Australia in times of COVID-19: a collection of testimonies

Jia (Melbourne, Australia)

Melbourne is currently in stage 3 lockdown where you’re only allowed to leave the house for groceries, exercise, or for work/study that cannot be done from home. Indoor/outdoor gatherings of more than two people are banned. Police are able to fine you $1600 if you break these new regulations.

I still leave the house for work––i.e. I stream yoga classes from the studio that I work at, with only one other teacher coming in to help me demonstrate the class. Other than that, I only leave the house for a run and to get groceries. I struggle with not having anything to do for most of the day. I think I am someone who needs routine, and if I don’t have it, I fall back into a really negative headspace and harmful coping mechanisms. But that said, I feel like I’m getting to self-reflect and learn a lot more about myself, which is always a good thing.

Daniel (Melbourne)

The COVID-19 pandemic has ruined my uni year. Doing a master’s is tougher online than an undergrad. I have lost my job and am stuck in limbo, as I still live at home so get no government benefits. I take the movement restrictions seriously, so I have been staying home since early March, as I have my family to look out for.

The situation in Australia is weird. People aren’t dying, so people only feel their lives are being impacted and losing money. We’re in a twilight zone of being in lockdown, but not officially being in lockdown.

It’s tough. I am claustrophobic, so being stuck at home makes me feel trapped and gives me anxiety. I worry for my family in Chile which adds more stress. The internet connection there is bad, and the time difference means we don’t hear from them all the time. My mind wanders and I feel bored and that I’m just wasting time without being able to see the finish line. Although I claim to be an introvert, I now realise I’m definitely an extrovert, which was something new I’ve learnt.

Celine (Tasmania)

COVID-19 has definitely impacted my life. I don’t meet the requirements of self isolation, but still have to stay inside. Now, Hobart is in lockdown, so we cannot actually go out except for essential activities like grocery shopping. But I agree with and support the government’s decisions, even though it’s hard on our mental health. I’m fine with dealing with social distancing and isolation. It’s just hard when you can’t catch up with your friends or go out to do things. It’s lonely.

Josh (West Australia)

So far, the pandemic hasn’t impacted my life too much. Luckily, I still have a job and go to work, which is good. I know a lot of people lost their jobs and are struggling. The town I live in, Ongerup, has a population of just less than a hundred people, I think. Every day I get up, go to work, come home, play in the garden with my dog and lamb, and watch too much Netflix.

From what I hear on the news, I would say that the situation could be worse. I think Australia is doing a good job. After speaking to my nana, I think my home country of England is not coping so well with the situation. A lot of people are not taking it seriously and still going out and interacting with each other.

I’ve been training my whole life for this situation with social distancing — I’m only joking. On a more serious note, thanks to the circumstances I’m in, I don’t really mind. It’s not affecting me too much. But speaking to my nana back home and friends made me sad. My nana and dad can’t be in the same room — they have to be in separate rooms in case my nana does poorly. My friend has a little boy and his mum can’t see him, so she was at the window looking through crying. I understand this has to be done, but I think self-isolation is really not good for people’s mental health.

Corey (Melbourne)

My life has been impacted quite a bit. The impacts are: my casual job was one of the first to stop, as I set up events for large groups of people; my final placement for my Masters degree has been cancelled due to school closure; and my trip to Europe at the end of the year is in jeopardy. My days now consist of online class, cooking with my partner, and training in my home gym.

In Australia, the government was slow to act. However, measures to stop the spread are being implemented everyday. There are still a lot of people disobeying advice and rules, which now are fineable offences.

Social distancing has been very difficult, as I am a very social person. Though, I have my girlfriend and housemate, so I’m not in the worst position. The emotional challenges I face are due to financial reasons (due to losing my job and the potential for not finishing my Masters degree on time).

Also, I’d like to add how proud I am of my partner, who is a nurse and is on the frontline everyday.

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