Credit:Illustration: Jim Pavlidis
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For many, the sheer difficulty of checking in
Many of us are in the same boat as Trevor Morton (Letters, 2/6) – we have perfectly good Android phones that cannot be upgraded to Android 6 to install the Service Victoria check-in app. Checking in is now mandatory. Is the government expecting us to buy new phones just to install the app?
How hard is it to design an app that requires such basic functionality (records your location, name and phone number) to work on older Android phones? A simple alternative is to also publish a check-in URL that provides a basic web-form so that anyone with any old smartphone can input the information via their browser.
Why is the tech world so obsessed with apps? They are great for more complex online activities, such as banking. However, they chew up phone resources (for example, memory) so you need to upgrade your phone more frequently to keep up with the “app for everything” mentality that is now the norm. Why do we accept this planned obsolescence that is forced down our throats, and in this case, why is the government encouraging it?
Mike Bilsborough, Glen Iris
It’s time for Service Victoria to update its app
Now that we have to use QR signing into supermarkets, it is even more evident that the Service Victoria QR reader app, which cannot be downloaded by Android mobile phone users with a system of less than 6, is inappropriate for the task. Service Victoria has suggested that those who cannot download the app should use pen and paper to sign in. Given how contagious the current variety of COVID-19 is, surely the handling of these items is a significant risk. Service Victoria needs to update its app to cater for mobile phones using a system less than 6.
Max Warlow, Taylors Hill
So, were only some of us exposed to COVID-19?
On Sunday, my family made our way to Marvel Stadium to watch North Melbourne get a severe pummelling by Essendon. It was about as ugly as the means by which we found out we may have been exposed to a Tier 2 COVID-19 contact.
You see, my husband purchased tickets for our immediate family of five from Ticketmaster (we all checked in using the Service Victoria QR code), and our cousin also purchased tickets from Ticketmaster (three of whom checked in using the QR code). However, only my husband and our cousin received texts to get a test. The likely conclusion? The Service Victoria QR code check in system is not as reliable – nor can it contact trace quite as quickly – as Ticketmaster.
Lara Blamey, Mount Eliza
Seeking systems that are simple and quick to use
Recently we toured Tasmania and its state-supplied QR code check-in app provided the ability to also check in an additional person, and details of both people were retained for future use. Therefore every subsequent check-in was a matter of a scan and a couple of clicks. This resulted in overwhelming compliance due to the ease of use, particularly at hospitality venues where the vast majority of visitors were more than one person. This app should be adopted by the federal government and rolled out to all states and territories.
David Parker, Geelong West
All businesses should be required to have a QR code
So much for the QR code. The other day I went to a chemist and the local supermarket and used the QR codes but when I went to the post office, I was told that it did not have one. Surely that should be illegal.
Helen Russell, Murrumbeena
Clarifying the problems with Android and codes
Old Android mobiles like the Galaxy S6 and younger can run the Android operating system version 6. Hence they will run both the Commonwealth COVIDSafe app and do QR code registration using a third-party QR reader app like Neoreader as long as the Service Victoria app is downloaded first. The phone camera app apparently cannot be used for QR codes until Android version 9.
Graeme Butler, Alphington
Desperately seeking help
My daughter, who has an intellectual disability, has had to change schools several times due to COVID-19. She has now experienced remote learning (or the lack of it) in three different settings: mainstream, specialist and special development schools.
Kids with disabilities are being left so far behind, not to mention the knock-on effects for siblings, parents and carers managing their children’s complex needs and psychological challenges, often in complete isolation.
I have reached out numerous times to find mental health support for my daughter but it is practically non-existent in the case of intellectual disability. School gives her day structure and purpose. There have been times when specialist and special development schools were exempt from remote learning. Why not now?
Janine Maydom, Black Rock
Who do we listen to?
Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton says the virus, if left unmitigated, would reproduce at an average of five cases for every new infection (The Age, 3/6). Yet Professor James McCaw, a University of Melbourne epidemiologist and member of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, says the reproduction rate of the current outbreak peaked at just above 2 – before Victoria’s outbreak response began – and is now hovering just below 1.
Why is there such a discrepancy in the numbers put forward? These figures/data should be verified facts. Who is correct? Medical and related decisions should be evidence-based. There cannot be two different bodies of evidence regarding this latest outbreak in Melbourne.
Professor James Tatoulis, cardiothoracic surgeon, Carlton North
Grief from COVID death
Just pre-COVID, I had worried about mum going into care. However the care was excellent and she was happier and healthier than she had been when living independently. A few months on, despite every reasonable precaution, Mum contracted COVID-19. Her passing was awful and the grief was intense. She died alone in hospital. I am still haunted by not seeing or touching her until the very end when she was unresponsive.
I hoped that the awfulness of last year would teach us that we must all look after each other in any crisis and take responsibility for our actions. To hear the federal aged care and health ministers play loose with the truth and fail to admit the weaknesses in aged care, and the vaccine rollout and acquisition, throws me into despair and anger. Anger at myself for placing my mother in what I still believe is an extremely good institution. Anger at all the people who prevaricated in getting vaccinated, anger at the lack of care and concern from our leaders. I suspect there are 654 other Victorian families dealing with the same pain.
Christine Cook, Essendon
Quarantine made easy
Hotel quarantine is flawed, so try this instead: allocate some Crown land outside Melbourne. Run some power. Then solicit caravan owners to rent their vans to the cause. Park them, say, 80metres apart, run in some portaloos and bingo, you have a geographically separated quarantine facility with plenty of fresh air and ventilation. In a very short time. Plus, the costs can line the pockets of local Melburnians instead of international hotel chains. Ready?
Stephen Toal, Alphington
Details of assistance
We have heard from many people in Melbourne who will have trouble putting food on the table and paying bills during the extension of this essential lockdown. Perhaps The Age could publish a daily list of any assistance that people can get, whether it be a soup kitchen, food share location or financial assistance. Communities and governments could lodge this assistance with The Age for publication.
Trish Randles, Strathdale
UK is right on vaccination
I do not want to live in Britain and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has got much wrong. But you have to hand it to the Brits for the current state of play regarding COVID-19. According to the UK government’s numbers, as at June 1, 75per cent of people have had one shot of the virus and 49per cent are fully vaccinated.
Also, 3165 new cases of the virus on Tuesday, broadly flat on the previous day, and no new COVID-19 deaths within 28 days of a positive test on Tuesday (World, 2/6) – and they are considering opening up the country again. It looks like vaccinations are the answer. We are going to get there when? Oh, I forgot, it is not a race.
Jonathan Sanders, Glen Iris
Let’s follow NSW’s lead
Could our state leaders please stop using inflammatory and fear-inducing language as we endure our fourth lockdown? What happened to learning to live with inevitable outbreaks that they warned us about – the “new normal”? Did they really mean hard lockdowns were our default position? It seems the state government has only one switch – either on or off.
Clearly areas where outbreaks occur need a targeted response, in the way New South Wales has been choosing successfully. Why is Victoria persisting with this all or nothing response? It is devastating people’s livelihoods, disrupting the social/emotional networks that we know are so essential to sound mental health, and further damaging an already weakened economy. For all our sakes, please have enough humility to learn from others.
Judy Michelangeli, Wheelers Hill
So here we go again. Aged care staff will only be able to work at one site, with many losing income with no compensation. Yet again there will be staff shortages and they will be forced to work even harder and even do the jobs of two people. The same is happening in the disability sector, but there is nothing but silence from governments, employers and unions. An already overworked, overburdened workforce that is in no way paid fairly for the responsibilities they have. How about a financial reward for them? Or even a tax break. I will not hold my breath for the Coalition to give a stuff.
James Curtis, disability support worker, Chelsea
Where to attribute blame
Some Victorians go about their normal routine for a week or more when symptomatic before getting a COVID-19 test. Many Victorians do not wear masks when they are required to do so, and many do not check into venues they visit or otherwise disregard health directives. I wonder how many of these people now blame the state government when the inevitable outbreak occurs with the accompanying restrictions.
Peter Neuhold, Elsternwick
Come on, joggers, mask up
Now that the aerosol spread of COVID-19 is acknowledged, surely it is time to change the rules on joggers being exempt from wearing masks. Some show consideration for others and detour to keep clear of pedestrians. Alas, many joggers frequently huff and puff (droplets galore) their way through people out walking, making no effort to maintain physical distancing from others. The walkers must wear masks, but the joggers are exempt. It is time for the Health Department to review this rule.
Merryn Lowe, Moonee Ponds
Osaka’s right to say no
Why should Naomi Osaka turn up at a press conference to be asked inane, repetitive questions when she wins, but be put through the wringer when she loses? Many press conferences, in all sports, are not worth watching because of the skill of the players in avoiding saying anything of interest or value. Unlike what is really interesting, watching them play.
David Adamson, Essendon
In support of Naomi
As a person who has had a mental illness for the past 15 years, I have considerable empathy for Naomi Osaka for not fronting the media because of issues with her mental health. By quitting the French Open, she runs the risk of possibly incurring more fines and, worst still, of being banned from future Grand Slam events. Maybe even all events around the world. You can only imagine how much this would cost her. Millions?
What I do not get is why she did not say something to the organisers before the tournament started. Maybe she could have come to some arrangement. I think both sides could have handled it better. I love watching her play and I hope she can work something out.
Brian Noble, Ferntree Gully
Successful Anzac marches
Felicity Browne (Letters, 2/6) says there was no Anzac Day march this year. It took place, all participants had to do was register for contact tracing purposes. The march was broadcast live on ABC TV and available to view later on iview. There was no restriction on spectators and several thousand gathered in St Kilda Road and the Shrine forecourt. There were also dozens of marches and commemoration services in suburban and regional centres.
Charlotte Fanner, Toorak
Surely he’s not serious
The Pope is now insisting that bishops take action against clerics who abuse minors and vulnerable adults, commit fraud, or attempt to ordain women. He was doing well until that last bit. The idea that, in the eyes of the Catholic Church, the ordination of women is on a par with sex crimes, indicates that its irrelevance to the real world continues unabated.
Geoff Schmidt, Richmond
The purity of crosswords
Three days of the quick crossword without obscure and dull clues, only solvable by using Professor Google – and back to the essence and heart of crosswords, words wisdom and wit. Thank you, Age cruciverbalists, and please keep it up.
Paul Burchill, Carlton North
Please, who really cares?
As a longtime Collingwood member, I’m not interested in the rich boys’ club spat over the presidency (Sport, 3/6).|
Tony Delaney, Warrnambool
AND ANOTHER THING
Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding
Stable. Door. Horse. Bolted. Not in the Hunt.
Peter Cook, Essendon
Amazingly, all of a sudden it appears it is a race.
Arthur Pritchard, Ascot Vale
Heaven help us if Colbeck was put in his position on merit.
Helga Kernke, Northcote
Richard Colbeck, you are the weakest link. Goodbye.
Anne Rutland, Brunswick West
What have Colbeck and his department been doing for the last year? Clearly not what the public pays them for.
Claire Cooper, Maldon
First it was glasses, then hearing aids. Now it’s a mask as well. My ears can’t carry any more.
David Symington, Mount Waverley
Do we need to resurrect the Belt and Road agreement? China could have quarantine facilities up and running here in a few weeks.
David Rose, Montrose
Mr Frydenberg, I am Australian, we are Australian, who happen to live in Melbourne, Victoria. Lest you forget.
Cheryl William, Balwyn North
PM, cancel your superseded, billion-dollar subs and use the money to help COVID-hit workers, businesses and essential services.
Doug Perry, Mount Martha
Mathias Cormann has not changed. Just his script writer.
Greg Walsh, Black Rock
An old saying: “If I see nose, might as well wear mask around ankle”.
Geoff Goonan, Glen Iris
“President calls for ‘loveable’ image of China” (3/6). Shouldn’t that have been in the Odd Spot?
Annette Bando, St Kilda East
George Christensen, I thought it was the Coalition that had a systemic bias against the ABC.
Peter Kealey, Belmont
Who to respect? Michael Kroger or Ita Buttrose? Ummm.
Graham Fetherstonhaugh, Carlton North
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