How to prepare for open WA borders

Prepare for open WA borders

WA borders will open to the rest of Australia and the world in a few weeks. Western Australians argue about whether this should happen now or later. Some of us would prefer to remain ‘in our cave’ or ‘under the doona’, as our detractors say. We’ve been safe for two years. Some of us like it like that!

For others, two years without physical contact with families and friends in other places has been both long and painful. Those who want to travel the world can’t wait to be free.

But whether you want the borders to open or remain closed, preparation of ourselves and our homes could be important.

My concerns about WA borders opening

I’m concerned (if I’m honest, I’m scared) on two fronts, and I have no control over either.

State-wide preparation

These are things I’d like to happen before the WA borders open.

  • More people in Western Australia to get their booster vaccinations. Only 25% of those eligible (as on 18 January 2022) received three shots.
  • Children between five and 11 years of age to have first and second doses. School goes back after the summer break a few days before the WA borders come down.
  • An increase in the number of vaccinated First Nations People, especially those in remote communities in the north of the state.
  • N95 masks (or equivalent, like NF95 and P2) readily available for purchase. The cloth and surgical masks we’ve depended on for two years do not meet standards required to reduce the spread of the highly contagious Omnicron variant.
  • Rapid antigen tests (home and workplace tests) available, and at reasonable prices. Price gouging to stop.
  • Oximeters (finger-tip blood oxygen monitors) available.
  • Supply chains of food, medication and other essential goods, now hampered by Omnicron variant, stabilised Australia-wide.
  • Panic buying to stop. Shops adequately stocked.
  • The grocery duopoly of 60+% between Coles and Woolworths regulated so that supplies could flow easily.

Personal concerns

Too many people I love are vulnerable because of age (too young to be vaccinated or too old to take risks). Some, including my children) have serious underlying conditions. Several of my granddaughters are pregnant. It’s all very well to say, ‘Let it rip,’ but I’m more cautious..

Things I’ve done so far

Personal wishes for closed borders don’t count for anything. However, some things we do will help prepare our homes and ourselves for the expected massive surge in cases.

First precaution, of course – get vaccinated and get a booster shot as soon as possible. We’ve heard this over and over. Let’s all do it!

Banner says, 'get vaccinated and booster shot'

Here is a link to the WA Government site Healthy WA which deals with COVID for more information about all things COVID

My apartment – is it ready for open WA borders?

I’ve prepared for quarantine if required, and also if one of us is infected. If we are both sick, I have no idea how we’ll cope. Might have to wait and see on that one!

  • Access to health and medical advice and care, with numbers on phone.
  • Worked out, as well as I can, how we will manage if one of us is infected. The minimum will be to have a separate space for the ill person to live separately. This will mean juggling bedrooms so the sick ones does not use the kitchen, living room, study.
  • The meals in the freezer will last us for a week or more. I can order from one of the stores which delivers groceries and the apartment manager will deliver to our door. We can have meals delivered. During previous lockdowns, friends and family called regularly with offers (and delivery) of help we needed.
  • We have a stash of hand sanitiser, antiseptic wipes, cleaning products, toilet paper, tissues, dishwashing and laundry supplies to last a few weeks.

Personal preparation for quarantine or illness

More personal preparations for the next few weeks.

  • We have a small supply (about 40) of N95 or P2 masks, labelled disposable, but they can be reused if hung in sun and rotated. Much better than cloth or surgical masks.
  • I’ve acquired two Rapid Antigen Tests in case we develop symptoms and to check later. The local pharmacy will let me know when they get more.
  • A thermometer
  • An oximeter (finger blood oxygen meter), also on order. Not essential, but it might be useful if we have increasing difficulty breathing and need medical assistance or even an ambulance. We’ll be able to quote the blood oxygen level as one of the signs of severe illness. (Perhaps an oximeter could be shared among friends or family members or other groups. I’m assured they can be wiped with sanitizer or antiseptic wipes).
  • Panadol and enough prescription medications to last a few weeks. Scripts are at the pharmacy, which will deliver.
  • We have Betadine for antiseptic gargles and some throat lozenges. There is Hydralyte and lemonade to ensure adequate hydration, and commercial ice blocks ready to freeze.
  • A couple of jigsaw puzzles.
  • New books.
  • A half finished shawl to crotchet.

Here’s a link to an article by Louise Stone in this morning’s Guardian Australia. It deals with mental health when isolated with COVID-19

What’s missing?

When I read through my lists, I thought I might have gone overboard with preparations. But as one of my sons often reminds me,

“Proper preparation prevents piss-poor performance”.

Thanks, Tim!

If you live outside Western Australia, let us know what helps you cope. If you live here, please let me know what preparations you’ve made, and what else we can do. Please comment on this post or on Facebook. The more we share, the better we will all be during the next testing months.

In case you missed it, here’s a link to my post about boosting the immune system and maintaining health in COVID-19 times

Copyright, Maureen Helen 2022

Join the Conversation

8 Comments

  1. I live in the southern U.S. where the entire population has always had a “let it rip” attitude. Very few people wear masks. My daughter was sick for two weeks with the Omicron variant even though she is vaccinated and takes precautions. Her husband is now ill. I am vaccinated and have had the booster, and I developed mild symptoms even though I was not around my daughter or anyone else who had the virus that I know of. This variant is very contagious. Because I am in a rural area, the testing sites were booked solid until March (I still don’t understand that), and there were no testing kits to be had. My doctor told me to assume I had Covid, use zinc lozenges, and stay quarantined, which I did. Now that my quarantine period is over, I still am staying home except to go to get groceries and pick up medications. (There is no delivery where I live.) I wear a mask whenever I do go out, try to keep my distance from other people, use hand sanitizer, and sanitize all of my groceries when I get home. I’ve ordered a box of the N95 masks, and yesterday our government made it possible for every household in the country to order 4 test kits, so I’ve done that as well. I intend to continue staying home, spending my time reading, walking outside as weather permits, watching TV, doing household chores, enjoying my hobbies, etc. I live alone and don’t mind being alone as long as I can communicate with friends and family by telephone or online. I wish everyone would take this virus seriously, but even if they don’t, I must keep myself as healthy as possible.

    1. Hello, Deb. Thank you for your detailed response to my post about preparing for open borders. We’ve had a miraculous escape from COVID in all its variations for the last two years, thanks to good government and closed borders.
      I’m sorry to hear that your daughter and son-in-law have been so ill. We thought that vaccination and booster shots were magic, and it’s a shock to discover that we may still get the virus, however mild, when the borders open.
      There seems to be lag-time everywhere between need for masks and testing kits all over the world. I guess no one and no government can predict what the next strain will be or do or what will be needed next. I’m glad you now have both kits and masks.
      The precautions you take seem very sensible, and you sound as if you cope well. Actually you sound very content and happy, as though your present peaceful life suits you. Stay safe!

  2. The prediction seems to be that because Omicron is mild in comparison to previous variants, then the next one will be even milder; shortly we will accept it in the same way as we do flu.
    That seems to be the forecast here in the U.K.

    I understand why your borders were opened, the government has realised that the virus isn’t going anywhere and that it cannot go on indefinitely closing off parts of the country to the outside world.

    I also understand your fears, most of us older people in the U.K. felt the same way when the virus first came amongst us. We’ve learned to live with it and organise our lives around it, and that includes living with the stupidity of others. Every country has their fair share of idiots.

    I wear a three layer surgical mask because they came high up on the list of safe masks. All medical staff wear them at my doctor’s surgery and also at the hospitals where I’ve gone for tests – the nurses and doctors and radiographers, but the masks need to be a tight close fit.

    One day when I forgot my mask my daughter gave me a surgical one, it was of poor quality and ill fitting compared to the ones I normally wear. But let’s not forget, the idea of mask wearing is primarily to prevent the wearer spreading the virus to others, so a physical distance of two metres should be upheld, one metre is not enough. Most people here wear cloth masks but they’re not rated highly.

    1. Yes, I think the prediction that new variants will be milder until we hardly notice Coronavirus in the community. Actually, our premier decided against opening WA borders indefinitely after I wrote the blog, but some restrictions against people entering the state have been relaxed. There has been a big outcry against his decision, as you can imagine.

      It is good advice and information to learn to live with the disease in the community, and to organise our own lives around the stupidity we see. I’m starting to feel much better about it now. John and I have P95 masks, which are three layers, tightly woven. They are also well fitting and feel comfortable, at least in the short term. Thank goodness for our summer weather because most of us are happy to meet and enjoy the outdoors except when it is too hot.

      1. I’m pleased that some restrictions are staying in place. It’s good that it’s summer too. The virus is worse in winter in the same way that flu is.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: