SENTINEL TIMES COMMENT

IT WAS probably inevitable that if anywhere outside of Melbourne was going to be exposed to the COVID-19 virus, it would be popular visitor locations like Phillip Island.
And apart from an initial hiccup with a lack of testing capacity on Saturday, the response from the authorities and from the local community has been outstanding.

Really, it was fantastic to see the way testing sites were expanded over the weekend, how people were prepared to wait patiently for their tests and how deep-cleaning crews got to work to reopen supermarkets and other needed venues.

And you’ve got to feel for the staff of Tier 1 venues and others who attended these sites and will now be out of action for 14 days.

All that on top of a debilitating, costly but ultimately necessary state-wide lockdown impacting business, local sport and all the rest.

But what wasn’t inevitable or even safe given the highly infectious nature of the Delta strain, in the middle of a Victorian winter, was the number of people the government has allowed to pack into the MCG, into AAMI park and into venues like the Crafty Squire Microbrewery in Melbourne to see the EURO final last week.

What were they thinking?

Until there are enough people vaccinated, we’re not back to normal folks, as much as we’d like to be, and attending large-scale events, especially where there are crowds of people inside is just not on.

And why, for goodness sake, they are allowing people from 200 countries to get together in what is essentially a petri dish at the Olympic Games, to combine all the worst aspects the COVID-19 outbreak in one location, is beyond logic.

We all love our sport, especially as a distraction, but health and safety must come first and to think that the community of Phillip Island is being put through all this because someone wanted to go to a football match at one of the largest stadiums in the world, with many crowded inside venues, is beyond the pale.