Australia has not yet reached the COVID-19 peak but that it is coming, and experts say if we come out of isolation too early we risk a devastating second wave. It applies to countries all over the world, and the international community itself.
Country is king.
In the chaos of the corona virus, the nation-state has reasserted its dominance in the global order.
The virus has spread quickly because of the modern world’s breath-taking inter connectivity.
But the reaction to this rapid global spread has been its antithesis: national governments and their people have turned inwards, closed borders, told foreign nationals to leave, and relied on national leaders and institutions for guidance through the crisis.
Countries have formulated and run their responses on strictly national lines. Each country’s “curve” is compared with others as to whose measures are best (despite the inherent flaws in such comparisons). The national fight is all that most people have the energy for, the looming global calamity is almost beyond contemplation.
COVID-19 is no respecter of national borders. Its virulent spread across the world is evidence that the problem is a global one, and so its solutions must be too. It can only be defeated collectively.
“Fortress Australia” might work temporarily – and Australia has the inherent advantage of being a large island nation-state with borders it can lock down – but it is not sustainable for a country so dependent upon exports and imports, and a people who travels.
Even if Australia succeeds in bending its COVID-19 infection curve to its will – which is at this point unusual for an Anglophone country – there will be more to do internationally before restrictions such as travel bans can be lifted.
Australia’s success in defeating COVID-19 will depend on its willingness to help other countries less able to defeat it too.
You can never be safe from a virus if you are surrounded by it.
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