Byron Bay mayor Michael Lyon called the situation a ‘nightmare’ when a man in his 50s from Sydney tested positive in the Byron Bay area, triggering a lockdown.
“We’re going through trying to list all exposure sites and work out where he’s been, and he hasn’t been signing in and using QR codes, any of that … doesn’t believe in it, it’s a nightmare. It’s been very difficult for police and health authorities to track down where he’s been, it’s ridiculous, you have to wonder what people are thinking when it comes to a situation like this,” said Lyon, talking to the ABC.
Mayor Lyon went on to say that he wants to see the book thrown at the man.
“It seems to be a clear case of negligence and intentional disregard. I think there needs to be some kind of penalty for that.”
The last time a politician suggested something of this nature, there was widespread outrage.
As of August 9, the Northern Rivers area along with Byron Shire, Richmond Valley, Lismore, and Ballina have all joined the same ‘stay at home’ health orders as Sydney. Over 300,000 extra people are under tough restrictions.
The Daily Mail branded the Sydney man at the centre of the outbreak a ‘conspiracy theorist’ because he had not used QR codes. This language appears consistent with the leaked video Rebel News broke back in July showing editor Barclay Crawford encouraging his staff to produce content dismissive of Australians who reject the Covid vaccination.
“We’ll keep trying to run stories that call out the anti-vax weirdos. […] Make sure your stories are rubbishing their claims.”
New South Wales’ two week lockdown, which started on June 26, is now in its seventh week.
The Delta variant appears to have spread beyond the ability of the government to control with lockdowns. Restless Sydneysiders have been caught increasingly breaking the rules as tensions rise across the state. Thousands of calls flood in every day to police lines, reporting those who deviate from health orders.
Sydney will remain under lockdown until at least August 28, although there have been discussions about keeping the city in lockdown until the end of the year.
While not official, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has hinted that the state’s approach will shift from Covid-zero cases to a vaccine target. This would bring NSW in line with other major cities around the world who have decided to live with Covid, rather than eradicate it.
There have been 83 deaths in NSW since the beginning of the pandemic. The total cost of the health orders remain unknown.