News

Exclusive: Inside the hunt for a vaccine

“If everything goes right, it will mean mass production of a Covid-19 vaccine will already be under way by the time the drug is approved for release.”

While one Queensland laboratory readies a Covid-19 vaccine for human trials, Howard-era public servant Jane Halton is co-ordinating the global response.

News

News

Covid-19: Next few days will decide outcome

“There’s no doubt that now I think it is a sort of now-or-never scenario. Those stories we are seeing from northern Italy and some parts of the United States are certainly that.”

As the government suspends parliament until August to deal with the outbreak, key advisers say the next week is critical in controlling the spread.

News

Australian airlines in turmoil

As the aviation industry faces financial ruin, Qantas boss Alan Joyce lashes out at a possible government bailout of Virgin Australia, a move that only accentuates the turbulence ahead.

News

Regional and rural doctors left behind in Covid-19 fight

With insufficient supplies of protective equipment and few ICU beds, doctors in regional New South Wales warn the Covid-19 pandemic will push the healthcare system to the brink.

News

Fighting the infodemic

As well as trying to contain the catastrophic outbreak of Covid-19, health authorities, governments and social media platforms must also try to combat the rampant spread of misinformation about the virus.

World

Christchurch killer pleads guilty in NZ

US and China fight over coronavirus. Guilty plea over Christchurch mosque killings. Detention and torture of Egyptian children exposed. Women at the forefront of Indian protests.

Opinion

Opinion

Peter Doherty
The pandemic we had to have

“What is clearly different with this outbreak is that SARS-CoV-2 is completely new to us. Unlike with flu viruses, to which we all have some prior immunity, the world is experiencing a ‘virgin soil’ pandemic, where everyone is both susceptible and a potential transmitter. This doesn’t mean it’s unstoppable, though.”

Opinion

Paul Bongiorno
Government’s crashing failure in face of crisis

“If anything crystallises the brutal impact of the coronavirus crisis in Australia, it is the thousands queued outside Centrelink offices around the country this week. The lines began forming the day after the prime minister announced that vast sectors of the economy were to be shut down, with income support for those affected. Here was the intersection of life or death measures, crashing the livelihoods of millions and again exposing a government response that was poorly thought through and executed.”

Diary

Gadfly
Trump’s life or debt decision

One savvy business sage who this week was in Gadfly’s ear thinks the fast-failing enterprises in the United States might see Bone Spurs Trump become the first president in office to go bankrupt. The value of his gilded city towers and hotels is crashing with each passing moment and given they are leveraged to buggery with either Deutsche Bank or the Russian mafia, the whole rickety edifice will soon be underwater.

Letters, Cartoon & Editorial

Cartoon

Read

Editorial
The sheer scale of it

Perhaps the government simply cannot visualise it. It is possible they are unable to fathom what is happening, to appreciate its size. Morrison’s response to this crisis is piecemeal and shambolic. His press conference on Tuesday night was the sort of policy improvisation that could have started with the words “Yes, and…” The prime minister is balancing the health of the public against the health of the economy, and doing neither very well.

Letters

Echoes of Vietnam War

Your article on alleged murders by Special Air Service personnel contained a couple of depressingly familiar points (Karen Middleton, “Defence braces for SAS murder charges”, March 21-27). One, Australian …

Chance to reset society

The immediate challenges of handling the coronavirus crisis are daunting (Mike Seccombe, “What Morrison did wrong on coronavirus”, March 21-27). However, it is highlighting key long-term problems …

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Culture

Profile

MICF director Susan Provan on shutting down the show

Susan Provan has been director of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for 27 years, taking it from strength to strength. So, the decision to cancel this year’s event – for the first time in its history – was no laughing matter. “We were in a position where we had to move quickly. We were literally building venues. We needed to minimise the fallout.”

Television

The Plot Against America

HBO’s The Plot Against America, based on the Philip Roth novel, brings together Winona Ryder and John Turturro in a reimagining of America’s World War II history. Now the slickly produced series is more pertinent to current times than the creators could ever have imagined.

Life

Food

Blackberry pie

Gardening

Autumn in the garden

In a season of drastic upheaval, the author reflects on the connections and comfort of her garden and looks towards the coming spring.

Sport

Lisa De Vanna tackles soccer lockdown

For star Matildas veteran Lisa De Vanna and other Australian players, the worldwide shutdown of soccer is having devastating consequences – both financially and psychologically.

Books

John Kinsella
Displaced

Sebastian Barry
A Thousand Moons

Ellena Savage
Blueberries

Puzzles

The Quiz

1. Friedrich Nietzsche stated that “Without [what], life would be a mistake.”
2. Who is the patron saint of Wales?
3. The Italian word fagiolo translates to what in English?
4. Which actress links the films Marie Antoinette, Husbands and Wives and The Dressmaker?
5. According to the Bible, Jesus died on what day of the week?
6. The dish rösti is made mainly from what vegetable? (Bonus point for naming the country in which it originated.)
7. Former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg dropped out of the United States presidential race after winning only which caucus?
8. Ruby is the birthstone for people born in which month?
9. Earwax is also known by the medical term: (a) albumen; (b) sputum; or (c) cerumen?
10. Philip Pirrip is the protagonist of which Charles Dickens novel?

Quotes

HUMILITY

“We are much better prepared than we would have been because of the work I did back then in my day as Health minister.”

Tony AbbottThe former prime minister takes credit for Australia’s Covid-19 preparedness. Experts predict the country will run out of ICU beds within the fortnight.

TECHNOLOGY

“MyGov has not been offline, it’s simply suffered from a distributed denial of service attack this morning.”

Stuart RobertThe Government Services minister suggests hackers crashed the Centrelink website. It was actually just hundreds of thousands of baristas, pilots, retail workers, chefs and travel agents who lost their livelihoods overnight.

HINDSIGHT

“I’d have said, ‘Yeah, maybe we should hold them on the ship.’ ”

Brad HazzardThe New South Wales Health minister expresses regret that cruise ship passengers were allowed to disembark in Sydney without being tested for Covid-19. But who could have imagined 2700 people crammed into a boat would be at risk of spreading a highly infectious virus?

REVOLUTION

“We will learn to kiss and hold each other through the waves of the web. We will feed each other, redistribute wealth, strike. We will understand our own importance from the places we must stay.”

Britney SpearsThe pop star, who once implored her fans to “Work Bitch”, appears to call for the end of capitalism on her Instagram. Seize the means of production, comrade.

OPTIMISM

“You know, this is an opportunity.”

Gerry HarveyThe billionaire furniture salesman finds a silver lining in the coronavirus pandemic. He was later mortified the public now sees him as “a heartless, greedy old bastard”, which apparently wasn’t the point of the interview.

HEAVY-HANDEDNESS

“Coronavirus will continue to be one of the biggest challenges facing balustrade related industries (ABA) in modern times.”

Australian Balustrade AssociationThe peak body says it will be profoundly impacted by Covid-19. If no other plea for social distancing has moved you, please think of them.