Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has said today that the state will not consider easing restrictions for at least six months.

As the winter of viral discontent grips us ever harder, Australians and New Zealanders are starting to ask, rightly enough, just when will the lockdowns end? What’s the exit strategy for the Chinese virus?

As far as some politicians seem to think, that’s for them to decide…whenever. We peasants can just stay locked up in our homes until our benevolent dictators deign to let us out.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned the state’s tough coronavirus social-distancing restrictions will stay “until a vaccine is found”, after Australia’s death toll climbed to 45.

Ms Berejiklian’s announcement comes after NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller revealed last week that the social-distancing laws which allow police to issue on-the-spot $1,000 fines for any breaches, would last for 90 days.

So, that’s at least until the first week of July. At least. When a vaccine is developed is anyone’s guess, but it’s at least months away.

What’s even more galling is that even Australia’s relatively low rate of infections and deaths are in no small part due to Berejiklian’s own government’s incompetence.

The number of new infections in NSW is the lowest since 40 were recorded on March 19 — the day the Ruby Princess docked in Sydney, sparking a sharp increase in the number of cases.

The ship has been responsible for 12 deaths and more than 600 cases in Australia.

Just to rub salt in the wound, Berejiklian airily informs us peasants, “I bought myself a treadmill instead of going on holidays”. After all, they’re only a lazy $1500 to $5000. I guess we’ve got something to spend our stimulus payments on, instead of fripperies like food or rent.

The great danger of the panic attending the Chinese virus is that, having got a taste of absolute power, politicians won’t be in a hurry to give it up.

The Premier said although restrictions could be eased in the future, social-distancing was the new “way of life” until a vaccine was discovered.

As C. S. Lewis once wrote, “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive”. The proof of Lewis’s observation could be seen in tyrannies like the former Soviet Union. “Our goal is the happiness of all mankind,” they trumpeted from the ruins of Chernobyl.

Technocrats and politicians like Berejiklian are fast proving themselves to be just the sort of “omnipotent moral busybodies[…]who torment us for our own good will torment us without end” whom Lewis warned us against.

At least they haven’t started welding our doors shut. Yet.

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