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There is no longer any logic in the actions of many governments around the world. Why? Because there are stakeholders who have invested so much in the pandemic that they won’t let it end easily

Łukasz Warzecha

After a long court battle, Australia managed to throw out Novak Djokovic. The Federal Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migration Services, and Multicultural Affairs, Alex Hawke, canceled the visa of the Serbian tennis player, taking advantage of the prerogatives given to him by the Immigration Code from 1958. He did not even hide the fact that Djokovic posed no health risk. On the other hand, it was dangerous to the sanitary ideology that Australia ordained as the state religion. As one lawyer representing the Australian government put it before the court, under the influence of Djokovic, people might think that they should have a choice. Sanitary terrorists – also in Poland – celebrated the defeat of the Serb as a victory in the war.

It is worth recalling that Australia, which enforces an extremely restrictive COVID policy, where 78% of citizens are fully vaccinated, not only encounters record increases in infections (over 4.1 thousand per 1 million inhabitants), but also deaths (43 per 1 million – the highest level since the beginning of the pandemic).

France is following in Austria’s footsteps. The French Parliament has just approved the legislation on the vaccine pass, which will be the sole document enabling the enjoyment of full rights for all French people over the age of 16. The result of the test will no longer be as powerful, although from a logical point of view it gives a guarantee greater than the vaccination certificate. Two (or one in the case of J&J) doses of the vaccine are also not enough. In order to keep the pass valid, it will be necessary to have an additional vaccination after four months. The system looks permanent.

The United Kingdom is on the other extreme (about 70% are fully vaccinated). Back in December, conservative members of the House of Commons began to rebel against Boris Johnson’s restrictive policies, also because of concerns about the state of the economy. Former prime minister Theresa May stated that “more variants will continue to emerge, and we cannot respond to this by continuing to close and open up new sectors of our economy, resulting in business closings and job losses”. British Conservative MPs were concerned that Britain would become a “COVID nation” – with a lack of freedom, high inflation, and restrictions that yield enormous costs. Boris Johnson announced that from January 27th, the obligation to work from home will be abolished, COVID passes will not be needed to enter the cinema or restaurant, and that masks in public places will no longer be required. The UK also has a record outbreak of COVID cases (over 1,440 per 1 million), but those numbers have recently been falling. However, there are still many deaths – 262 per 1 million, although it is clearly less than at the turn of 2020 and 2021.

In Israel, doctors working for the government are beginning to express their doubts, stating that COVID certificates are pointless, since the vaccinated can also infect others. In addition, the vaccine does not inhibit the spread of the Omikron variant in any way. The government is considering their abolishment.

Poland, on this scale, unfortunately seems to be heading towards irrational restrictions. The dismissal of the Medical Council, which had virtually no use and whose members only fueled fear, sparked widespread media frenzy. Despite dreadful opinions, including legal analyses, the bill endorsed by Czesław Hoc is to be voted on at the next session of the Polish Parliament. This is happening at a time when the currently adopted regulations will in no way help to limit the pandemic, if only because of the stage at which it occurs, but will increase social tensions and limit civil rights. The vast majority of voices, from experts (though not Polish COVID celebrities) to figures such as Bill Gates, predict that this is the last wave of the pandemic in this form. It is already known that the Omikron variant is much less virulent than the previous variants. It is therefore difficult to rationally explain the government’s pressure to push through the bill, which is also opposed by a large part of its electorate.

What are the restrictions for?

Today we can say two things with certainty. First, the slogan about vaccines being the path to normality was a lie. In some of the countries with the highest levels of immunization, not only are there no signs of normality, but tough restrictions and lockdowns are returning. In others, the restrictions are abandoned. There is no correlation here.

Secondly, there is no longer any semblance of logic in the actions of many governments around the world. Given the knowledge that the vaccinated also transmit the virus (although – as some studies may suggest – for a slightly shorter time), and the vaccine can only protect against more severe disease, restrictions on the unvaccinated in other countries do not make any sense. This is what is being currently talked about in Israel. It looks as if the supporters of these types of solutions have embraced the magical belief that if the vaccines have not ended the pandemic, the culprits must be found immediately, and they are the unvaccinated. They must be ostracized, marginalized with restrictions, and labelled as mutineers, anarchists, and agitators. In essence they must be cursed.

Why is this happening? Because there are stakeholders who have invested so much in the pandemic that they won’t let it end easily. Of course, this is not only about financial investments, which were primarily made by pharmaceutical companies, but also about political and PR investments.

Politicians have invested a lot in the restrictive method of fighting the pandemic. Departing from this line would mean admitting a mistake, and this in turn would allow us to start asking questions about the sense of the actions taken earlier. This includes the case of Emmanuel Macron. In addition, being in an pandemic regime makes it much easier to maintain social control due to extraordinary legal and technological solutions, including the COVID passport. The instrument, which was meant to be a temporary solution, looks more and more permanent. There is also the fear factor: if a sufficiently large proportion of citizens live in constant fear for their lives, it is not difficult to convince them that only those in power will keep them safe.

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This article was published in February 2022 in „Do Rzeczy” magazine.