Well, here I go again….Lockdown #2

The northern suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria, have seen a disturbing number of COVID-19 cases over the last week or so, most of them coming from community transmission. Compared to many other places the numbers are still low ~ in the 60s and 70s each day ~ but still enough to know that it must be brought under control. We can see from other countries how easily low numbers can increase to numbers that overwhelm.

So the Victorian Government has declared that 10 postcodes (zip codes) are to go into lockdown. My postcode is one of them. And I am perfectly fine with this. Action needs to be taken now, and we know that isolation works at suppressing transmission.

It is interesting to think about why Melbourne has been affected, as the other states have either very low or no new cases. This is my interpretation of the information I have gleaned from the authorities…..

International arrivals, ie returning citizens, are quarantined in hotels for 14 days. Quite a few of these arrivals seem to have come with the virus. In Victoria security at these quarantine hotels was farmed out to a private security firm, while in other states it is the job of the state police. I suspect that some of the security guards caught the virus from returned travellers. That was compounded by breaches of hygiene protocols by these security guards. Sharing a cigarette lighter has come up a few times, as well as crowded tea rooms and lack of protective equipment. So, a couple of the security people caught the virus, and inadvertently took the virus to their families.

At this time restrictions were being eased and families could gather in groups of 20. We love our families, and I can imagine how exciting it was for these families to see Grandma or Grandpa or cousins for the first time for ages. It is hard (but necessary) to maintain that 1.5 metres in a loving family gathering. So the virus was shared around. Then it moved to other family groups, and so it spread.

Now we have too much spread and these 10 ‘hotspots’ have to go into isolation.

We can only go out for the usual four reasons:

  • shopping for food and essential supplies
  • exercise
  • care and caregiving (this includes medical)
  • work and education if you can’t do it from home

It all feels very familiar.

And comforting in a weird way. As restrictions were gradually being lifted I felt a little confused. Not confused about what I could and couldn’t do, that always seemed clear to me. Rather I was confused about assessing the level of risk. Should I go to the hairdresser? I answered myself “No”. Should I go back to pilates? Probably not. Would lunch at a restaurant with friends be okay? Yes, as there were only 3 of us, and I knew they had been very cautious. I assumed the restaurant had the right protocols in place. Each venture out needed to be weighed. Now any dilemma has been removed ‘cos there is no option to go out!

The other thing that strikes me about this lockdown is that my level of anxiety is lower. Were you like me back in mid-March, or whenever your lockdown began, worrying about all manner of things? Will the rubbish still be collected? Will supply chains hold up? What happens if our electricity supply can’t cope? Would I have enough food? I even remember wondering if the parklands would be maintained. And I didn’t even have the worry of job losses or loan repayments or how to keep a business afloat.

I know what this quarantine period will look like, and that I can deal with it. I am confident that things will hold up, that the rubbish will be collected and the lights will stay on. And I know that there are others, like my wonderful family, on the ‘outside’ who are there cheering me on.

We are still at the beginning of this pandemic, and numbers in many countries are frighteningly high. So uncertainty is our new normal, our Covid normal for quite a while. We know what we have to do ~ practise excellent hand and respiratory hygiene, socially distance (at least 1.5m, please), wear a mask and don’t go out if you are feeling unwell. And if you do have to go back into lockdown, please do it.

On the practical side, the exhibition where I had two pieces hanging has been put on hold. The Incinerator Gallery has been caught up in all of this. Disappointing, but that’s how these things go.

Let me finish on my lovely librarian. You know how I love my library, and how happy I was to have it open, even though I couldn’t browse. I went in yesterday, before the lockdown, to confirm that they had to close. The librarian asked me if he could select a bundle of books for me to borrow. So between us ~ me standing behind the desk and him at the shelves asking if I like this author or that style ~ I borrowed a stack of books. I wouldn’t have chosen some of them myself, but I will certainly give them a go.

So, between my art and my book supply I feel that I am well equipped for another month at home.

Stay well.

35 thoughts on “Well, here I go again….Lockdown #2

    1. I can look on the bright side because I know I will be fine, and yes, the stack of books is very comforting. I do feel very sorry for people who find it difficult to be confined, and of course businesses that were just beginning to open up.

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  1. Oh dear Anne. I’m sorry to read this. I’ve been out of the loop for almost two months really with some health issues. I’ve been off social media and not even been reading blog posts so I’ve really missed all the news. I understand how you feel – we became free again while I was sick so the furthest I have ventured has been to the supermarket on the days I felt I could. We’ve had lots of cases coming in at the border and some bungling as well – it’s a huge logistics problem for everyone I suspect and there isn’t yet a ‘how-to’ manual to handle it all,

    It’s good to have your positivity and your art and a pile of good books to read. Take care, stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Pauline, I am so sorry to hear that you have been unwell for so long. I hope that you were well looked after and are on the mend now.
      We only have the strategy that we have used for centuries ~ distance from each other, including isolation. At least now modern medical technology gives us testing and tracing capability.

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  2. thecontendedcrafter (hope you are starting mend) has already explained/NZ – cases via the border travellers. But not a huge number, especially since they closed the border over 20,000 Kiwis came home, gone through the quarantine and back into the community.

    I believe our quarantine system is run hugely by the Armed forces but all within hotels that have designated areas set aside. Of course there have been “stories” of intermingling but whether that is actually true, hard to tell with “news that is often sensational rather than fact”
    There has been swings and roundabouts as the saying goes within the government circles a change of leadership for the opposition and various other issues (possibly no different in some ways to usual politics)

    However, finding you my friend and your fella are back in “lock down” is hard to bare…and makes one realise how fragile this current scene is. I know your fella had a lot of difficulties are beginning of the last one, hope he’s been able to settle back down to this one.

    I know that if we did (NZ) go back to lockdown, I have more knowledge of what that’s about…but on saying that I’m still at 6s and 7s with the lifting of restrictions. I just get going and then bingo something vaguely [ab]normal occurs and I race back to my cave!

    Having art/craft has helped me…especially since I lost my mojo to read books, and I can always find something to make/do.

    take care my friend…virtual hugs from me to you…

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    1. Thank you for your hugs, Catherine! You are right, that the situation is very fragile. I am glad that we have sensible leadership here (and in NZ) that realises the seriousness of the situation, and doesn’t play politics with it. The other states have sent people to help with testing and tracing, although they don’t want Victorians to cross the border ~ and I don’t blame them.
      You take care too, and enjoy your making.

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    1. I am a very positive person, Derrick, which helps enormously in times like this! But I am helped by enjoying being by myself. In some ways I think I am made for isolation! Thanks for your thoughts.

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  3. I can’t help feeling that you’re so much safer where you are… As you rightly point out, lockdown for many of us isn’t the hardship it is for others, and many of us didn’t head joyfully for the shops when restrictions were lifted, instead discovering that we’d somehow got used to the inside of our snail shell and were taking our time about peeking out!
    If at some future stage you’d like to have another phone call or even a face-to-face, let me know, I’d love to catch up.

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    1. The snail image made me smile Kate. That’s just what I am, a snail happily retreating back into my shell, with my art and my books ~ and the heater, ‘cos it is very cold at the moment! I may even get some things done that were on my list for Lockdown #1 that I never got around to. I doubt that I will learn Auslan though. 😊
      A catch-up would be very nice.

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    1. That was one of the reasons I wrote this, to let others know that our situations are very fragile. Because it is only a partial lockdown ~ 10 postcodes, not the whole city/state ~ I think Melbourne will be watched to see how it works (hopefully successfully). Many more areas around the world may well have to adopt something similar. I hope Ireland can open up safely.

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  4. I am sorry to hear that there have been more cases near you but glad that you are able to cope well with going into lockdown again. Things here in Wales are being eased very slowly – slower than in other parts of the UK. I have been trying to listen to the latest thinking on things like safe distances, indoors or outdoors and using my background (admittedly very rusty!) in science and Maths to decide what to do on a case by case basis.Like you, I have decided that occasionally sitting outside, socially distanced from equally cautious friends is low risk. In a couple of weeks I have a hair appointment – I trust my hairdresser to have thought through her precautions and I will not go shopping as I would normally do afterwards. I will probably not then go again for another 3 months. There are people who cannot stay home – I can, so I see it as my responsibility to take myself out of the risk zone and avoid putting more strain on medical services and one less person who might transmit the virus.

    Last time I went to the library was just before it closed. I could do with it reopening!

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    1. I applaud your very cautious approach Sue, and your reasons for doing so. And you are like many of us who are bloggy friends, we enjoy our own spaces, have lots to do in our own worlds and are thoughtful of others in our interactions. Do enjoy the hairdresser. My hair is well overdue for a cut; I had to buy hair clips to keep it out of my eyes!

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      1. I am trying to decide whether to ask her to cut it really short so thee is ‘plenty of room to grow’ 😉 or to start growing it longer so it needs cutting less often. To be fair the cut has done remarkably well keeping some shape but it has reached the awkward stage like yours.

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  5. What a nice librarian. I suspect that you are living in the so-called “New Normal” where we experience periodic local lockdowns. Its happened in the UK with the city of Leicester (or rather lock down wont be eased there and it will be elsewhere in England). There have been outbreaks in Wales too associated with poor working conditions – factory workers who werent allowed “social distance”, worked long hours and were told to keep working even when they fell ill. It seems to me that indoors is where it spreads most easily!

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    1. I agree, it is the new normal ~ COVID Normal, as they are saying.
      Those working situations in Wales sound appalling, and make it a perfect place for the virus to party and spread. Indoor, in poorly ventilated places, allows the viral load to build. Add in poor hygiene and sick people…..oh dear.
      How is your own version of quarantine going? Are you able to move around on your leg more easily?

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      1. Its a very tiring business, I can walk, just and I go on shorts walks outside the hoiuse but I am exhausted a lot of the time. Going down stairs is one-step-at-a-time business. I hate all the stairs in my house!

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  6. I’m so sorry you’re one of the ’10’, and your reasoning seems perfectly right to me. I’d just add that asymptomatic carriers make a difficult situation even more difficult. Given the amount of community spread already, I think it’s just a matter of time before most of Melbourne is in lockdown again. Thank god for the internet. The Offspring and I haven’t ‘come out’ at all so if our side of town gets locked down as well it’s not going to make a difference.
    Have you considered applying to Woolworths for Priority Assistance? Home deliveries [no contact] are available for people with medical conditions or the elderly. Your Fella would fit into the former category, I’m sure.
    Take care and stay well. -hugs-

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    1. I know a lot of people are like you Meeks, still staying at home, even though restrictions have eased for them. However I did enjoy my couple of restaurant meals that were not cooked by me! Thanks for the suggestion of the priority spots. I did apply months ago, but didn’t go ahead. We get our fruit and veggies from a local green grocer (there’s a word we don’t use often these days!). They are in Moonee Ponds, which is not in lockdown, so I am not sure if I am meant to go there. However, they do deliver, so I might investigate that option.
      Hugs back to you.

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      1. Yeah, the details of the restrictions are a bit hazy. According to the 4 ‘rules’ you’re only supposed to leave the house to buy food, but does that mean you’re not allowed out of your hotspot area to do so? I mean, what if people live in a spot that doesn’t actually have supermarkets or whatever?
        If you can get your fruit and veg. delivered that would probably be the best.
        Just had a look at the daily updates and suddenly new cases have jumped to the low 70’s and there are double digit ‘unknowns’ each day. :/

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        1. At least the daily numbers are hovering around the 70s, and not climbing drastically higher. There are over 10,000 people who have refused to be tested. That’s quite a mind blowing number, and I do not understand why they are refusing.

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          1. I heard that number too, and I’m as baffled as you are. Are they scared the test will catch something else? Like drugs?
            This highlights something that’s been really stark in the US – the conflict between the rights of the individual and the needs of the society.

            Just at the moment, I have very little sympathy for those trumpeting individual rights that can easily kill other people. What the answer is though, who knows.

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  7. What an amazing librarian! Talk about service.

    As for your lockdown, I don’t want to say I’m jealous, but at least your government is responding. Oregon’s daily infection rates have quintupled over the past couple weeks, but everything is still opening up as if nothing is happening. It’s frustrating to say the least. Anyway, I hope your lockdown doesn’t last too long. 🙂

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    1. Tammie I really feel for you. Retreating back to lockdown is the right thing to do, so I am grateful that we have a state leadership that recognises that. It must be so frustrating, and frightening, to know that case numbers are rising so drastically and your leadership is not responding. I hope you and those you love are able to stay safe and well.
      And I knew you would love the librarian!

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  8. I’m glad to hear you’re taking this so calmly. It’s sad, and frustrating, but I find it reassuring when I read/learn about people who are concerned and taking appropriate precautions. I do not understand the people who object to wearing masks in public or following established protocols for the health of the general population. To say I am ashamed of the lack of leadership in the country in which I live is to seriously understate the matter.

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    1. I am grateful for the leadership we have through this. I hear the reports from the US and despair for the many sane and sensible people who are caught up in the politicisation of this issue. You are so right Sue, simple measures like wearing a mask can save lives, and yet it seems to be a political statement for many people not to wear them. Meanwhile numbers spiral out of control. I hope you and your loved ones are safe and stay well.

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  9. I was concerned that the understandable wider economic and social pressures of a return to “normal” would make covid control more difficult but it appears the assumed control level wasn’t what it seemed in Melbourne, but nor necessarily anywhere else… I believe a lot are asymptomatic or under the radar. Given it’s flu season as well and with lifted restrictions on travel we are seeing more visitors to our area the G.O. and I have stayed pretty much as we were. I hope you find some silver linings because right now imo there’s no place like home.

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    1. I really feel for businesses that have just begun to open, and now have to close or have very restricted services. However, it is necessary, and I think many of them understand that. I am glad that you and the GO are able to stay away from the visitors, but it must worry you to have more people in the area. But there is that double edged sword of some businesses needing the visitors. Stay well, Dale.

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  10. As others have mentioned, Anne, I applaud your positive attitude. The more of us that can stay at home, the better the chance of keeping others well. It’s scary, though, watching this virus spread with such ease. Santa Clara County, where I live, was one of the first in the country to shelter in place…and it worked. We still have relatively low numbers (5.4 per 100,000 population), BUT the numbers are increasing everywhere, with many states heading into crisis mode once again. Our lack of leadership and the clown in charge have brought misery to the masses. We’ve changed very little of our behavior, preferring to eat meals at home or via takeout menus. This supports the local economy and keeps us safe. The US is a mess. We’re now seeing 55,000 cases a day, a number that continues to increase.

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  11. Hi Anne, I can understand you feeling okay about being in lockdown again – we know the score and we know how to sustain ourselves – reading being a biggie for me too. In the face of easings of social restrictions coming out of lockdown, I have been feeling, along with some friends I’ve spoken to, confused about what I am free to do, what I judge I should or shouldnt do, what I want or don’t want to do! Any potential ‘away from home’ action takes planning in advance to decide what one’s own personal stance and practical approach is going to be. I’m pleased Scotland, where I am, is being much more considered than England, but I have family over the border, so engendering more confusion due to the two sets of rules in my head.

    The sooner we know more about the nature of this unpredictable virus and have self-tests kits available for all, the better. But it’s not happening here. The focus is on getting the economy going again, but which of course is already leading to more cases.
    Thanks for writing in such detail about what is going on where you are. I’m off to dye my hair now!

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