Cyprus Mail
Letters Opinion

The government wants safepass and I have questions

What a surprise that unvaccinated tourists will be allowed to roam freely and not be hampered at all by the same restrictions as residents in having to be tested during their stay in order to eat out etc.

The government has not definitively said this except in a roundabout way, but it has been implied, and in any case, even if they say tourists must follow the same rules, everyone knows they will in reality turn a blind eye. If you try to police tourists, you’ll end up getting a bad rap in the Daily Mail. Bye bye more tourists.

It’s understandable that the government want to kick-start the economy, and people badly need their jobs back but why the lack of transparency, unless they know it’s discriminatory? If tourists can walk around willy nilly why can’t the rest of us?

The population is being told over and over that this disease is the worst thing since the Spanish Flu and therefore all of the restrictive measures are necessary to save lives until enough people are vaccinated.

If that is the case, how can they allow unvaccinated tourists to walk around freely, risking the spread of the virus and having more people die, based on their own logic that is.

If Covid is so dangerous, why are they risking it?  Is it that dangerous or not?

If it is that dangerous, why would the state take the chance of a new surge? Wouldn’t that be totally irresponsible and reckless, not to mention criminal?

If somehow for reasons that cannot be fathomed, they somehow don’t perceive Covid as dangerous enough to stop unvaccinated tourists roaming freely, why is everyone else being told that it is that dangerous and are being asked to prove their health status in the interests of saving lives?

It can’t be both.

And who will they blame if there is a surge, the great unwashed, the unvaxxed locals of course. In reality though this is not a vaxxed versus unvaxxed issue. Everyone else in Cyprus except for tourists, if they are approached by police or Covid cops in areas where the safepass is required, will have to prove they are not infected, irrespective of having the jab or not.

The safepass is meaningless unless universally applied. Or could it be merely a tool to push more people into vaccinating with the promise of a return to normality? Safepass is not a return to normality. It’s the very antithesis of normality, and is an advancement of government control over its citizens, but it will work they way they want it to as regular testing will become an annoyance, which no doubt is the plan.

Thinking for a moment like an authoritarian and at the risk of giving nefarious ideas to the government as if they could not come up with their own, after that it would not be a stretch to predict that when a certain vaccination threshold is reached, the unvaxxed will be told to pay for their own rapid tests if they continue to refuse the jab. That would seem only fair, no quibble there. It should not be put on the taxpayer. This will push more people to the vaccination centres, and it is the next logical move on the chess board.

After that, tests might even become more expensive, hard to find, or take forever to process, more annoyance if you need to attend that wedding, or even your own wedding. Just speculating here as even more people try to get through to the vaccine portal, which will be working just fine but they’ll be out of Pfizer jabs at this point and the laggers will have to take the AZ. But who knows, they might have ironed out the kinks by then and AZ will be having the last laugh because it’s 2023 and clinical trials on all the jabs will be finally finished and they might come out on top in the end. It ‘s a topsy turvy world after all.

A little further on, say there are a few holdouts still willing to pay for a test rather than have the shot, what if they were told the tests were no longer acceptable because medical studies have determined that they’ve never actually been reliable at all, too many false negatives perhaps, because false positives are useful for imposing lockdowns but really bad for tourism.

Just ask the CDC how its done. Their latest instructions are to test vaccinated people only up to a cycle threshold of 28 rather than the 35-40 for everyone else, which is what they’ve been doing for 15 months. It’s a great new way to cut your positives when you need to.

Failing all that, those pesky unvaxxed could be told there are so many variants it’s impossible to test them any more because you might come up negative for one variant but you could be positive for another and thus still have Covid and no one would know so it’s not worth the risk. With the ever-changing face of Covid you never can tell. Besides, by then almost everyone is vaccinated and the jabs miraculously work on all of the variants even though people’s arms have more holes than a sieve.

The ‘temporary’ safepass will also by then be impossible to avoid because it will be linked to people’s digital currency bank accounts, Gesy health files, tax returns, e-government and municipal services, plus it will likely be combined with the international Covid-23 travel pass because you know it makes sense. One app to rule them all.

If there is any shred of democracy left at that stage, we might be lucky enough to still avoid a China-like social credits system aka Black Mirror Season 3 Episode 1. Sounds far-fetched? Of course it does if you’ve not been paying attention. Clearly the producers of the show were. Either that or they are prophets.

Only a solitary year ago no one would have seriously believed that people – apart from tourists of course – would need a domestic passport to go for a coffee, so let’s not rule out that at some point our consumerist behaviours will also come under digital scrutiny but this time it will be the climate emergency as the Covid emergency will be a distant memory but safepass won’t be. It will be your new best friend and you will literally be unable to leave home without it.

So what’s the problem? There’s a new normal and everyone “is happy even though they own nothing” in the words of the World Economic Forum.

As hard as it is for the ‘nothing to hide,  nothing to fear’ crowd to understand, there are people who believe that as long as they are law abiding, there are certain things the government has no right to know. Why? Because it’s none of their business. That’s it. No other reason at all. Just because.

To those who were born in captivity there’s a word for it. It used to be called privacy.

SK, Nicosia

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