Two of the Australian travel industry’s biggest names have joined forces to call the effectiveness of hard lockdowns into question.
In a co-authored piece published on The Australian last week, Flight Centre Travel Group supremo Graham “Skroo” Turner and Luxury Escapes co-founder Adam Schwab argued there was growing scepticism about the benefits of lockdowns and their significant costs.
“These include devastating educational impacts, widespread mental health issues, increased domestic violence, loss of basic freedoms and damaged relationships,” they wrote.
Turner and Schwab went on to say that while it appears common sense that lockdowns reduce the reproduction rate of a virus, “the data is not clear”.
The travel industry bigwigs also noted that lockdowns “don’t appear to be overly effective” in Western countries because “they are simply not strict or harsh enough”.
“The difficulty faced by democratically-elected leaders is that humans don’t like to face such severe restrictions, so leaders need to make a lot of exceptions,” Turner and Schwab wrote on The Australian.
“Even the most severe Western lockdowns allow people to go to the supermarket, take their dog to the vet, go to the doctor and visit a chemist.”
“The obvious alternative to hard lockdown is an effective vaccine, which we fortunately have. But even without the panacea of 100 per cent vaccination, social distancing, hygiene, effective contact tracing and isolation, and rapid self-testing and protection of the vulnerable work to suppress excessive fatalities.”
Turner and Schwab predict the virus won’t be eliminated “for years” and called for more focus on vaccinating vulnerable or elderly people who want to be protected from COVID.
“The last question we should ask ourselves is: what value do we place on our personal freedom?” they wrote.
“We need to ask ourselves: when do our basic human rights become secondary to a viral pandemic? In the end, Australians wanting their basic rights back will be one of the main factors in ending hard lockdowns.”
Featured image source: iStock/Viktoras Marininas