By Deepti Sikka
MELBOURNE, 29 August: Today’s COVID19 Tweeted VicData says 94 new cases were detected in Victoria on 28 August, and 18 lives lost. After many days the increase in cases has gone down to a double-digit number. It’s good news but the pandemic is not yet over.
Earlier, Melbourne’s increasing COVID cases forced the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to announce “Lockdown 2.0”, the second lockdown went from one level of restriction to another, from August 2 Melbourne was placed under six-weeks stage four restrictions, which came with a police enforceable curfew of 8 pm until 5 am.
The return to lockdown in Victoria is having a profound impact on the mental health of the community. It has brought with it emotional stress and unease accompanied by uncertainty in terms of job prospects and the economic impact it’s going to leave on the State.
There are marked differences between the first and the second lockdown and the way people are reacting to it. The first time around it brought about a novel experience, zoom meetings/catchups had become a hit, everyone was constantly in touch with each other, there were tips available on how to best utilize our time, those tips would be shared with our family and friends. All that optimism is fading away giving way to cynicism. The mindfulness that was there in the first lockdown has vanished.
There is one question that is omnipresent across everyone’s mind “when will this get over, there is no end in sight”. Talking to South Asia Times, Gaurav Angi, said,” Lockdown one in Victoria gave people a chance to reconnect with distant friends to refresh old memories. With the Consistent drop in the numbers of cases and easing of the restrictions was bringing in hope for everyone. However, stage 2 has brought hopelessness with no visibility of life to be normal as pre-COVID soon.”
People are clearly overwhelmed with the situation that they are in, parents of newborns have less support, aged care has less emotional and social support, kids are confined to homes, increase job losses leading to an increase in mental stress.
Though the second lockdown has hit people harder compared to the first and has taken a toll on the psychological wellbeing of the community, it has yielded positive results as well, the numbers are going down, the rate of new infections has continued to slow.
The Lockdown has become a necessary evil, with each level of increased restriction on one hand the fatigue in the population is increasing but on the other hand, bringing down the numbers speedily would mean people would be able to go back to their normal routines sooner and would be able to see their lives beyond lockdown.