DIGEST

Informer: Lockdown - the club you don't want to join

A customer rides an escalator outside a deserted Canberra shopping centre. Inset, top to bottom: Picnics have just started again; Canberra is set to achieve one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, and cafe owner Paolo Celestino. Main picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
A customer rides an escalator outside a deserted Canberra shopping centre. Inset, top to bottom: Picnics have just started again; Canberra is set to achieve one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, and cafe owner Paolo Celestino. Main picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Coping with COVID-19 lockdowns is almost second nature to those of us living in NSW, QLD and VIC.

It's sad, but it's true.

We've been in and out of strict lockdowns since the virus reached Australia in 2020 - in fact Melbourne is officially the most locked down city in the world.

The ACT is the newest to the club with their first proper lockdown just about to end.

University of Canberra clinical psychologist Dr Vivienne Lewis said restrictions would have a profound impact on people.

"The cost of lockdown is quite heavy on people's mental health, even in Canberra where we haven't had a long lockdown compared with Melbourne and Sydney," she said.

Anyone who has experienced the stress, longing, anxiety, sadness, boredom or fear of lockdowns, will know that she's right on the money.

Up in the Northern Territory it's a bit of a time warp.

The state has experienced COVID-19 outbreaks but none that match the intensity of the southern states.

As the state prepares to open its borders, there appears to be the same level of fear and uncertainty those in NSW and VIC experienced during the first wave of the virus back in 2020.

NT's Chief Health Officer Dr Hugh Heggie has made quite a foreboding prediction.

"If we don't have controls in place - as in restriction of movement and people aren't vaccinated - then we will lose lives... we will need to use things like shipping containers and meatworks as mass mortuaries," he told a recent press conference.

This is especially stark considering the "worryingly low" rates of vaccine take-up in remote Indigenous communities.

There are plenty of valid concerns about the virus spreading into regional communities, not just in the NT, but across Australia.

Tasmania has experienced similar levels of concern over the past few weeks.

The state has been lucky enough to remain largely COVID free over the past couple of years, but that could change once borders reopen.

That uncertainty has been exacerbated by a COVID positive NSW man who escaped hotel quarantine in Tassie earlier this week.

It's believed he was in contact with 50 people and authorities have no idea how he managed to get out.

Speaking of NSW, the state's COVID cases have continued to drop, but the impacts of the state's reopening is yet to be seen.

NSW Parliament also tabled a Bill today that could legalise voluntary assisted dying for people who are terminally ill.

Further south, Victoria's COVID-19 outbreak continues to grow with more than 2000 new cases recorded overnight.

VIC is speeding toward its very own 'Freedom Day' on October 26 despite the huge surge in cases.

The state's vaccination rate is set to reach the 70 per cent goal before the big day.

The concern from (mostly) COVID-free states is understandable, but the country's reopening is edging ever closer and it doesn't look like slowing down.

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