarantine into an unvaccinated community may result in exponential infection rates that can take months to suppress. However, widespread immunisation with a 70per cent effective vaccine is more than sufficient to reduce the COVID-19 reproduction rate below one, preventing such uncontrolled outbreaks.

Dedicated quarantine facilities are not the ultimate solution, either. Their capacity will be too small to permit anything like the resumption of normal international travel. Vaccination is the only way out. If you are eligible, please get vaccinated, for all our sakes.
Mark Summerfield, Northcote

No Dan? Oh, the relief

There is little to celebrate during a lockdown but at least this time we are being spared interminable, sanctimonious lectures from Dan Andrews. James Merlino for premier?
John Pritchard, Melbourne

Putting the party first

Rather than again sniping from the sidelines, why does Michael O’Brien not ask his Liberal colleagues in South Australia to explain their failure to learn from our lesson on aerosol transmission of the virus in hotel quarantine? He could provide non-partisan support for Victoria’s fight against COVID-19, but his silence indicates party allegiance over concern for citizens in his state.
Elizabeth Morris, Elsternwick

Keep our virus out of SA

I love the irony that South Australia closed its border to Victorians due to an outbreak caused by a failure of SA hotel quarantine. John Cleese would be proud.
David Van Ryn, Canterbury

Protecting the patients

While attending my dentist earlier this week, I was staggered to hear that all dentists and dental nurses in the practice were not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Apparently as the law stands, staff can only be encouraged, not mandated, to be vaccinated. I would have thought the law would recognise that the practice’s duty of care to patients overrides an individual’s right to refuse vaccination (other than on genuine medical grounds). Is it the same in aged care homes?
Brian Benger, Fairfield

Too much information

Ban from television all images of grimacing people getting jabbed. Many of us are gutless and the images of glistening needles plunging in is a deterrent.
Roger Mendelson, Toorak

Putting all children first

How refreshing that three Liberal MPs are calling for the age of criminal responsibility to be lifted to 14, as the Greens introduce a private member’s bill to stop children as young as 10 being incarcerated (The Age, 28/5). Children are being harmed in our criminal justice system. Perhaps one of the MPs, Brad Bittin, as a former policeman, saw up close and was affected by the damage done to those children. Their advocacy is less political, more moral. What a pity we did not see more of this when the children of people seeking asylum in Australia were locked up. I thought that in my country, the welfare and safety of children would always be above party politics.
Marie Douglas, Camberwell

The pursuit of balance

This is with reference to the article, “Time to talk about four-day week” (Opinion, 26/5). Indeed, economic productivity is not only the yardstick to measure the quality of our life. The art of balancing our workload and our social life is what gives an unbridled rein to our pursuit of happiness.
Shiva Neupane, Macleod

Aim for softer surfaces

John Bye (Letters, 26/5) asks: “When will the AFL make all players wear head protection gear? This would reduce head injuries and protect us from seeing distressing hairstyles”.
Sorry, but there is a major problem with concussion in the NFL despite – or because of – the use of helmets. A large percentage of concussions in the AFL are due to ground surfaces being too hard. Having longer grass and using penetrometers to work towards softer surfaces would be a much more effective measure.
Simon Costello, Melbourne

Game of mediocrity

Jane Washington (Letters, 26/5) is correct. We should change the way AFL premiership points are awarded. Seeing as the game already rewards shots on goal that are mediocre enough to almost score, why not reward teams that are mediocre enough to almost win?
Stewart Monckton, Mont Albert

The safe, sensible option

I do not understand why safe injecting rooms cannot be in public hospitals. They are away from public spaces. All have good transport. They have emergency departments that are able to cope with overdoses. They also have security services.

Furthermore there is less likelihood of drug dealers loitering outside hospitals to sell drugs. If a safe injecting room is set up in the CBD, businesses in the area will be severely affected. Who would want to frequent businesses near an injecting facility?
Ann Thorburn, Blairgowrie

Memory of a left-winger

So Mick Cummins (Letters, 27/5) thinks Tony Blair is on the “political right”. He must have undergone a major political shift from when he led the UK Labour Party then.
Anthony Whitmarsh, Viewbank

Explaining Airbnb fees

As a rural Airbnb host, I recently and reluctantly introduced a cleaning fee. Due to COVID-19 precautions, I block out three to five days between stays and spend three-plus hours cleaning. I get Ben Groundwater’s point when he compares us to hotels (Opinion, 28/5).

Please consider, however, that we provide a unique experience for guests. We launder your linen with precious rainwater and depending on your inclination, we entertain you and take you round the property. We respond to your bookings at 2am, when we rise at 5am. Our nightly price is modest. A messy kitchen alone will account for the cleaning fee.

Yes, it is reasonable to ask you to put your garbage in the bin outside. During COVID-19, many hosts will not enter the space for at least 24 hours, so food scraps should not be left to moulder. Absence of damage is not the sole indicator of respect.
Debra Vickers, Binginwarri

Stick to the rules, DA

DA, being such a wordsmith as you are, I find it bewildering that you feel the need to resort to turning your quick crossword into a test of not words, but a vast examination of our general knowledge. Please desist.
Eva Millane, Box Hill North

Keep it in perspective

What a pity the global and local media do not balance the reporting of every vaccine-related blood clot death with every death resulting from COVID-19. Let’s see, that would need to be something like 40,000 COVID deaths for every single blood clotting incident.
Robert Boelen, Waratah Bay

A warning from Murphy

To all those people and would-be politicians who know better than our medical experts, remember Murphy’s Law – if it can happen, it will. And I have been informed that Murphy was an optimist.
Michael Hall, Blackburn


Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding


Morrison thinks 99.99 per cent safe hotel quarantine is acceptable. Victorians, who are experiencing the 0.01 per cent, don’t think so.
Jill Baird, North Melbourne

That 0.01 per cent is certainly wreaking havoc.
John Page, Glenroy

Our new number plate: ″⁣Victoria – The State of COVID Incompetence″⁣.
Peter Alexander, South Yarra

Come one, Scott. Proper quarantine and vaccine delivery for all Australians.
Lou Crellin, Balwyn

When’s Dan coming back? I really miss him.
Michael Carver, Hawthorn East

If our ministers weren’t paid during a lockdown, one wonders if our systems would improve.
Bruce Severns, Toorak

Toilet Paper Panic Disorder (28/5) owes more to Pavlov than Freud. If only sufferers could be trained to queue for vaccination instead.
Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale

Set the ’G up as a vaccination hub. You’d do all of Melbourne in a matter of months.
Ian Anderson, Surrey Hills

″⁣With the greatest respect″⁣, Greg Hunt, you should consider answering questions in interviews.
Ivan Glynn, Vermont

So, pets have their own quarantine facility. Humans are the underdogs now.
Margaret Collings, Anglesea

To whom do we send the bill for the damage to the economy? SA or the Commonwealth? Or will they go Dutch?
Brad Vann, Richmond


John Cena (World, 27/5) was right the first time. Taiwan is a country.
Tim Durbridge, Brunswick

Cryptic success. Thank you, NS (27/5).
Penny Smithers, Ashburton

NS, Nepal’s capital is Kathmandu. The ″⁣h″⁣ may be silent, dependent on pronunciation, but it’s there.
Craig Baxter, Maffra

I wondered why ″⁣bulldogs″⁣ were isolating (26/5), then realised it was the usual Melbourne concern for AFL over most other things.
Julie Carrick, Leopold

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