Australia is arguably one of the best countries in the world to live in (it has four cities in the Top Ten according to The Economist) and one of those that best managed to handle the pandemic situation.
With data as of this Saturday, June 26, since the COVID-19 crisis broke out, in Australia there were a total of 30,457 infected (0.15% of the population) and 910 people died and in the last month there was no registered no death.
If we compare the same data with Argentina, there were 4,374,587 infected (10% of the population) with 91,979 people dead (100 times the numbers in Australia) and in the last month 16,391 deaths were registered.
This comparison of Argentina vs. Australia, allows us to analyze the suspension of July flights and quarantines in hotels, and how even trying to copy Australia, the government of Alberto Fernández continues to do everything wrong.
Let’s travel back in time to March 20, 2020 when practically all countries simultaneously, some more, some less, activated the protocols against the virus that emerged in China between November and December 2019.
That day Australia closed its borders, a decision that it maintains to this day and that will continue to be so, at least until mid-2022. It was a strong determination, but it made it clear that the authorities did not want the population to be exposed to the virus. There was and is a plan behind it. There are no gears and counter-gears. (The country only made an exception with New Zealand, considered a country free of COVID-19 and with a policy very similar to that taken by Australia in handling the pandemic).
Who should / must return to Australia (the measure still persists), has to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days, with the costs borne by the citizen. That policy has been maintained since March 20, 2020. Once again, there were no twists and turns.
It also limited entry to around 2,500 Australians per day, a measure that was highly criticized, because thousands and thousands of citizens from the “down under” wanted to return to their homes and delayed their returns.
But there were no black holes. Thanks to the fact that the country does not have land borders, the only way to get there is by plane or by boat. So all the people who entered were controlled and quarantined. Even the tennis players from the Melbourne Open. (Not like in Argentina, where the players of certain soccer tournaments were exempted from quarantines in another unusual populist decision. Because players don’t infect, or are they?).
Argentina chose another decision. It quarantined its entire population on March 20, 2020, closed its borders, but … (a big but), kept them open for cargo transport. There were no protocols, no tests, no quarantines, no plan. The first great black hole, were the thousands of trucks that continued (and continue) entering day by day, from Brazil, Paraguay, Chile and Uruguay. That is, while from June 28, 2021, only 600 people per day will be able to enter with a quadruple protocol (PCR test before the flight, antigen test in Ezeiza, seven-day quarantine and another PCR test on the seventh day), the truckers they will continue to enter the country without any type of restriction, as they have been doing since March 20, 2020. As if the variants did not enter through trucks. It seems, for the Argentine government, that they have immunity (like the president himself and his officials who traveled abroad and did not comply with any protocol).
The second black hole was the lack of a system of massive tests and specific and immediate lockdowns in areas where outbreaks were detected. That was done in Australia.
The third was the lack of controls on people who came from abroad. There were no checked quarantines, leaving everything to the good will of the citizens. Part of the responsibility of the state is to control, anywhere in the world.
Now, in this framework, a year and three months later of the policy carried out by Australia, Argentina now decides that only 600 people will be allowed to enter per day and that they will have to quarantine for seven days in a hotel, while on the other hand, Airlines Argentinas, its flagship company, promotes the return of flights to New York with newsletters. Not understandable?
What about all the flights sold by Aerolineas Argentinas – specifically – with their daily frequencies to Miami reinforced during June? What about the other passengers who flew during June with other companies for different destinations and who were authorized?
Surely some reader will say that in the Affidavit that is signed when leaving the country, it is clarified that the government has the freedom to close the borders at any time and that what happens next is the responsibility of the citizen. It is the typical “disclaimer” that one signs in a company that wants to disclaim any responsibility. But in the case of a state, this legal subterfuge goes against the principles of “gender”, “equality”, “sisterhood”, and so many words that they use in their acts and speeches, but which in practice are far from that “equality ».
Because for the Argentine state, those who can travel are not the same as those who cannot. They are almost criminals to be persecuted. Or perhaps even worse than criminals, because those who commit crimes are free on the streets of Argentina. We all know.
Vaccines that did not arrive, second doses delayed, second doses that will be changed for other vaccines, “it’s a flu,” the VIP vaccination, the marches and countermarches, saying for almost three months that it was not necessary to use chinstraps, the lack of help real to traders, independent professionals and the sectors most affected.
Neither we nor any other medium, or travel agency or airline, really knows what will happen with the July flights. We only know that it will be chaos. Thousands of people stranded abroad, for days or weeks, because there will be no flights to get them back. That is what is known and will be a reality.
What about the July flights? The government team of scientists will continue to say that the axis of evil are tourists (most who return vaccinated), that everything is under control and that by the end of the year, we will have herd immunity. The same promise made last year.