Analysis and Commentary

Can manufacturing escape new Covid strains?

Analysis and Commentary

By Peter Roberts

Sitting in my hotel room in Melbourne I am beginning to feel anxious at being away from home with the onset of a Sydney lockdown that bodes ill for this latest round of Covid-19.

With just over three per cent of our population vaccinated fully, and government and citizens in Sydney clearly not taking a lockdown to mean a lockdown as every other state knows the concept, we are open to the rapid spread of the Delta variant of the virus.

While personally I am wondering when or how I will be able to return home, with my @AuManufacturing hat I am beginning to wonder how manufacturing itself is going to escape the variant as we did earlier waves of infection.

Then with masks, social distancing, separation of groups of workers from each other, the establishment of secondary production sources and control rooms, and a lot of luck, most manufacturing managed somehow.

Compare that to countries from Malaysia to the US where manufacturing was fully closed for weeks if not months at a time.

But with this new variant is 60 per cent more transmissable, social distancing and masks are not going to be enough.

Someone only has to be in the same space as an infected individual the day previously to fall victim to the now airborne infection.

And not enough of us have been vaccinated because even with 18 months warning, Canberra has simply not bought enough and enough types of vaccines.

Manufacturers need to immediately plan for Covid disruption.

I am no expert on what that means for individual companies.

It might be that the ultra-strict requirements previously for dangerous occupations such as in abattoirs might have to apply more widely.

According to the Victorian government these were: “At a minimum, a surgical face mask, a face shield and gown or other protective clothing must be worn unless it is not reasonably practicable or unsafe to do so; protective clothing should be changed at the end of each shift and washed appropriately.”

Worksafe Victoria has this to say about earlier, less transmissable strains of Covid:

The prestigious journal Nature has this to say about the Delta strain:

But friends, this is serious, plan and act and do it now.

Picture: Tourism Australia

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