Australia

A Covid Wedding

Getting engaged six months before a Covid pandemic begins was always going to get complicated.

Choosing a wedding date back then, (before Covid), seemed so simple, as long as this particular engaged couple gave both sets of parents enough notice to organise travel to Australia, from their home in Malaysia.

Perhaps it isn’t widely known that Australia has had a pro-active policy of shutting borders to most overseas visitors since early in the pandemic and because of this, my dear friend’s wedding had to be postponed. The Bride was an only child and rightfully couldn’t bear the thought of getting married without her parents seeing it happening irl.

Closed sign
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A twelve-month postponement of the wedding seemed reasonable in early 2020, but as we know, Covid has a longer lifespan than anyone thought. Going ahead with a wedding in 2021, meant neither of the couple’s parent would likely be able to attend.

Sad and courageous, but a wise decision was made to get married as this couple had wanted long enough to start their life as husband and wife together. They love each other, right?

Fast forward to three weeks before the wedding date.

We had hen’s and buck’s nights, dinners out with friends, life was resuming normality and then, suddenly, another problem!

Two weeks before the proposed wedding day, our state authority imposed a snap Covid lockdown. The virus was loose in the community! Medical staff treating Covid patients in quarantine had inadvertently transmitted the UK variant of the virus to our community. It was out there.

Gatherings of any type including weddings were instantly restricted to 10 people. Oops!!! Ten people at a wedding? Not fun when you have paid and prepared for 80 +.

Queenslanders and the wedding couple went into panic mode.

One of the medical staff in question had even attended my local restaurant, the local Sunday markets and the hardware store during the virus incubation period for Covid 19. News of this raised an alarm at the Home by the Sea, as the Moth’s second home is the same hardware store!

Frantically checking the contact tracing information on the Government website and liberal splashings of same across social media, we determined the Moth was at the same location, but four hours after the infected man attended.

Folks living outside Australia and New Zealand might find this concern ridiculous, given the level of Covid infections they deal with every day. Here, two community cases caused societal pandemonium.

We saw protests of lockdown measures, many others complaining stores should remain open or unhappy to wear masks; some were irate at shoppers at the supermarket spotted wearing mask pulled down with nose protruding.

Within minutes of the lockdown announcement being broadcast on media channels, toilet paper, paper towel, disinfectant, rice and pasta disappeared from store shelves and queues were a mile long at the supermarket checkouts. It was crazy.

After a very tense week which was by then, less than one week out from the wedding date, we all breathed a sigh of relief when gatherings over 30 people were once again permitted to resume and non-essential shops could re-open. The Wedding could go ahead!

A huge sigh of relief.

The wedding ceremony was a beautiful and very happy ceremony to remember, even with us all wearing masks and or socially distancing for most of the night.

Both sets of parents of the bridal couple connected via Zoom and Skype thereby being able to witness the ceremony and reception. Other guests connected from Canada and South Africa. A truly international affair.

This truly was a unique wedding to remember!

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Australia, Community, Travel

Coping with Covid

beach

Latest Update

475 deaths from Corona, in Italy yesterday. 140 new cases overnight here, in Australia. No new cases in China – that they are aware of. Some good news from China, at last.

Iceland had its first death, possibly attributed to Covid 19! Iceland!

A sparsely populated area in the north of a country of only 250,000 people. An outpost in the very north of the Atlantic!

And who was it that perished in that tiny village in the north of Iceland?

An Australian tourist!

Unbelievable, but true.

RIYADH: The Saudi Health Ministry announced 67 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the total in the Kingdom to 238. The ministry said that highest number among the newly recorded cases was 45 arrivals to Saudi Arabia during the past two days. These cases arrived from UK.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1643431/saudi-arabia

It begs the questions of how much international travel, for business or pleasure has contributed to spreading this virus, albeit inadvertantly?

Hong kong

The Australian Airline carrier, Qantas, has reduced flights by 90%. International travel has been curtailed indefinitely, for most people. The Government has now banned foriegners from visiting our country. If you are a foreign citizen living here, you may leave, but you cannot return.

Is the sun setting on the future of passenger cruising and travel? Along with companies whose sole business is tourism, holiday accommodation, hospitality, and recreation?

Supermarkets sales are booming, whilst every other business languishes, rots or dies – Death by Corona.

Toilet paper, rice, pasta, other staples and curiously broccoli, fly off the shelves as soon as they are re-stocked. Why just Broccoli?

Broccoli and Spinach Soup

Nurses, Doctors, Hospital staff such as Cleaners, Ward Admininstration staff and Service folk, Ambulance drivers, Paramedics, Police, Fire, Laboratory testing staff, Security Personnel, Emergency services, all continue to work. Thanks goodness they do.

A friend works in a Hospital laboratory conducting more than 1000 Covid 19 tests a day! His work is usually only URGENT specimens for the hospital. One hospital. How many more are being conducted at the major high volume blood laboratories in each city. That statistic staggers me.

Gyms, sporting clubs and Yoga studios have closed.

Cinemas have closed.

Social Clubs have closed.

Universities have moved to online delivery of lessons.

Fiestas and Public festivals and events are canned.

We cannot gather together in a group of more than 100.

Yet the Government refuses to close the schools – children are safer in the germ- riddled playground and public toilet than in their family home,according to our fearless leader!

TV ratings must be up higher than ever before, or perhaps residential internet data usage is?

I remain at work, by direction. Everything but essential appointments are cancelled. Essential means an appointment that is vital, for safety reasons. So there will be very limited community visits for me – I will be spending my days at work, filing!

Quite frankly, I would rather stay at home, on unpaid leave and write, or paint. One consolation is the traffic is better. And I have my podcasts to listen to. There is no Covid 19 news on them.

microphone
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Driving to Podcasts

As I drive the long drive to and from work, I listen to stories of history, of what it was like to endure life in years gone by, scientific advances, the wars, heroic tales of people who overcome adversity or those who achieved success. I listen to philosophers and researchers – those who study the past to find answers to the future, who create our future. It interests me and is much preferable than listening to Corona updates.

Corona Anxiety

My daughter is worried. A 20 year old girl should not have to worry about whether she will live or die by the hand of a virus. She worries about having money to buy food and essentials; she works at a hotel, empty of guests, so her shifts have been drastically cut. There is a pitiful amount of money coming in.

She worries about paying rent. The landlord will no doubt still collect every last cent that is due. There is no relief for those who pay for their accommodation, or who have a mortgage. We help her, of course. We are her parents and willingly help. What if we weren’t here?

Traffic light control boxes

I reassure her worried teenage young adult mind, by telling her that humans are a resilient species. We have survived famine, years of food rations in the Great Depression and The World Wars. People ate rabbits, for the most part! I don’t tell her that part.

Yet in all this, life feels like it’s on hold.

I am flooded with daily emails about the extra precautions industry and businesses are taking, offering hand santizer, cleaning door handles, countertops, using gloves to handle food, only taking credit cards for payment, in order to avoid ‘dirty’ cash. I wonder: did your business, never ever clean your products or benches, door handles or ATM’s buttons before?

The mood at work and throughout society now, is solemn. And it can only become worse. People are worried, talking constantly about the latest media updates. It is hard to remain joyful and optimistic when everything is so uncertain.

– and the schools still remain open.

The Government must have shit for brains.

How are things in your area?