Andrew Dickens: People need to take responsibility over coronavirus

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 16 Mar 2020, 12:22PM
Self is the key word in fighting this battle, writes Andrew Dickens. (Photo / AP)

Andrew Dickens: People need to take responsibility over coronavirus

Author
Andrew Dickens,
Publish Date
Mon, 16 Mar 2020, 12:22PM

I don’t want to discuss whether our coronavirus restrictions are right or wrong, or if they’re too early or too late, or whether they’re too harsh or too lax.

Because now is no longer the time or place. It’s time to just do this and any argument that might weaken people’s resolve and personal responsibility will only weaken the fight against mitigating the virus’ effect.

It is what it is and it’s time to do our bit.

This morning Mike Hosking was talking to the Prime Minister about the travel bans.  One of the first questions was about some friends of Mike’s who arrived recently from Italy via Doha and waltzed through the airport.  Mike questioned the PM as to whether our borders are truly closed.

Now the first thing I thought was how much responsibility Mike’s friends took for their actions.

Say they arrived a day or two ago, before the blanket ban.  The authorities would only know that they had flown from Doha, which had no restrictions.  At the time the e-passport gates were still operating so Mike’s friends could then just waltz into the country.

I wonder if they feel they got away with it. It was only later in the programme, he informed us that they did self-isolate because they’re not stupid.

To me, anyone who’s been in Italy at any time over the past two or three weeks has a responsibility to self-declare their travels to authorities and they have a responsibility to self-isolate.  Maybe Mike can tell us if his friends did that.  That would be more informative rather than informing the PM that people allegedly sneaked in.

Because that’s what thing is all about.

New words have entered our language. Flatten the curve. Social Distance. Self-declaration.  Self-isolation.  And the active word in that phrase is SELF.

A number of people have already phoned talkback asking how self-isolation can be policed. The fact of the matter is that it can’t be, completely. It's SELF isolation.

There are procedures in place so that health authorities can phone the self isolaters to check that they’re doing it properly, but if the infection rate rises even a little, it will be a tsunami and not everyone will get a call.

This is the ultimate age of personal responsibility. The information is there and you need to make decisions for yourself.  If you will only isolate because an authority told you to then in essence you’re asking for a nanny state and ultimately a police state.

We need to drop our selfishness. We need to think about everyone and not just ourselves and any inconvenience might be caused.

As someone texted me yesterday, it’s time for us to stick together. Two metres apart.