We can do it
WE LIVE in scary times.
It’s easy in tranquil Toodyay to feel little sense of danger as we go about our daily lives, mostly as if nothing has changed.
But nightly news from the rest of world grows increasingly grim, and eastern Australia is now back in the grip of a terrifying new pandemic emergency.
Our national economy is in tatters, social unrest is spreading and governments everywhere are struggling to react as Covid-19 spreads from densely populated cities to regional communities.
This is not a hoax or ‘fake news’.Read more
WA’s geographical isolation has – for once – proved a godsend, and Toodyay’s distance from Perth a bonus.
But reminders exist just below the surface that we live only a heartbeat away from disaster.
Local police are using State emergency powers to conduct regular Toodyay home visits to ensure fly-in fly-out mine workers returning from eastern states’ work spend their mandatory 14 days in self quarantine.
Our State has the nation’s toughest penalties for breaching that quarantine – a $50,000 fine or a year in jail.
Nobody in Toodyay has been prosecuted because – unlike in Victoria and NSW where the virus is spiralling out of control – local people are doing the right thing.
It’s easy in the face of a hidden threat to become paranoid or claim people are over-reacting and jumping at shadows.
But local police have a different view, and as Acting Sgt Joe Neal says in this month’s Page 6 Police Beat column, “this disease can flare up from nothing to a massive danger very quickly”.
That’s what happened last month in Victoria, and now our second-most populous state is in total disaster lockdown.
We cannot allow that to happen here, especially in a highly vulnerable ageing community with its unusually high ratio of 43 per cent of local residents 55 or older.
The State Government says all the personal health measures we adopted locally last March to halt the initial spread of the coronavius are still necessary.
It means keeping a social distance of 1.5m from others in public, not shaking hands, kissing or hugging friends and acquaintances, and frequent hand washing.
Most local people appear to be observing at least some of these safety measures.
But it’s easy to switch off to the constant bad news from the rest of the world and grow complacent because it isn’t happening here.
To do so ignores daily fresh evidence that things are likely to get worse overseas and interstate before they get better.
We may not be in the front line of that disaster but all of us have a local community responsibility to ensure it stays that way.
We can do it.