As NSW and Victoria get ready for the border to re-open, our readers have been telling us it’s time to open up
This week NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian flagged that NSW will open the border to Victoria at 12.01am on Monday, 23 November, in a move welcomed by a leading Victorian pharmacist.
The announcement follows AJP’s poll about the border closures which were implemented to help stop the spread of COVID-19, which caused significant logistical issues for pharmacists, pharmacy staff and patients near borders.
In our poll, which was active over the last couple of weeks as numbers of new COVID-19 infections dropped in Victoria, 24% of respondents told us that Australian governments had “got it right” when it came to border closures… with another 27% saying all states and territories needed to be opened up.
Just over another quarter – another 27% – felt that travel should be restricted to and from “hot spots” only.
The fourth quarter was roughly divided into two over different approaches to managing the borders, around permeability. Twelve per cent said that all pharmacy workers need to be considered “essential workers” and given permission to cross borders where appropriate without quarantining, while 10% said the borders were mostly right, but bubble zones and other exemptions could be widened.
Anthony Tassone, Victorian state branch president of the Pharmacy Guild, told the AJP that, “the announcement by the NSW government of the NSW/Victoria border reopening from November 23rd is fantastic news and not only welcomed by all Victorians but I’m sure all Australians”.
“It shows the great progress being made in tackling the COVID pandemic’s second wave,” he said.
“The border closure has been hard on many people across the community, particularly regional community pharmacies with disruptions at times for their own workforce commuting to and from work as well as sourcing locum pharmacists,” said Mr Tassone, commenting on the poll results.
“Whilst patients could cross the border to seek healthcare, the reopening will be an important step to returning to some sort of normal for them, as it can be stressful for them feeling assured they can access the care they need.
“Pharmacy proprietors who have ownership interests interstate have also been impacted in not being able to visit their pharmacies and offer direct support to their teams without having to have a period of quarantine.
“This pandemic has exhausted and drained everybody, and it has been very difficult for some working in community pharmacy on the frontline to have any respite and to ‘just take a break’.
“The border reopening is another step closer to feeling like one country again and hopefully more border re-openings can follow suit.”