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The world’s most locked down city is free but is re-entry anxiety hitting Melbourne? | ticker VIEWS

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Melbourne was once the world’s most liveable city. It appears that Covid-19 agrees, as the city recently ended its sixth lockdown

Victorians have been isolated for 262 days. It’s a grim statistic. In fact, it makes Melbourne the world’s most locked down city.

Unsurprisingly, Victoria is also the state with Australia’s highest number of Covid-19 infections (over 73,100), and deaths (1,005).

During lockdown, people began smiling through their face masks as they greeted passers-by on their daily walks. Cupboards were cleaned, old clothes were thrown out, and alcohol consumption was rife.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews put it bluntly, “these are shitty choices”.

Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews

But on Friday, restaurants popped open their first bottles of champagne in months; and people left their homes outside of curfew hours. These are the things that weren’t allowed just days ago, under the state’s strict stay-at-home orders.

But for some, the mental health toll of being locked down for such a long time is hitting home.

Ticker’s own Dr Kieran Kennedy says re-entry anxiety are “feelings of uncertainty, fear and anxiety around pandemic restrictions lowering”.

Psychiatrists believe re-entry anxiety is characterised by a major period of change.

What can help?

There are a range of techniques that are clinically proven to reduce anxiety during periods of change.

  • acknowledge it
  • take it slow
  • put a simple routine or structure in place
  • plan steps to get back outside
  • look after yourself
  • talk to people
  • recognise the symptoms.

As Melbourne, and the world opens back up, there’s one word that comes to mind for me: balance.

The shadow pandemic

Australia has recently made the shift from a Covid-zero and lockdown mentality, to living with the virus.

Other countries have already adopted this approach, like the United Kingdom, where case numbers are spiking, and smaller nations like Singapore.

“We need to update our mindsets. We should respect Covid-19, but we must not be paralysed by fear.”

SINGAPORE’s PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG

Some places are still working towards Covid-zero, including China, which was once the epicentre of the virus.

But as countries begin to emerge from the height of the pandemic, the mental health impacts are also coming to light.

LifeLine—a mental health support service—reported its busiest days in its 57-year history. Calls have reportedly increased by 40 per cent in recent months.

“Just two years ago we were averaging under 2,500 calls a day,” the company’s chair, John Brigden said.

You can almost feel these impacts in Melbourne. From businesses with a ‘for lease’ sticker splashed across their front windows, or for me, the reluctance of jumping straight into a weekend of socialising.

“Today we are regularly seeing more than 3,500—a 40 per cent increase.”

Lifeline chair John Brogden.

Our health experts are telling us that it isn’t the end either.

Professor Adrian Esterman is a former epidemiologist with the World Health Organisation. He says there are a “host of potential viruses” that may cause the next pandemic in our lifetime.

It’s important to acknowledge this, because we are not immune to disasters or change. The world is a complex place.

Importantly, there’s no race to get back to anything. Yes, restrictions have eased but for some, the time to adjust may take a little longer.

I’m not trying to suppress anyone’s feeling of excitement, rather, just shine a light on the perils of re-entry.

Back to reality

As cities bounce back from an incredibly devastating and dark period, I’m having different conversations with my peers.

We’re talking more about our mental health—the harsh toll of being isolated from the things that we love.

But moving back into a ‘normal’ routine—with social and community commitments—isn’t easy.

In fact, research shows that sudden changes can lead to tiredness, stress and irritability—the term known as re-entry anxiety.

Above all, it can lead to unease. We’ve all changed our priorities and daily activities for well over a year, it’s bound to affect our recovery.

Picnics are back, as people around the world celebrate ‘freedom day’.

For me, I wonder what the world will look like in a month, and years to come.

I’m not in any hurry to rush back to ‘normal’ because our entire sense of normality has changed.

I think it’s been nice to strip life back, and appreciate the smaller things—a walk on the beach; dinner at the table; or connecting with an old relative.

However, I appreciate that the world moves fast, and people are keen to suppress these recent memories.

As people make reservations; gather outdoors, and see their friends; it’s time to enjoy these freedoms—at our own pace.

But remember, there is always light at the end of the tunnel if you are struggling—short, or long-term.

If you, or someone you know needs help, please contact your local helpline.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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World’s second-biggest fashion retailer blames Russia for 89% profit drop

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The Swedish fashion giant H&M says profits have dropped 89 per cent

They blame cost inflation, slow consumer spending and one-off expenses related to its exit from Russia.

Pretax profit in the period, the Swedish group’s fiscal third quarter, fell to 689 million crowns ($60.9 million) from a year-earlier 6.09 billion.

The Russian exit accounted for half of the decrease in profits, according to the retailer.

H&M announced a cost cutting programme that it predicted would result in annual savings of around 2 billion crowns, with savings expected to become visible in the second half of 2023.

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How Disney beat Netflix at its own game

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When it comes to streaming, there’s a new sheriff in town.

Disney+ has quickly become a major force in the streaming wars, adding over 14 million new subscribers in its latest quarter. That’s a big jump from the 3 million it had just three months prior.

In comparison, Netflix lost nearly 1 million subscribers in the same period.

So what happened? How did Disney+ overtake Netflix so quickly?

There are a few factors at play.

For one, Disney+ has a lot of content that people want to watch. As well as its acquisition of 21st Century Fox, the service  has access to popular franchises like Star Wars, Marvel, and The Simpsons. That’s a big draw for people who are looking for something to watch.

In addition, Disney+ is much cheaper than Netflix. A subscription to Disney+ costs $6.99 per month, while a Netflix subscription starts at $8.99 per month. For people who are trying to save money, Disney+ is the more appealing option. Though Disney and Netflix have signalled they’re going to push up their prices.

Disney+ has been aggressive in marketing itself as the superior streaming service. The company has run a number of ads that compare its service favorably to Netflix. This has helped convince people to switch to Disney+.

The Disney effect

The Walt Disney Company launched Disney+ on November 12, 2019. The streaming service is available in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico.

As of the second quarter of 2020, Netflix had nearly 221 million subscribers across 190 countries.

Factbox

What is the market share of Netflix? In the United States, Netflix has a market share of 37%. That means it is the most popular streaming service in the country.

When was Netflix founded? Netflix was founded on August 29, 1997, in Scotts Valley, California.

What type of company is Netflix? Netflix is a publicly-traded company. Its stock is traded on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol NFLX.

What is the headquarters of Netflix? The headquarters of Netflix is located in Los Gatos, California.

Disney+ facts

Disney is spending $1 billion per year on its streaming service.

What is the market share of Disney+? In the United States, Disney+ has a market share of 24%.

When was Disney+ launched? Disney+ was launched on November 12, 2019.

What type of company is Disney? Disney is a publicly-traded company. Its stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol DIS.

How much does Disney stock cost? As of August 2020, the price of one share of Disney stock is $115.76.

What is the headquarters of Disney? The headquarters of Disney is located in Burbank, California.

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The world’s largest online retailer gives staff a pay rise

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Workers at Amazon’s warehouse and transportation hubs are set to receive a pay rise

The world’s biggest online retailer says wages will increase to over 19 dollars, which is up from 18.

It’s part of a plan to help the company attract and retain workers in a very tight labor market.

Of course, the peak shopping season is also getting underway.

Amazon says the price increase will cost its company nearly one billion dollar in the next year alone.

The minimum for workers on an hourly wage will stay at 15 dollars.

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