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The cost of Australia’s shadow lockdown
Every day tens of thousands of people are being forced into isolation. Supply chains are falling apart, consumers are staying home either because they’re sick or simply because they don’t want to risk contracting the virus. Today Mike Seccombe, on how this so-called shadow lockdown is much worse than any government mandated shutdown of the past two years.
Our hot Omicron summer
As Australia enters year three of the Covid-19 pandemic, case numbers are higher than ever, hospitals are being pushed to their limit and rapid tests are extremely difficult to find. Today, Rick Morton on how Covid-19 caught up with Australia this summer, and what the federal government could have done to better prepare for this moment.
Death threats and nooses: How a pandemic bill sparked far-right protests
Protesters have camped outside the Victorian Parliament for a week, protesting a new bill that would extend the state’s public health orders. While some of them are far-right extremists, who have threatened violence against politicians, the bill has also been criticised by human rights lawyers. Today, Julia Kretzenbacher on why the bill sparked such an intense backlash.
‘I just want to look at you’: The sisters reunited after lockdown
This week, after more than 100 days in lockdown, NSW residents were officially allowed back into restaurants, bars, shops and gyms. But for many, the end of lockdown wasn’t about being able to drink beer in a pub again but the chance to see family after months of isolation. Today, Kara Jensen-Mackinnon speaks to two sisters finally reunited after lockdown about what opening up means to them.
The people most at risk when lockdown ends
Australia’s two largest states are getting ready to end their long lockdowns and reopen when 80 percent of eligible residents are fully vaccinated. But what does reopening with that target mean for the 20 percent who are yet to receive their vaccines? Today, Rick Morton on how some of our most at risk communities fell through the cracks.
Australia’s next top Covid model
NSW and Victoria, now have clear roadmaps out of the pandemic. Those pathways are heavily influenced by modelling conducted by the Doherty Institute. But there are other influential bodies projecting their own numbers that contradict the national plan. Today, Rick Morton on the models deciding our future and who we should trust.
Can Australia actually reach its vaccination goal?
Australia is steadily marching towards the magic number of 80 percent of the eligible population being fully vaccinated. But given how few countries have reached that target so far, even with a significant head start, how likely are we to actually get vaccination coverage that high? Today, Hannah Ryan on whether Australia can reach 80 percent, and what might happen even if we get there.
What happens after we're vaccinated?
From this week residents in NSW, who have been locked down for nearly three months, will finally be able to leave their homes. But the new freedoms are contingent on one important factor: their vaccination status. Today, Hannah Ryan on the plan to provide freedoms only to fully vaccinated, and what that means for the next phase of the pandemic.
How bad is Australia’s mental health crisis?
Despite government promises to fix Australia’s mental health system, experts have identified that young people in particular are still struggling to access urgent care and support. Today, Santilla Chingaipe on why this could be our one chance to fix the ailing mental health care system.
How to cure homesickness
Lockdowns and border closures have led to a specific kind of grief and yearning - homesickness. While homesickness isn’t an official medical condition it was once, with soldiers fighting on foreign soil regularly diagnosed after suffering debilitating symptoms. Today, Dr Melanie Cheng on the origins of homesickness and whether there’s a cure.
The charity feeding Sydney during lockdown
Ongoing lockdowns have put many Australians under extreme financial pressure. Without adequate government support the responsibility is falling on community organisations to help thousands of people receive the basics, like food.
Today, Rosanna Barbero, on the massive food relief operation underway right now in Sydney and how it exposes a broken system.
Curfews, police, more fines: Is there another way to fight lockdown fatigue?
Eighteen months into the pandemic many Australians are feeling exhausted, and compliance with public health measures is dropping off, leading governments to ramp up policing efforts. Today, infectious disease and pandemic response expert Dr Alexandra Phelan on how governments can maintain public trust and what the end game looks like.
The anti-lockdown movement reaches Parliament
Australia’s anti-lockdown movement reached federal parliament this week, when a rogue Coalition MP took to the floor to blast public health measures used to limit the spread of Covid. The comments highlight growing divisions in the government over Australia’s approach to the pandemic. Today, Paul Bongiorno on the challenges Scott Morrison is facing from his own party.
Who are Australia’s anti-lockdown protestors?
Last weekend thousands of people marched across Australia to protest against lockdowns. The sheer size of the protests suggests that the anti-lockdown movement might be crossing over into the political mainstream. Today, Ariel Bogle on the different groups behind these marches, why they’re growing, and the Australian politicians trying to capitalise on lockdown discontent.
Why it keeps happening to Victoria
Victoria’s lockdown has been extended for another week, as health authorities race to contain Covid-19. Today, Dr Melanie Cheng on what went wrong this time and what it will take to control this outbreak.
Who's to blame for Victoria's lockdown?
Victoria has been plunged back into lockdown, the state’s fourth since the start of the pandemic. But this time there’s one big difference: vaccines that were supposed to help keep us safe and avoid outbreaks like this are now available, but in Australia take up has been slow. Today, Paul Bongiorno on how Victoria entered lockdown and who shoulders the blame.
Short back and emotional asides
After enduring one of the world’s longest lockdowns, Melbourne is slowly reopening and hairdressers are some of the first businesses allowed to welcome customers back. Today, Rick Morton on the return of hairdressers, and the intimate role they play in our lives.
The new path out of lockdown
After more than 100 days of strict lockdown, Victorians finally have a new path out of restrictions. It signals a more gradual easing than the government originally hoped. Today, Osman Faruqi on the story behind the slower path out of lockdown and where the risk now lies.
Helen Garner’s lockdown diaries
Helen Garner is one of Australia’s most celebrated authors, and today on 7am she talks to host Ruby Jones about the diary she kept during lockdown in Melbourne and what she experienced during her months of isolation.
Anatomy of a state of disaster
Ten days ago, Melbourne entered the strictest shutdown the country has seen so far. Today, senior reporter for The Saturday Paper Rick Morton on the extraordinary powers a state of disaster bestows on the government, and how we got here.