[AMA] Tonight we're (again!) flying Emirates First Class to Europe using 455K Qantas Points Thanks To OzBargain!

You maybe remember that awful post I did a couple of years ago; well it's happening again and this time the missus is coming with me. All this time grounded enabled me to churn quite a few OzB sourced credit cards and accumulate the 455,000 points necessary for two first class tickets on Emirates from MEL to CDG.

We're currently sitting in the dreadful Marhaba lounge in Melbourne airport; the Qantas First lounge I was posting from 2 years ago is sadly closed, as is the Emirates business lounge. Once we board the plane I expect the experience to improve markedly!

Like last time; I'll post some pics to Instagram as the journey unfolds.

Meanwhile, I'll get the ball rolling by answering a few likely questions:

"How did you get permission to leave Australia?"
It's actually pretty easy to get a travel exemption if you can demonstrate that you're leaving for more than 3 months. Key points are to show that you have the means to support yourself, the necessary visas / passports allowing you to stay etc.

I should be clear about my opinion on this though: I think it's absolutely absurd and outrageous that Australia continues to deny their own citizens agency to leave the country. Were it not so simple to gain an exemption we would have simply left via the NZ "back door".

"What about COVID? It's a global pandemic!!! You're crazy!"
Well, we're both fully vaccinated. We weren't eligible for vaccines when we got them, so we walked in and asked for AstraZeneca and they just gave them to us. Handy to be vaccinated when you're heading to Europe, but let's see how much hassle it is getting them to believe in these super fake looking vaccine certificates the Australian Government gave us.

As for risk; I was actually in Europe for a few months last year also; obviously unvaccinated at the time. It didn't worry to much as I'm not in a risk category. Life goes on.

closed Comments

  • +278

    That's incredibly selfish considering the cap on Australians coming home. You may be taking the place of someone who has been stuck overseas for months with savings running dry, who left the country to say goodbye to their dying mum or care for a disabled relative who has nobody else to support them. I hope you get stuck over there much longer than intended and have to wait at the very back of the queue to come home.

    • +51

      That's incredibly selfish considering the cap on Australians coming home.

      Blame those who are actually stopping them?

      • What's CDG?

        • +8

          If you see three capital letters in this context, it could be an airport code. In this case it is, and it stands for "Charles De Gaulle" airport which is the main airport in Paris.

        • +11

          Comme Des Garcons from Tokyo.

        • Paris

      • +7

        If only we had dedicated quarantine facilities that are built and fit for purpose.

        • +2

          And dedicated quarantine personnel who are not allowed out to the community.

          • @Franconian: yep - wouldn't work otherwise.
            Have to pay them well and vaccinate them then test and quarantine them before they can come off a shift - challenging

        • +5

          There were 53,000 arrivals into Aus.
          Lets say 80% were from NZ.
          That leaves 10,600.
          Quarantine is 2weeks that means you would need 5,300 rooms.

          No Government is going to build 5,300 rooms.

          • +9

            @Other: Yet they were happy to give Gerry a huge government handout during first lockdown even though his profits soared. I guess it comes down to priorities.

            • +2

              @Vote for Pedro: Whether they gave Gerry money or not is irrelevant (because they gave it to every business who applied).
              The logistics would be a nightmare.
              It would probably take 2.5-3 years to build.

              • +2

                @Other: not if they let Gerry build it.

                • +5

                  @Antikythera: So true. It would then take 10 years and Gerry would definitely blame Amazon - which may seem unusual given Amazon aren't a construction company, but Gerry would find a way.

                  • +6

                    @markathome: I wonder if they’d be able to throw a $30million grant to foxtel to report on how well the construction is going

              • +1

                @Other: Yet the illegal robodebt was easy and despite the hardships and suicides it caused it kept rolling on.

                I guess it’s making sure you look after your political base.

              • @Other: In Vic, 3 years to build is being optimistic

              • @Other: no, just needs more resources - anything sprawling can be built in 9 months that doesn't have basements and isn't high rise. they've been talking about it that long

          • @Other: 5300 rooms x $100,000 each on economy of scale of building large scale basic facilities = $530 million.
            That's a drop in the ocean vs the economic cost of this pandemic

            • +1

              @MrFrugalSpend: How much would it cost to do quarantine properly with the facilities we Already have?
              The issue has been very poor training and almost zero quality control - security guards banging guests…. :-/.
              I'm not sure why certain States have been worse than others, but my guess is a total abrogation of responsibility by anyone in running it properly.

              No Government is going to sink $530M into a building - I mean if it was such a awesome idea, why hasn't even one country built one?

              Perhaps this reports sums it up:
              "The creation of a single location hot hotel – Rydges Hotel in Carlton – to handle all infected returnees was a good idea in theory, but created an enormous single point of failure if it went wrong"

              What happens if the facility get so infected that all 5,300 people develop COVID? Should we build a hospital next to it?

              And where should we put it?

              And what do we do with it after COVID has ended?

            • @MrFrugalSpend: Actually reading the reasons why for 2nd Melb. lockdown - I would have to agree with you to build a facility that is 100% run by the Commonwealth.

              but not because of the buildings - they are 100% fine.

              No, rather it is the outsourcing of support staff -> AGAIN <- (when it didn't work the first time) with Sh*t training and poor practices conducted by the Vic Gov.
              And this was the "Gold Standard"

              For example - rather than having separate COVID washing section, lets just mix it all up again with little ppe and watch as washing staff contract COVID.
              Good on the staff for walking out after the first case!

              I mean why can't they (Vic Gov) just pay staff enough so they won't have to do work for other employers!
              There's a thought for the next….. decade…..
              I mean, if they only work for 1 employer - there is less risk they will spread COVID to other workplaces - like OMG! Who would of thought.

              Dan is pretending that a because of……… ? a dedicated COVID facility is needed. When its staffing failures - bought on by the Vic Gov practices of outsourcing.

              Its a good way to fool some of the people though.

    • +39

      who's to say his return flight won't he constantly cancelled and he won't make it back for a year.

      • +28

        Booking first class ticket is a guarantee that its going to be the last one to be cancelled.

        • +9

          Perhaps not if you’re using points for the ticket. Right now, airlines want the $$$. Doubly so if you aren’t a high status frequent flyer.

          • @ChickenTalon: Points don't work like that on the balance sheet. Qantas FF / airlines have all made their money from this transaction - the cost has come from the businesses that allocated the points instead of the customer. Points allocated that are unspent show up as liability on the balance sheet. Fun fact Qantas airways and FF are separate business entities - Qantas Airways has to buy points from FF to allocate to their customers.

    • +78

      This will be an interesting debate. Not sure I'd call the poster selfish. If he can get an exemption more power to him. He might actually help others to get home by travelling first class in that I'd say it more likely airlines wouldn't cancel the flight with first class passengers on board.

      But as someone who emigrated from Ireland 14 years ago and we have no family here (all are at home in Ireland) I would not risk travelling home in case we could not get back in. It is criminal locking out Aussies and not allowing them to come home. What happened to the mateship we learnt about during our citizenship ceremony?

      As someone who is also fully vaccinated I hope international borders open sometime soon so we can all travel again.

      • +3

        Too right cobber. If we had the quarantine facilities built last year we’d have been able to look after all permanent residents and citizens. Such a shame.

        • +15

          Much better to just drag it out with the highly effective hotel quarantine system.

          • +1

            @brendanm: Was there supposed to be a /s somewhere?

            • +10

              @Yamai: If people are so dumb they need an /s for that, not sure they would have the ability to sign up to ozbargain.

        • -5

          you would need to build 5,000+ rooms and it would take 2years to build.

          silly idea.

          • +3

            @Other: Well, we’re 18 months into a pandemic. I guess it’s not a race.

            • +1

              @Vote for Pedro: See my previous psts.

              Dedicated quarantine facilities are not need when its NOT the facilities spreading covid.

              Rather it the Sh*t policies and procedures of employing casual staff.
              - Outsourcing to the cheapest supplier AGAIN
              - Not training them enough AGAIN (though this time they had Massive 1 training session!)
              - Not paying them enough so they don't infect other workers in other workplaces (CONTINUING problem in Victoria) AGAIN
              - Not giving the staff enough ppe AGAIN

              I mean how f'king hard is it to put in the contract - you cannot work for another employer. Literally how hard is it?
              But I guess its a Higher Cost option.

              How are quarantine facilities going to help? (well i guess if we ban Vic Gov from staffing them it might).

              Thanks for the downvotes. Its fairly obvious people have Zero clue about this.

      • Yeah, mixed feelings on this. More power to them, they're just ahead of everyone else.

        But happy for them to be right at the end of the queue.

      • -16

        It was criminal and beyond stupid to allow "Australians" to return from overseas earlier this year; one of whom brought the Delta variant back from India.

        • +1

          Why the "" around Australians? Not Australian enough for you? One more of those closet racists still living in their mother's spare bedroom:)?

          • +2

            @nutella9: The irony is 40-60% are not "Australians" but non citizens (students ,etc).

            Keep the money pump going. :-/

            • +2

              @Other: That is not true at all…international students haven't been allowed in. And neither have tourists.So who are these other non citizens? The only non Australians I'm aware coming in are the super rich…in which case there is no quarantine and you can arrange for Scummo to visit and personally kiss your ass.

              • +1


                you can arrange for Scummo to visit and personally kiss your ass.

                I'm pretty sure you have to negotiate beforehand, that you don't want him to, and pay a bit extra to have the ass kissing clause removed from the entry permit.

              • +1

                @nutella9: @nutella9 Permanent residents are not Australian citizens. The first "Australian" to die in the India Delta outbreak was a PR, not a citizen.

                • -1

                  @havabeer: So what. PR is a pathway to citizenship. It’s pretty much the only pathway.

                  PR’s have much the same rights as it confers an indefinite right to reside in Australia (of course some exemptions, as always).

              • +1

                @nutella9: Sorry actors, actresses, Australian Open tennis players, Big brother celbs.

                But also Education (aka Students):

                " 817 of the April arrivals were for education"

                And btw - why didn't we ban flights from China when Tiawan did?
                Why did we do it only after USA did it?
                And why were Universities giving students money to fly to China and then Singapore, to get to Australia.

            • +1

              @Other: What a load of crap. The only ones getting exemptions that aren’t citizens/residents are the millionaires/billionaires (jenner and sugar) because you know, money.

              • @Vote for Pedro: Sorry you are correct:

                "8,067 cards listed “visiting family or friends” and “taking a holiday” as the reason for travel"


                • +1

                  @Other: Yes, that part is true re: holidays. And the libs should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for allowing that ahead of citizens and permanent residents.

        • “Australians” ey?

          I bet you wear the flag as a cape and have the southern cross tattooed on your arm or stuck on the rear window of your imported car.

    • +38

      What makes you think I'm intending to come home and take a spot in that God awful hotel quarantine?

      • +19

        Why did you come back last year? Please stay over there until the end of Covid. And don't come begging to come home when you've caught a new strain. Otherwise, enjoy your holiday mate.

        • +3

          Who the (profanity) are you to ban Australian citizens from entering Australia?

      • +4

        Where else will you catch covid? Best chance is in hotel quarantine.

      • +1

        Did you book a one way ticket? Because if you come back in three months I'd imagine chances are slim the federal government will have alternatives to 14 days in a hotel at your expense. Unless you're famous?

        • Famous, Sport star, Politician, or very rich.

          So basically the top 1%.

      • -12

        I hope this ends horribly. Everyone is having a hard time and you brag about travelling.

        I don't know what mishaps may occur to you, maybe a new strain, maybe someone shot you, whatever it is I hope that makes you happy in hell.

        Whichever it is please share!

        • +18

          What a sad individual you are.

          Username does not check out.

          • -11

            @ozhunter: You should just be happy.

            In hell…

      • When are you going to return to Australia then? Are you retired and do you have family you are going to stay overseas with? Or you have job to support yourself while overseas?

      • Have a plan for special consideration for home quarantine?

    • +107

      I hope you get stuck over there much longer than intended and have to wait at the very back of the queue to come home.

      Today on OzBullying.

      • +19

        I’ll allow it. Carry on.

      • +8

        OP decided to post something controversial, clearly fully aware that it would draw criticism

      • -1

        No better or worse than the OP in the current context.

      • +1

        Next minute on today tonight or similar show complaining can't get back and our government should charter a special flight just so they can come back

    • +38

      It's selfish to believe that everyone can/should work from home and live with restrictions, without travelling, for 18 months and stay away from their families for years.

      The cap was implemented by the government and excludes cinema and sport stars, or rich business (wo)men.

      People who are vaccinated should be able to move freely, and move the economy while the terrible vaccination campaign catches up.

      • -14

        People dying is equal to having to work from home and not travel?

        • +9

          If that is what you understood from what I've written, try reading again.

          • +1

            @this is us: You wrote

            It's selfish to believe that everyone can/should work from home and live with restrictions, without travelling, for 18 months and stay away from their families for years.

            Essentially saying that in the choice between having lockdowns to keep deaths low and the medical system operational (so that everyone who can survive with medical help does survive, instead of people being left with no oxygen etc and dying when they didn't need to), and not having lockdowns, it is selfish to try to avoid deaths by not letting people do what they want. i.e. that their personal freedoms to travel etc are more important than suppressing deaths.

            How many people would need to die per one person allowed to travel before you think the scale starts to tip the other way? Will you choose to have 5 people die so you can travel? 10 people?

            • +30

              @Quantumcat: So what's your plan? We just stay in lockdown forever trying to convince ourselves that the virus might get bored and just leave the world at some stage?

              I've received privileged information and I have to tell you that this virus is not going anywhere. Even if 100% of the population is vaccinated, which will never happen, people will still get the virus, some will go to the hospital, and some will die. That's not my decision, that's how it is with many other viruses.

              We don't do lockdowns because some people can get the flu and die. We don't prohibit cars because people can die when driving. We don't ban alcohol because some people die because of alcohol-related diseases, or sex because some people get infected with STD. We educate, we offer prevention (seat belts, vaccines, condoms) when available, and we move on.

              How many people die because of tobacco? It's estimated that between 25000 and 30000 people die every year because of smoking. What do we do about that?

              Suicide is the main cause of death between 15 and 44 years old in Australia. Do you think that lockdowns, social isolation, reduced physical activity and contact with the loved ones might play a role and increase this number? I'm pretty sure that the answer is yes. A lot of people will be dying because of covid without catching the virus.

              So I will make the question: how many people you think should die killing themselves so we can save others from covid?

              • -4

                @this is us: If 100% of people are vaccinated, it will be rare for anyone to go to hospital, and the virus will not spread very easily so outbreaks will be very small and there will be no need for lockdown.

              • +1

                @this is us: Suicide rates have NOT risen during Covid. There are now published academic papers on this very issue.

                Good try at winning an argument by playing a cheap hand though.

                • +9

                  @Wallyt99: "published academic papers"

                  References, please?

                  You are cherry picking…

                  Suddenly the only problem is COVID. Cancer and heart diseases don't stop because of covid. We have yet to see the long-term consequences of neglecting everything else because of COVID. Just a few examples:

                  Drastic drop in cancer and heart attack patients linked to COVID-19

                  The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer deaths due to delays in diagnosis in England, UK

                  "Substantial increases in the number of avoidable cancer deaths in England are to be expected as a result of diagnostic delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. Urgent policy interventions are necessary, particularly the need to manage the backlog within routine diagnostic services to mitigate the expected impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients with cancer."

                  Additionally, unemployment, social isolation, financial struggle are risk factors for suicide. People are really struggling, even when they don't (try to) kill themselves, which is obviously a last resource for someone who is suffering.



                  People have been waiting for 8 months to have a first appointment booked unless they are classified as extremely high risk. Do you think someone who is already thinking about suicide can wait 8 months for a medical appointment?

                  The long-term lockdown supporters should be aware of the impact of lockdowns, or even the constant threat of another lockdown, on people's lives. I do believe that most lockdown supporters have good intentions, and they obviously think they know what's best for everyone; however, they have a very narrow view of the big problem, and, yes, they lack empathy, and they are the ones being paternalistic and selfish.

                  • +3

                    @this is us: References as requested:

                    Actual figures, though, took months to appear. Now we have reports from several countries, based on national or state level suicide data. They come from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Sweden, and the US—high income countries in most cases—and they carry a consistent message. Suicide rates have not risen.


                    In Australia, data on suspected deaths by suicide in 2020 have been released for Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales from their respective suicide registers. In all cases there is no evidence to date of any increase relative to previous years


                    It’s called fact checking… not cherry picking.

                    • +2

                      @Wallyt99: You are cherry-picking when you choose one paragraph that I've written and ignore what was presented in the other five, but let's assume suicide rates haven't changed according to the data, and focus on psychological distress, which correlates highly with quality of life:

                      "While data for Queensland does not show rises in suspected suicide rates compared with previous reports the following is worth noting (Leske et al. 2020):

                      The 2020 iQSR data show that up until 31 July 2020, police officers mentioned COVID-19 in 32 of 454 suspected suicides (7%). In four instances, it was unclear if COVID-19 contributed to the suspected suicide. COVID-19 did appear to contribute towards 28 suspected suicides. COVID-19 may have influenced suspected suicides through affecting mood, coping, stress and anxiety (14 people); employment (11 people); social isolation (8 people); changes in access to healthcare support and items (5 people); relationship breakdown (1 person) and finances (1 person). There was overlap (e.g. access to healthcare items and losing employment influenced mood)."

                      "There is a correlation between high levels of psychological distress and common mental health disorders. As a result, instruments such as K10 and K6 can be used to track probable changes in the incidence of these disorders. This is important, as there is an association between mental health issues and deaths by suicide."

                      "To test whether outcomes worsened in Victoria relative to the rest of the country due to the reintroduction of lockdowns, Biddle et al. conducted a Difference-in-difference analysis using linked data for May and August (that is, data across these months for the same people) (Biddle et al. 2020d). This showed a significant worsening in Victoria relative to the rest of the country on several outcomes including: psychological distress, loneliness, life satisfaction, satisfaction with direction of country, likely to be infected by COVID-19 and hours worked). On the other hand, the reduction in levels of psychological distress from October to November coincided with improvements in Victoria. According to Biddle et al. (2020e):

                      There has also been a continued convergence in psychological distress between Victoria and the rest of Australia. In October 2020, just as lockdown conditions had started to be eased, psychological distress in Victoria was more than 1-point higher in Victoria compared to the rest of Australia (12.67 compared to 11.52). By November 2020, however, this difference had declined to less than half of one point – 11.73 compared to 11.32."

                      "There was a rise in reported loneliness from 36.1% in May 2020 to 40.5% in August (Biddle et al. 2020d). However, this rise only occurred in Victoria where the proportion of the population who were lonely at least some of the time increased from 35.7% in May 2020 to 44.5% in August; in ‘the other seven States and Territories, there was no significant difference between loneliness in May 2020 (37.1%) and August 2020 (38.8%)’ (Biddle et al. 2020d). The increase in loneliness from May to August in Victoria coincides with the lockdown associated with the second wave."

                      "Loneliness has a clear impact on both levels of psychological distress and life satisfaction. In a regression analysis (that controlled for psychological distress in April) those who felt lonely either some, occasionally or most of the time all had significantly higher levels of psychological distress in November than others (Biddle et al. 2020e)."

                      "While the overall level of life satisfaction is back to where it was in 2019 there was a substantial loss in life satisfaction during 2020. A regression analysis that takes advantage of the longitudinal nature of the data, suggests (controlling for the level of life satisfaction in January 2020) that, the loss in life satisfaction in 2020 has been greater for people living in Victoria, lower for those aged 65–74 and over 75 years, and lower for those who lived outside the capital cities (Biddle et al. 2020e). This is consistent with what you would expect given the greater impact of, among other things, lockdowns (through, for example, their impact on employment) for younger people, people in Victoria and people in the capital cities."

                      "There is thus far no clear evidence of an increase in suicide, self-harm, suicidal behaviour, or suicidal thoughts associated with the pandemic. However, suicide data are challenging to collect in real time and economic effects are evolving. Our LSR will provide a regular synthesis of the most up-to-date research evidence to guide public health and clinical policy to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on suicide."

                    • @Wallyt99: FYI - not all research is the same.

                      The BMJ article you referenced for example states "Commissioned, not peer reviewed."

                      I would strongly suggest you reference your sources from more credible publications if you are going to debate about this topic.

            • +1

              @Quantumcat: India, with 1.4 odd billion people, terrible healthcare, poor living conditions etc, has had about 400 thousand covid deaths in 18 months or so. Their yearly death rate is nearly 10 million. India is pretty much a worst case scenario, and they had 0.03% of their population die.

              • +2

                @brendanm: There are a lot more deaths than just covid. Routine things that people could go to hospital for normally and carry on with their lives they couldn't as the hospitals were overwhelmed.

              • +12

                @brendanm: I did some rough calculations on this in my head comparing how many additional people would die per year in Aus if we had the same death rate per population as the US, which is a better comparison than India since we have a similar mix of dwelling types, health care capacity and median age (around 38 for both countries). It came out at about 30,000/year (20,000 conservatively) which would make COVID a leading cause of death in Australia either way. I could sit down and do this properly but since my figures mirror the data coming out of the US I CBF.

                Sure you could say these people would have died that year anyway of something, however in the US it appears these were additional deaths. You’ll see here https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2778234 that in 2020 in the US 3.5million people died, in the three years proceeding 2020, the death rate was pretty stable at around 2.8million/year and 2.7million for the 2 proceeding years. So if it gets as bad in the US our death rate will go up substantially in Aus. Perhaps you don’t care about these additional deaths (see comment re this here https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/638036#comment-10740893). However all these people who are very sick to the point of dying, plus those that make it through with the help of health service, those that end up with heart failure or other life long conditions post covid are going to put our already maxed out health system beyond its limits. You’ll note that not all the additional deaths in the US were from COVID (most were), which may be attributable to the health system not being able to manage other health conditions well. Even if we only saw 10% additional deaths per year due to COVID (half the increase in the US) that would be 17,000 additional deaths, a leading cause of death and be a nightmare to manage. Also consider the dead weight losses from people who are no longer working etc if they retire early or develop a chronic disease post having COVID.

                Given now there are vaccines, we don’t have to go through this. But it will take time to get the point where the risk is manageable. Restrictions at the moment are buying time to deal with this in a manageable way. I do feel for everyone stuck OS, and OP leaving the country doesn’t bother me (since he’s vaccinated and not planning to come back soon, I’m pretty jealous of the flight tbh), but pragmatically Australia will be better of controlling things until we’re in a better place. Unfortunately until the majority are vaccinated it’s kind of an all or nothing thing, since it spreads so rapidly in the community, with symptoms more likely to be severe in the unvaccinated.

                • -5


                  You’ll see here https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2778234 that in 2020 in the US 3.5million people died, in the three years proceeding 2020, the death rate was pretty stable at around 2.8million/year and 2.7million for the 2 proceeding years.


                  Use the death rate. https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/USA/united-states/deat...

                  2020 was a nothingburger.

                  • +5

                    @ozhunter: lol yourself, from your source “NOTE: All 2020 and later data are UN projections and DO NOT include any impacts of the COVID-19 virus”

                    Did you actually look at the jama report?

                      • +4

                        @ozhunter: 🤦‍♀️ This data is pulled from the same source as your last link

                        select * from "DEMOGRAPHICS"."UNWPP2019" where "Variable" = 'KI.S6' and "Variant Name" = 'Estimates' and "Gender Name" = 'Total' and "Age Name" = 'Total' and "Location Name" = 'United States of America' order by "Date"

                        Honestly I don’t know why I’m engaging, but for someone with such an supposed interest in epidemiology you might want to take a course or something.

                        I can kinda see why you don’t want to believe the jama article, as if you’re anti vacc and anti restrictions, you might well end up as a victim of the virus. I hope not for your sake but things are going to get messy if we relax restrictions too far too soon.

                        • -1


                          I hope not for your sake but things are going to get messy if we relax restrictions too far too soon.

                          Yea, it really seems to be helping considering our death rate from covid infections here /s

                          you might well end up as a victim of the virus.

                          Maybe you and I both have already had it

                          • +4


                            Yea, it really seems to be helping considering our death rate from covid infections here /s

                            We went through this yesterday https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/638036?page=1#comment-1074... if you haven’t got your head around it yet, I don’t think it will happen

                            It doesn’t really matter anyway, it’s not like the Australian gov is going to hire ozhunter as a policy advisor.

                            Maybe you and I both have already had it

                            Possibly, I wondered this early on when my husband was exposed to a known case, before testing was highly available, because he’d had lots of small interactions, not one long one he wasn’t tested. I got a resp. infection shortly after. I don’t see why it matters though. The person he was exposed to was in their 50s and ended up in ICU for a period, then a long inpatient rehab stint, wasn’t able to return to work full time. Perfectly healthy prior. I’m vaccinated so hopeful that I wouldn’t get it as badly if I do get it. I’m keen for a booster as it won’t be long until it’s 6months since my second dose.

                        • @morse:

                          if we relax restrictions too far too soon

                          Yes, look at poor Sweden, it's just devastating for them.

                          • +12

                            @brendanm: Not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not. Sweden has had 14,642 deaths in a population of 10.2 million with more than 10% of those (~1600) being people under 69. Australia has had 912 deaths in a population of 25.6 million. To take Sweden’s approach Australian society would have to accept substantial loss of life, primarily (but not limited to) the elderly early in exchange for more freedom and more stable case numbers/deaths later. If we’d followed the same path as Sweden, we would have had about 36500 COVID deaths to date (assuming it took hold in the same way). Sweden’s vaccination rate is higher than Australia’s which may be helping their situation now.

                            As I keep saying though, the deaths aren’t the only issue. It’s the impact on the health system. ICU capacity etc, not to mention long term COVID impacts. I also wonder if most people realise how bloody unpleasant being in ICU on a ventilator is.

                            Why not wait until we have higher vacc rates before reducing restrictions? We don’t have to put ourselves in that position.

                            • @morse: Sweden has had many less deaths per capita than countries that had hard lockdowns.

                              • +2

                                @brendanm: So just say you’re comparing Sweden to the UK which eventually had internal lockdowns, but far too late in the piece. UKs deaths per capita are slightly higher (both much higher than Aus), but their population density is also a lot denser, ie 10-15x higher. So obviously much easier for the virus to spread.

                                Sweden’s population density is actually not too dissimilar to Australia’s if you look at where people actually live, ie in cities and suburban/regional areas (where we have had the problems).

                                UK also never really shut down international arrivals. They only started hotel quarantine for ‘red zone’ countries in Feb this year well after the pandemic had taken hold, and theirs is only for 10days.

                                Irrespective of all of this Australia is in a different position, as we’ve managed to keep levels relatively low, using restrictions (which have been awful, but arguably effective). I don’t believe now is the time to pull the plug on these, and it seems the majority of Australians and ozbargainers agree. We should wait until we have higher vaccination rates and make it gradual, starting with home quarantine, opening to countries with low levels, allowing more freedom for vaccinated people, when the time is right.

                                • +1

                                  @morse: So what do we do? Live in lockdown forever? Virus continues to mutate, vaccine doesn't work for new mutations, economy and people's mental health destroyed over 3 cases. I'd rather run the risk, and develop natural immunity, than live in a safe space hamster ball forever.

                                  • +1

                                    @brendanm: No, not forever - get more people vaccinated particularly older or other vulnerable people, gradually ease restrictions once we have the vaccination rates higher. Learn to live differently for a period of time and maybe into the future eg some people prefer working from home, so if they can do so effectively let them keep doing it. Use masks and socially distance when necessary, ie at times of outbreaks. Vaccinations, treatments and antibodies in the population will continue to improve over time so harm will reduce, the population will be more resilient. It’s a patience game.

                                    If you’re feeling like a hamster living in Queensland, you’re doing it wrong, our restrictions haven’t been that bad. Leaving the state and coming back, yep definitely difficult. Missing funerals, weddings etc also awful (been through all of this). Cost to the economy, definitely not great. But daily life is pretty good here. Mental health wise, imagine what it would be like if we had all those deaths and chronic health issues - also not great for mental health. The economy would also suffer if we had huge amounts of the population off work for weeks-months with COVID.

                                    Since your views are outside the norm, you could also consider leaving the country for a whole like OP did to somewhere with restrictions more aligned to your values. Of course you’d have to take the same risk of costs/difficulty getting back in. If I didn’t have a little person who can’t be vaccinated I’d consider it in the not too distant future. But given you don’t think it’s a serious threat you shouldn’t be worried about the risk to yourself in a country where it’s endemic.

                                    • +2

                                      @morse: I'm not worried about the risk to myself. I'm not a business owner like op, who can go where he likes, luckily for him.

                                      You say I'm an outlier, but speaking to a lot of people every day, it sure doesn't seem like I am. Lots and lots of people very over the whole thing.

                                      • @brendanm: I wouldn’t say outlier, but minority view, at the moment. I think most people agree to restrictions to varying extents, and you seem more towards much more lenient restrictions, sooner than most.

                                    • +1

                                      @morse: Also, in regard to my mention of mental health, I was referring to not only just restrictions and forced mask wearing and sign ins, but people who have lost their jobs, businesses etc.

                                      • @brendanm: Yep, loss of income and financial stress can ruin people, and trigger significant mental distress. However unemployment is looking much better now https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/amp.abc.net.au/article/10029... and some businesses have absolutely thrived. Tourism, primarily hotels, tour operators etc are probably the biggest hit. Some cafes and restaurants for sure, but others are doing better - our scene is actually thriving big time in Burleigh, harder in places like cairns, that rely more on external tourists.
                                        Not that suicide is the only thing to consider but as I understand it, so far it doesn’t look like there’s been an increase in suicide rates in Australia since covid and restrictions were in place (suicide data is notoriously poorly reported and slow, since it relies on the coroner, which takes a long time). Mental health would also suffer if we let it take off, and realistically the complete opening of society with no restrictions would have never have happened in Australia, so tourism was always going to be impacted. Even Sweden took a tourism hit.

                • -3

                  @morse: The US stats are skewed, as there is financial incentive for deaths to be "caused by covid". Even if they haven't been tested, or a test returned a negative result it can still be classed as a covid death. One of the most famous of these was a guy who died in a motorbike accident, but was recorded as a covid death.

                  Their healthcare system is also not like ours.

                  since it spreads so rapidly in the community,

                  People keep saying that, but does it really? Basically all of the cases are people who have been in repeated close contact, not just fleeting contact.

                  • +1

                    @brendanm: Same happening in european countries. I went back a year ago and heard this happening from multiple sources from 3 different countries.

      • +9

        "People who are vaccinated should be able to move freely"

        I agree - Once everyone has the chance to get the vaccine and there is no mutant strain that completely evades it to a statistically significant amount.

        Until then, your vaccination doesn't you from spreading it and us all from getting sick or worse.
        Yeah it sucks that this is taking forever but it is what it is.

        The question is, what eventually happens to all the Anti vaxxers? Do we subsidise their sick leave and other health /monetary benefits?
        I would say no unless they have a legitimate reason for being unable to take it.

      • +1

        Vaccine doesn't stop one from transferring virus.

        Also not all vaccine is good.

    • -1

      Spare us. Survival of the fittest.

      You're peanut butter jelly.

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