Melbourne has been under some form of restrictions for the past 183 days, claimed by some to be the most restrictive in the world. (Personally I think this is being a bit dramatic, but it’s likely not far off the truth.) Since August 2nd, we’ve been limited to a 5km radius from our homes with very few exceptions, and only one person per day can leave the house, once, for one of four approved reasons. For the most part we were not allowed to visit one another, and there was an overnight curfew imposed on the same date.
Australians don’t really go in for the whole chest-beating “how dare you infringe my civil liberties” thing (some grandstanding idiots aside) but there is no doubt that the pandemic has taken a huge toll on Victorians – one much higher than reflected in the case statistics. Jobs have been lost, businesses impacted, school years basically written off. The psychic impact of the isolation, anxiety, and fear will be with us for years to come.
Today, there is finally some cause for hope. New daily cases have been plummeting (from 686 on August 4th to just 5 today), the overnight curfew has been lifted, and in just three weeks we may see retail and distance restrictions being lifted. Hopefully, people will be somewhat sensible about this so that we don’t have a new spike and go back into lockdown – but our collective cabin fever is strong.
Personally, I can’t wait to just go for a drive without any particular destination or limit. I don’t even need to get out of the car – I just want to go somewhere else. I never realised how much I valued freedom of movement.
Three weeks to go. Fingers crossed.