The inhumanity of state border restrictions continues to be displayed by countless stories of individuals and families who are traumatised by bureaucratic decisions. Children who have missed their parent’s funeral, families who have been separated for months, and patients that have had urgent medical treatment cancelled and their health compromised.
This week, I was contacted by Nardia from Mildura, who told me of her husband Corey’s struggle to undergo emergency eye surgery. Corey was diagnosed with a detached retina and macula and was told he urgently required surgery.
After making arrangements for their two young daughters, Nardia and Corey left Mildura and headed for Adelaide and the South Australian border, having applied for exemptions to travel.
Once they arrived at the border, they found their permit applications had not yet been approved despite the urgency of the situation. Thankfully, a police officer at the border used her discretion to allow Nardia and Corey to continue onto Adelaide.
Although travellers from Mildura can now freely enter South Australia with a simple border declaration, Nardia and Corey had been in Euston in the days before travelling to Adelaide. As such, they were subject to stringent restrictions and COVID tests on days 1, 5, and 13. Let us remember Euston remains COVID free.
However, doctors determined that they needed to treat Corey as potentially COVID positive. Due to the administrative burdens of preparing for a COVID positive surgery, doctors recommended the surgery go ahead with local, instead of general anaesthetic. Corey had surgery on his eye while fully conscious at 11:30pm, having been booked in at 10am.
Corey is booked for a second surgery in a week’s time, and his surgeon has advised that he is unable to travel. Nardia and Corey are now stuck in Adelaide, away from their family and young children, while Corey recovers from a very traumatic operation.
This experience could have easily been avoided if State Governments approached border restrictions with compassion and common sense. This story is yet another example of the inequality and hardships that regional Victorians are constantly facing due to unjustified COVID restrictions.
Instead of blanket restrictions and arbitrary decision making, we need targeted and proportionate measures based on a national hotspot definition. The people of Mildura and Mallee do not deserve this.