There’s one place Australian blokes don’t seem to be able to escape COVID – at least that was our experience a couple of weeks ago. That place? Bunnings Warehouse.
Having checked in four times in one week, we soon recieved four seperate COVID-19 case alerts. One for each visit. It was the usual alert: if you feel symptoms, go get a test. But because the definition of a close contact has now been changed (you now have to have spent 4 hours or more in a residential setting with someone to be deemed a close contact), there was nothing we were required to do, as we felt fine .
In light of this, we took to Instagram to see what our followers thought about NSW’s QR code system.
86% of our Instagram followers who responded to the survey answered “Yes, it’s everywhere,” saying checking into places was becoming pointless.
Not everyone agrees with this, however. 14% of people said checking in was still neccessary. There are a couple of reasons for this. The one offered by NSW Dominic Perrottet is a bit flimsy (he basically says the measure will stay in place until at least the end of February, as psychological reassurance, having said: “People feel confident checking in, and our job as government is to instil confidence in our people”).
Another reason could be because it, if used correctly, still helps vulnerable people look after themselves a little more effectively, as one Londoner on Twitter pointed out last year (in the case of England) last year.
I’m pissed off like you but please use the app. As a fully vaxxed but still clinically vulnerable person, it makes me feel so much better checking in and knowing that I haven’t been pinged. But if others aren’t doing it/don’t have contact tracing on, it quickly becomes pointless.
— Ellen “Nellie not Ellie” Rose (@icklenellierose) July 18, 2021
The problem seems to be that many people seem to have already decided for themselves that it’s pointless and given up.
yeah im still checking in, while others just stroll past me and yeah watching old folks fumbling around taking multiple photos pf the QRs, haha..
yeah it’s now pointless.
— Jodz (@Jodz_R) January 26, 2022
I’m in VIC, and I have never seen anyone who just walks into a place get pulled up. It’s not being enforced, which is just a kick in the guts. General public just does not give a damn.
— Michael Mengarda (@MMengarda) July 18, 2021
I haven’t been checking in all year. They are completely pointless now
If contact tracing isn’t a thing, which is quite obviously isn’t, then you don’t need to know where I’ve been
— Jake Weber (@JakeWeberGuitar) January 27, 2022
There’s doesn’t appear to be anybody in Qld Health contact tracing since at least December, checking in is pointless.
— chaz (@chaz1969geco) January 22, 2022
Others are still checking in, but grudgingly.
So glad I’m being forced to check in for my one (1) minute spent in Chemist Warehouse to buy lip balm. How else would I possibly know to monitor for symptoms in a pandemic without my sweet sweet alerts every other day? So blessed. So grateful. Can’t believe this is my life 🙏🏻
— kc (@sendboots) January 27, 2022
Why do we still require venues to ensure people are checking in? Given no one will be considered a close contact seems a little bit pointless.
— Nick (@Mammes) January 23, 2022
Others are asking how it can be pointless, if we’re still getting alerts.
How can it be pointless when we’re still getting alerts? I’ve received alerts when checking in…so I already know in advance if a positive person has been in the store!
— Amanda (@Amanda65503861) January 27, 2022
I am more than a bit confused. Does this new 4hour rule make checking in everywhere you go pointless?
— Robyn Boyce (@RobynBoyce2) December 30, 2021
As The Daily Mail reported yesterday, journalist and radio presenter Ben Fordham recently slammed the utility of QR codes in NSW, saying they are useless if NSW is no longer tracing contacts.
“The host said that if health officials were still tracing the movements of Covid cases, it would be a ‘different story’ and there would be an obvious purpose to retaining them,” The Daily Mail reported.
“Premier Dominic Perrottet has defended his decision to keep the Covid measure, saying keeping the codes was mainly for psychological reassurance,” The Daily Mail added.
Professor Catherine Bennett from Deakin University told the Herald: “If it’s a memory prompt for where you have been or something that will make you more alert to symptoms, that’s a good thing, but the virus is moving so quickly that by the time you get the ‘ping’ you’ve passed it on,’ she told the Herald.
Professor Bennett said the alerts should only be mandated in high risk (for COVID) places like hairdressers and nightclubs.
On a similar note, on Twitter, journalist Steve Price recently asked his followers if they were ready to get back to normal, or if they still wanted restrictions.
I’m not QR Coding if I can get away with it.
— CherryRype (@cherryrype) January 20, 2022
Some didn’t see the harm in keeping some restrictions like masks which one user pointed out “we’ve done… in Asia for many years.” Others said they were done with the inconvenience and that it was time to try to get back to normal.
It was time to move on as soon as omicron hit. It was the perfect opportunity to get back to normal and stop pushing this crap on people.
— Mark Williams (@markwillow80) January 20, 2022
A huge number of users, however, said they were keen to continue following the rules, pointing out they are there “for a reason” and suggesting it would be selfish to stop following them.
They also pointed out that COVID is still much more serious than a flu.
Except that its NOT like any other flu!
Influenza is a tenth of the mortality
Influenza does not have the potential to damage multiple organs
Influenza does not leave “long tail” impacts.
It is trite and inaccurate to characterise this as any other flu!
— mike baudinette (@mikebaudy) January 20, 2022
In recent years, has there been any other flu season that killed almost 650 people in three weeks?
— Paul Bentley 😷 (@paulbentleymelb) January 20, 2022
No I have not & have no intention on stopping following the rules. They’re there for a reason. It’s not like any “other flu infection” so why would we risk even more infections & deaths.
— Jen Lee (@jenleeren) January 20, 2022
Earlier this week, the NSW premier announced a bunch of restrictions that were due to ease on Thursday would be extended until at least February the 28th.
These measures include a one-person per two-square-meter capacity limit in cafes, bars and restaurants, mask-wearing in indoor spaces and a ban on and dancing with exemptions for schools, weddings and performers.
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