How do you lock down a city without ordering a ‘lockdown’?
Across Australia the answer is being demonstrated in real time, as we speak.
There’s a good chance the same thing is coming to a city near you…
It’s Not a Lockdown
Written and published: 8-Jan-2022
I – The Timeline
II – Quick Recap
III – Lockdown Freedom
IV – Goodbye Small Business
V – What Next?
VI – One More Thing
I’m going to keep this post relatively concise, but there is a lot of important information to get through.
Late last year (i.e. just a couple of weeks ago) the news cycle focus in Australia shifted from
‘Omicron is not as dangerous as Delta’, to
‘Testing sites and pathology labs are overwhelmed’.
The narrative moved so quickly that few people seemed to realise what was going on, let alone what might be coming next.
In this post we are going to look at what has happened, how it happened, and what is likely to follow.
No matter which part of the world you call home, the latest development in the coronavirus saga, currently playing out in Australia, will likely be of interest to you.
Let’s find out.
Or, if you are too busy to read this right now, let me boil it down for you:
2022 may well be the year of the ‘shortage’.
I’m about to explain to you how and why, using what is happening in Australia as a case study.
I – The Timeline
According to the official story, the so-called ‘Omicron variant’ was first reported to the WHO on November 24, 2021.
It was announced that Australia had received its first ‘cases’ of Omicron just three days later, on November 27.
You probably still remember the initial reports, when Omicron suddenly became a thing.
Basically the narrative was to the effect of, ‘Omicron is probably less deadly, but more transmissible’.
Australia is — in theory — supposed to be a federation of states with open borders between one another.
A person from South Australia can travel to Victoria, a person from New South Wales to Queensland, and so forth.
No roadblocks, no paperwork, no nothing. Easy peasy.
For the past two years, this has rarely been the case.
Borders have closed, either entirely, or to those without the required documents.
In other instances, the borders have remained open but with a mandatory quarantine period for those crossing from one state to another.
Many of these borders had been closed (or otherwise compromised by mandates) for months prior to December, 2021.
And then, just as the spectre of Omicron began raising its ugly head, finally those borders reopened again.
For example, in Queensland, the borders reopened on December 13:
Vaccinated people from interstate are now able to enter Queensland without needing to quarantine, provided they have a negative Covid test result.
The rules varied by state, in many cases travelers were only required to provide a negative PCR test if they were coming from a so-called ‘hotspot’.
[Queensland Premier Annastacia Palasczcuk]
By December 22, it was reported that the queues for PCR tests had already gotten out of hand.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has dismissed suggestions that travellers bound for the Sunshine State are behind the huge queues overwhelming COVID-19 testing interstate.
She said the massive queues, which are leading to hours-long wait times and delays in results, were more likely due to the large spread of the Omicron variant in southern states.
Currently, fully vaccinated people seeking to enter Queensland from a domestic hotspot must receive a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR test carried out in the 72 hours before they arrive.
They must also be tested again on their fifth day in Queensland.
All of the 257,000 people, according to travel data, who arrived in Queensland since Monday from Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT, would have required a COVID-19 test by December 17.
The Queensland authorities were demanding two PCR tests for every interstate arrival from a’ hotspot’.
This was in addition to the PCR tests being carried out for ‘close contacts’ and those with ‘symptoms’, which had become standard procedure since the early days of the ‘pandemic’.
3) Long queues
With multi-hour queues for PCR testing centers, and the results taking days to arrive, Aussies across the country were in a pickle:
In order to travel to see friends and family for the festive season, they would need negative PCR results.
[A testing centre in Sydney]
Depending on which state a person were from and where they were trying to go, the negative result may be ‘mandated’ to travel.
For others, the kinds of people who believe and trust the TV, it was a case of wanting to ‘put safety first’, even if they didn’t believe themselves to be ill; they were lining up for PCR tests voluntarily.
Either way, Christmas and NYE plans were being thrown into disarray as people struggled to receive their tests, and results, in time.
Due to an abrupt rise in demand around the festive season, it was reported, pathology labs had been swamped with excessive volumes of samples to analyse.
News segments and social media were awash with stories of people waiting four or five hours in queues just to get tested, and then up to five days or longer to receive their results.
[Did you ever play the game ‘Lemmings’ as a kid?]
Clearly this situation was untenable, something had to give…
4) PCR -> RAT
All of a sudden, there was a big announcement:
PCR tests would no longer be required, a ‘rapid antigen test’ (RAT) would suffice.
[A handy dandy ‘rapid antigen test’]
RATs can be performed at home and yield results in minutes, much more convenient than PCRs.
Previously, Australians had been told to use RATs to determine if they are positive and, if so, confirm via PCR.
On January 5, this policy was changed:
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says National Cabinet has agreed to remove the requirement for people to undertake a PCR test to confirm a positive rapid antigen test result.
“If you’re a close contact and you’ve had a rapid antigen test, and it’s positive, you do not need to get a PCR test to confirm that,” Mr Morrison said in a media conference following Wednesday’s National Cabinet meeting.
“That will take pressure off PCR testing lines.”
This policy change would lead to an avalanche of follow-on effects…
5) Show me the money
Depending on the state in which they live, Australians can receive several hundred dollars if they test positive for the virus.
Ostensibly, this money is to make up for remuneration lost from work due to isolating at home.
Until recently, only a positive PCR result would be accepted as proof of ‘infection’ in order to receive those payments.
On January 6 it was confirmed that a positive RAT result would also qualify for government ‘covid support’ money.
[Yes, Aussie currency looks like monopoly money]
Consider the difference this change in policy would make to a person’s enthusiasm to get tested:
PCR = hours wasted in queues, then days spent waiting for results, vs
RAT = no time waiting to be tested (just buy a kit from the shops), immediate results.
Now it would not matter how many pathology labs and technicians were available to analyse test samples.
The practical limit on total cases which could be ‘discovered’ on any given day had been removed.
Well, except for the number of RATs available for purchase…
6) RAT race
This led to the next problem: pharmacies and other RAT retailers were fast running out of stock.
RATs became the new toilet paper: they were hard to find and, where available, prices were often significantly marked up.
[This guy has plenty of the good stuff, just ask him]
The run on RATs had already begun prior to the Jan 5 announcement, and was exacerbated thereafter.
Millions of RATs had apparently been sold. Shelves were empty.
Not to worry, because the Australian government then announced they would procure and distribute millions more, ‘for free’:
About 6.6 million Australians will be eligible for 10 free rapid antigen tests over three months…
If this were true, that would mean tens of millions more RATs over the coming months — and that’s just the ones being handed out by the government.
It doesn’t include millions more being purchased from retailers as fresh stock arrives.
7) Covid cash
[Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison]
Then on January 7, the Prime Minister encouraged citizens to apply for $750 payments:
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is urging Australians to check their eligibility for the COVID-19 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, as Omicron soars through the community, setting new records for NSW and Victoria.
The $750 payment is available for eligible persons for each seven day period they’ve been told to self-isolate or quarantine, or if they’re caring for someone who has COVID-19. Payment seekers must make a new claim for each seven day period.
You don’t even need to have tested positive to be eligible for the money. ‘Close contacts’ also qualify:
You have to self-isolate or quarantine for one of the following reasons [if] you’re informed by a health official that you’re a close contact with a person who has COVID-19.
So in other words, all a person would need to qualify is be considered a ‘close contact’ of a ‘positive case’, and they could — nay, must — spend a week at home
binge watching Netflix and ordering in UberEats ‘self isolating at home’ (for the good of the community, of course).
This might not be such a problem if case numbers remained low, as was reportedly the case with the original coronavirus and it’s successor, muh Deltas, since they didn’t seem to infect that many people.
After all, Australia had pursued a so-called ‘zero covid’ policy for most of the previous two years, and the majority of the adult population were reportedly vaccinated against the virus by the end of 2021.
But that was until muh Omicrons entered the scene…
8) Record ‘cases’
On Saturday, January 8, the day this article was written, Victoria reported over 50,000 daily cases, a new record.
The same day, New South Wales reported 45,000 daily cases, also a record.
According to Bloomberg:
Australia reported more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases for the first time in a single day, as a backlog of home test results were included in the tally… Australia recorded 116,025 new cases…
Case number records being smashed left, right and centre.
With this many new cases, Omicron running riot out there in the community, suddenly anybody could be a ‘close contact’ of somebody with the virus.
How could the ‘contact tracers’ or other government bodies possibly keep track of who is or is not a ‘close contact’?
9) Where is everybody?
Now we get to the really fun part: staff shortages.
On January 7:
Channel 9 | Australians warned of food shortages due to covid-19
Channel 7 | Australians warned to expect more empty shelves over coming weeks
And more on January 8:
Channel 9 | Supermarkets grapple with covid-19 worker crisis
These are only a few examples of the news segments being beamed around Australia over the past couple of days.
Today on the JLB Discord server, long-term Member phillipbbg, who lives in Sydney, posted this:
[For larger image click here]
In case the screenshot above is difficult to read on your device, here is the key section reproduced verbatim:
If you drive around Sydney its like a lockdown NOTHING is open except the supermarkets with dwindling shelf stock and fast food .. which may well close soon.
My partner has had 50% of there staff test positive and now unable to work for 7 days min until they have second test… YES the gov has created the perfect lockdown where they have not declared one so they do not have to pay or provide any compensation… CLEVER
(By ‘compensation’, Phil is referring to the fact that he has heard anecdotal reports from people he knows that the promised covid support payments are more difficult to acquire than the government and media might make them out to be)
For small business, the compensation packages which were offered in the initial lockdown(s) have yet to materialise this time around.
And this is because, as Phil has explained, this isn’t technically a lockdown.
I’m not in Australia so I cannot confirm his reports with my own eyeballs, but I’ve met Phil ‘in real life’ and I trust him as a source.
If he says Sydney is dead, and the shopping centers are running low on supplies, I don’t doubt him, especially since it accords with anecdotal reports I’ve heard and read elsewhere.
[It’s beginning to look a lot like lockdown, goys avoid the stores]
Speaking of which, my own ‘home’ city of Melbourne seems to be in even worse shape than Sydney.
The Melbourne subreddit has been running a ‘daily coronavirus megathread’ ever since the ‘pandemic’ began.
For the Saturday, January 8 edition (i.e. today), the following was the top comment chain of the day:
[For larger image, click here]
Once again, I’ll copy the comments verbatim.
User A writes:
So I work in a hospital and have no social life to speak of anyway so can’t tell … Are people now generally self-isolating and being less social to avoid potential exposure to Omicron, or is it still business as usual over the weekends at restaurants, bars & clubs?
User B replies:
Streets and shopping Center are dead AF where I live. Looks like self-imposed lockdown is happening in my suburb.
User C replies:
In St Kilda I see people trying to be out and about but every other place is closed or has super reduced hours because all their staff are sick.
St Kilda is the popular beach suburb of inner Melbourne.
If that place is dead in January i.e. the warmest weather Melbourne will see all year, you know they’ve got serious issues.
The reddit thread in question was littered with responses akin to this, and it was a similar story on other social media outlets.
I’m a big fan of the expression, ‘the lights are on but nobody’s home’.
Right now in Australia, it is also a case of ‘the lockdown is over but everybody’s home’.
II – Quick Recap
There were plenty of links and a lot of information in what you just read, so let’s briefly recap the key points in the timeline.
1) Omicron entered the narrative in late November of last year.
2) In Australia, borders were finally reopening (although travelers often still required PCR tests to cross).
-> For example, Queensland lifted restrictions in mid-December after months of closure / restrictions.
3) This, along with regular testing of ‘close contacts’ and those with ‘symptoms’, was blamed for long queues at testing centres around the Christmas / NYE period.
-> And also for the long delays (up to five days) for test results to arrive.
4) On January 5, the Aus government announced that RATs would now suffice for PCRs.
-> That is, PCRs would no longer be required to confirm positive cases; a positive RAT would be enough.
5) Through much of the ‘pandemic’, Australians have been able to receive government money for testing positive.
-> By January 6 it was confirmed that positive RATs would also be sufficient to qualify for the government handouts.
6) There was a run on RATs and retailers quickly sold out of their stock.
7) On January 7, the federal government encouraged citizens to apply for the new $750 per week payment.
-> And this didn’t even require a positive test, merely an ‘instruction’ to stay home as a ‘close contact’.
8) On January 8, the day this article was written, Victoria, New South Wales, and Australia herself all broke records for ‘daily cases’.
9) The MSM is reporting staff shortages, food shortages, and business closures.
-> This is confirmed by myriad social media reports and the testimony of our own phillipbbg.
-> People are ‘isolating at home’, many of them as ‘close contacts’, presumably expecting to pocket $750 per week.
III – Lockdown Freedom
As you can see, things have moved rather quickly in Australia.
[T___ e________ q______]
Less than one month ago, people were celebrating the ‘double dose milestones’ and the reopening of state borders.
Yes, that was less one month ago. Let that sink in for a moment.
Now the ‘daily cases’ graph has gone hockey stick style.
[For full size image click here]
The graph above is straight from the Australian Dept of Health.
Although the x-axis may be difficult to read, it covers the entirely of the ‘pandemic’ i.e. from the beginning of 2020 through to today.
Shortly after the various states of Australia reached their ‘double dose milestones’, the official script was flipped:
Suddenly a nation which had spent almost two years supposedly targeting a ‘zero covid’ goal was now looking at record cases, day after day.
Of course, the official story is that this is not so bad, because vaccinations will protect most people from ‘serious illness’, and the new variant is less deadly than those which have come before it.
That’s part of what makes this abrupt shift in the narrative so brilliant:
It kinda fits in with the preexisting narrative.
We were told that there would be ‘weaker’ variants on the virus over time.
What we were not told is that these ‘weaker’ variants, when coupled with certain government policies, could do as much damage to the economy — and the way we live our lives — as the initial lockdowns in 2020.
IV – Goodbye small business
Consider the way this is being done:
i) ‘Close contacts’ are being told to ‘self isolate’ for seven days.
ii) ‘Positive cases’ and ‘close contacts’ are being offered $750 per week.
iii) Inconvenient PCRs have been replaced with convenient RATs,
iv) The government is offering to pay for ten RATs per person, for almost seven million people.
Thus we see the cities empty and businesses shut.
And that is perhaps the most Machiavellian element of this new chapter in the ‘pandemic’ narrative:
They didn’t even have to declare a lockdown this time.
Will small business be compensated for their losses over the next few weeks (more likely months)?
They were thrown money to shut up shop during the initial lockdowns two years ago, and many were happy enough to go along with the charade.
Why not? Just two weeks to flatten the curve, get some free money, treat it like a little holiday.
[Who wouldn’t enjoy ‘a couple weeks’ off work, subsidised by the government?]
From the beginning of this madness almost two years ago, yours truly predicted that, over time, the free money for small businesses would slowly but surely dry up, whereas the lockdowns themselves would continue well into the future.
Myself and several others suggested that small businesses would be squeezed to death, one by one, month after month, year after year.
Each wave of lockdowns would wipe out another tranche of those business owners still desperately hanging on.
The money offered to businesses as part of those initial closures was little more than thinly-veiled bait.
[I__ _ t__]
I’ve been proven right about that, and I’m sure many of you made similar predictions.
In a way, it was kinda easy to see where this was all headed.
What I didn’t predict was that within two years, the government wouldn’t even need to declare lockdowns to achieve their ends.
Just offer free home tests, free money for those who test positive, and free money for ‘close contacts’.
[D_____ d_____ b____, y’___]
The masses, on both the individual and the societal level, now seem happy to play along for yet another chapter of this charade.
Businesses of any size cannot operate without staff, and retailers cannot survive without customers.
Small businesses do not generally have the capital to endure repeated lockdowns — official or unofficial — without government assistance.
Right now, the Australian government is offering financial assistance: for staff and customers to stay home.
The exact opposite of what small businesses need right now.
It’s a brilliant scheme when you think about.
Credit where it’s due: these guys are good at what they do.
V – What next?
As this post goes to print (i.e. I hit ‘publish’), things continue to move quickly.
I can’t pretend to know how far these staff shortages will go.
I won’t claim to know when — or even if — the shelves will be restocked.
How many small businesses will survive the lockdown which isn’t a ‘lockdown’?
What I can say with confidence is as follows:
1) This turn of events happened swiftly, within the space of just a few weeks.
2) If it can happen in Melbourne and Sydney, it can happen where you live.
3) When they told us this was a ‘Great Reset’, they weren’t joking.
[Everyzing is going to ze fplan, Vrollo]
Has the PCR -> RAT switcheroo begun already in your part of the world?
If so, how long do you think it will take for your own lockdown which isn’t a ‘lockdown’?
If not, do you think it might only be a matter of time?
Let me know in the comments section below.
VI – One more thing
In a recent Member Call, recorded Tuesday, January 4, we discussed the reported ‘testing crisis’ affecting Australia.
MDC S3 E4 – Doom vs Hopium (4-Jan-2022)
This was before the announcement that RATs would suffice for PCRs in ‘positive cases’.
It was before the announcement that the federal government would hand out ten RATs per person, to almost seven million people across Australia.
And it was before the announcement that people could receive $750 per week to sit at home and ‘self isolate’.
Therefore this episode was recorded before Melbourne and Sydney had turned into ghost towns.
Despite this, myself and the other Aussies on the call seemed to realise the significance of the sudden change in the news narrative.
One point I made during the Call was that this shift towards ‘home testing’ seemed designed to further cripple small business.
Little did I know that people would soon –within days — be getting offered $750 to sit at home and ‘self isolate’ 🤦♂️
I would like to take this opportunity once again to thank the six Members of this site who joined me for the Call that day.
Cheers Ab, Aengus, AP, Beau, dbuser, and MattyV.
Once again this place has proven itself to be a think tank on the cutting edge of grand narrative analysis.
This is also as good a place as any to let new Members to the site know about Oh My Kron.
Post #118 – Oh My Kron (28-Nov-2021)
From the moment I first heard about muh Omicrons, I had a feeling this was the beginning of something big.
Take a moment to check that piece out and you’ll soon understand what I mean.
Next Member Call
Things are changing quickly.
Based on how many people showed up to the Call last weekend, it seems to me that a lot of folks out there have plenty to say.
Six people joined for the official (recorded) part of the Call, and several more appeared for the informal aftercall chat.
So I have gone ahead and penciled in two separate Call times for Saturday the 15th.
One time is intended to be convenient for those in Australasia, the other is designed to suit our friends in the Americas.
If, like me, you live in Europe, then either time ought to be convenient.
It goes without saying that I’ll be present for both.
I’m expecting both Calls to run about two or three hours, with our usual informal aftercall chat following each recorded session.
All Members are, as always, welcome to join for the recorded part of the call, or the aftercall, or both (which is what most of us do).
There’s more information in the JLB Discord channel ‘schedule-calls’, feel free to discuss these plans there.
Call 1 – start time
Call 2 – start time
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Production notes. Post #124. Written and published 8-Jan-2022. Minor rewrite 9-Jan-2022. 3,500 words. Originally Members only, made available publicly 9-Jan-2022 for Mailing List.