COVID-19 pandemic, border closures fan worry of the opposite

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The pandemic has bolstered a rising enthusiasm for closing borders in opposition to exterior threats — and enterprise is unwilling to supply any incentive to cease it.

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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (AAP/Glenn Hunt)

On the psychological core of society’s response to a pandemic is the Different. A number of Others. The contaminated are Others till they get well, needing isolation and exclusion. Those that recklessly and even deliberately improve the chance of an infection are Others, in breach of societal norms and deserving of denunciation.

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The racist demonisation of individuals of color in relation to the illness makes use of conventional Different stereotypes of non-white folks as unclean. And finally, in an epidemiological twist on Sartre’s l’enfer, c’est les autres, all folks apart from your individual family turn into Others, to be saved socially distanced, potential sources of plague and loss of life.

That voters in states like Western Australia and Queensland are completely satisfied to both maintain their borders sealed in opposition to interstate journey, or exclude giant swathes of the exterior inhabitants, is vexing to the federal authorities and enterprise who need borders reopened.

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