上周, 南非洲發現傳播極速的新冠變種Omicron毒株, 立時成為全球關注。在堵截了兩宗登陸澳洲的個案後, 聯邦政府立時向南非洲國家封閉邊境。隨即, 舉行國家內閣會議商討對策。其後,發現在不同州份都有更多社區傳播個案, 聯邦政府處於高度戒備狀態, 增加了對進入澳洲人仕的病毒檢測要求, 並且公佈把原定向國際留學生及臨時簽證人仕從12月1日開放, 延遲兩周, 以便搜集更多對Omicron變種毒株的資料。
全球國家在與新冠病毒的戰爭, 接近兩年, 至今發達國家在大部份國民接種疫苗後, 開始重新開放邊境。而發展中的國家只有少數人接種了疫苗, 大部分人仍在病毒威嚇之下。Omicron的出現, 立時打亂了發達國家要開放重啟經濟發展的計劃。由於Omicron 的傳播性看起來比Delta 毒株更為厲害, 要是它的殺傷力更強, 又或是現時的疫苗無法有效阻止它的傳播, 那麼, 全世界又會再次陷入不可知的困境之中。
從全球股票巿場大幅下跌的反應, 可以見到整個世界都處於高度緊張狀態。其實,到現時沒有跡象顯示Omicron有更大的殺傷力, 反而現時發現的個案大都是輕症, 也沒有證據顯示現時的疫苗會失效。維州首席衛生官Brett Sutton 教授指出, 今天與Delta 毒株剛出現時, 不同的是澳洲有著超過90%的居民已接種了疫苗, 因此我們有一定能力去面對Omicron的挑戰。他也表示, 至今我們要保持開放的態度, 等待收集了多一點 Omicron的資料, 才能瞭解我們到底是面對怎樣的問題。
現時聯邦政府已採取了行動, 盼望能把Omicron 堵在澳洲門外。我相信現時澳洲人要作的是保持高度警覺及關注, 不過我們亦要持有信心, 不要在沒有明確證據之前, 讓恐懼充滿我們的心。
是的, 過去兩年新冠疫情, 我們心有餘悸, 不過我們仍有權利不活在恐慌之中。
Omicron: Be alert No panic
A new covid strain of Omicron emerged in South Africa last week has rung the alarm bell throughout the world. After detecting two of such cases landing on Australian soil the federal government has swiftly closed our border to some south African countries, followed by emergency cabinet meeting. After a few community cases were reported in some States, the government has been in high alert and tighten testing requirement for people entering Australia, the scheduled border reopening on 1st December has also been deferred by two weeks pending more data analysis of this new virus strain.
The flight with Covid-19 has been on for two years, by now most developed nations have reopened borders after massive vaccination. Developing countries lacking in the vaccination rate are still under threat. Omicron has derailed nations’ plan to reboot their economy. Omicron appears to be even more infectious than Delta, so if it has more severe health hazard or if the existing vaccine cannot offer good protection against it, then the whole world would be back to square one of the pandemic.
The recent dive of the global stock market tells how panic the world is now. Actually there has yet to be proof that Omicron is a more fatal strain or the vaccinated are not protected, rather cases arising are less symptomatic. Victoria CHO Brett Sutton what makes us different now compared to when Delta came in is our over 90% double dose rate, giving us the protection that we most need. He said we should hold an open view to collect more analytical data on the new strain before we can eye on the real issue.
The federal government has taken action to keep Omicron out of bound by alerting the public. But we should have confidence not to let unfound fear to take hold.
The past two years’ of covid experience has been bad enough, but we should have the right not to live in fear.
Mr. Raymond Chow, Publisher