The Informer: When keeping calm and carrying on is harder than ever

It has been tough, tough going in the UK right now. Photo: file
It has been tough, tough going in the UK right now. Photo: file

If you think it's been hard keeping up with "the COVID rules" in Australia, spare a thought for ol' Blighty.

The government has changed lockdown rules in England at least 64 times since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, a human rights barrister has calculated.

England is now in the midst of its third national lockdown.

Lockdown No.1 started on March 23 last year and restrictions lasted into July. Having "enjoyed" what qualifies as part of summer, the second lockdown was a shorter, sharper affair from November 5 to December 2; while the latest lockdown began on January 4 and is likely to continue until mid-February.

It has been tough, tough going. And with the long, dark months of January and February spread out on the calendar in front of them, mentally, it won't get easier for some time yet.

The UK government says nearly 82,000 people have died within 28 days of receiving a positive COVID-19 test in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland since the beginning of the pandemic.

Today King's College London researchers have shared eye-popping facts after a study of more than 700 workers at nine intensive care units in England.

Asked how they were coping as the first wave eased, nearly half reported symptoms of severe anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or problem drinking. One in seven had thoughts of self-harming or being "better off dead".

You can read the study here - it may alter your perspective of health workers.

And just as the UK is working out how best to protect those frontline workers, there was a shocking incident in regional Australia over the weekend.

Five staff were hurt in a violent incident at Port Macquarie Base Hospital at 4am Saturday.

The injuries, allegedly inflicted by a single mental health patient, are appalling. Workers had flesh ripped off, bite wounds, concussion, broken ribs, torn cartilage and a possible broken arm.

Meanwhile on the domestic COVID-front, expect the "border dances" to last another six months at least, one epidemiologist has said.

"It will take until the middle of the year before we have enough people vaccinated that we are starting to get some partial herd immunity that quietens things down," Professor Blakely told Nine newspapers.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wants a national quarantine review after a mini outbreak in her state; South Australia is to lift virus measures for regional NSW; and Western Australia's health minister has defended the state's COVID-19 rules after a Queensland woman was denied the chance to see her dying mother in Perth.

Perhaps the final say should go to Australia's chief medical officer. Professor Paul Kelly rejected calls to pause the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine, insisting it is completely effective in preventing serious illness and death from coronavirus.

So, keep calm and carry on.

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