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Coronavirus Australia: Female faces of lockdown Sydney as families struggle with work, kids, curfew

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Ask women what life is like in the Sydney suburbs with the tightest Covid restrictions and you won’t get the same response twice.

Most are relatable, many unprintable, some tragic and, surprisingly, a few are actually heart-warming.

The tragic speak for themselves: They’ve lost loved ones to Covid, often with little warning, and sometimes haven’t been able to say goodbye.

Meanwhile, the Premier’s hints at new ‘freedoms’ to come – with speculation of picnics and being allowed to get a haircut or a manicure if you’re vaccinated – do little to improve their mood.

Dozens of suburbs in 12 local government areas of concern – mostly in Sydney’s west and south-west – cannot leave their homes after 9pm, are only allowed out of their homes legally for one hour a day, and have police and soldiers patrolling their streets in what is the toughest lockdown in Australia. 

Karla, from Dolls Point, is relieved she's single when she hears how hard life is for married mums during lockdown

Karla, from Dolls Point, is relieved she’s single when she hears how hard life is for married mums during lockdown

Single mum Jayde, 28, (right, with Violet, 3), tragically lost her mother at just 46, six weeks ago, during the lockdown and feels a huge 'mental strain' coping on her own

Single mum Jayde, 28, (right, with Violet, 3), tragically lost her mother at just 46, six weeks ago, during the lockdown and feels a huge ‘mental strain’ coping on her own

But Karla, 40, from Dolls Point, told Daily Mail Australia she felt a huge sense of relief when she talked to her married friends, especially those with kids.

‘They are all pretty pent up,’ she said. ‘Some of them are about to lose their s***.  Their kids are throwing things so they have to escape on walks.’

‘I’m loving life right now.’

Lockdown has made her grateful for her free and easy life, so much so she isn’t even up for a boyfriend.

‘I’m trying to look on the the bright side – it’s too good being single. I don’t have a pain in the ass kids or hubby to annoy me!’

‘All I need to think about is my job, healthy eating, and staying fit.’

She does that by beach running at Brighton.

What does she miss most of all? 

‘Parties. There’s gonna some bloody good parties after this.’

‘For me and my girlfriends it’s the year of the 40th. We need to get out and dance for that!’  

Jayde (pictured, right) hasn't been able to attend her mother's funeral and uses a weekly catch up with best mate Georgina (pictured left, with Frankie, 1)

Jayde (pictured, right) hasn’t been able to attend her mother’s funeral and uses a weekly catch up with best mate Georgina (pictured left, with Frankie, 1)

Georgina, 25, (above) moved to Liverpool with her partner and hasn't seen her family for months. She started a sweet business in lockdown named after her one-year-old, Frankie (pictured)

Georgina, 25, (above) moved to Liverpool with her partner and hasn’t seen her family for months. She started a sweet business in lockdown named after her one-year-old, Frankie (pictured)

Warehouse manager Tino, 33, from Rosemeadow near Campbelltown, got so stressed when her American girlfriend contracted Covid that ‘she started drinking every day’.

‘It’s under control now. But some days I don’t know what day it is,’ Tino told Daily Mail Australia at the southern Sydney mass vaccination hub at Glenquarie on Thursday.

Her partner Esmeralda, 34, is recovering in Las Vegas. 

‘But when I heard she couldn’t breathe, that pushed me to come here today.’

Jayde, 28, lost her mum, 46, just six weeks ago – but she wasn’t found immediately because Covid rules mean she can’t have visitors.

Sadly Jayde hasn’t been able to get an appointment to find out if it was Covid-related because doctors are so busy.

Jayde hasn’t been allowed to have a funeral for her mum yet, and is struggling to raise her three-year-old Violet without a partner, childcare help or income, having lost her job as a bar tender in Bankstown.

‘I’m struggling with the isolation,’ said Jayde, who was raised as a warden of the state.

‘Not seeing friends, family is so hard, it’s just mentally straining. I feel depressed and don’t want to do anything.’ 

Mum Jessica is working 14-16 hours a day juggling three kids, a job and domestic duties - all while living in a locked down suburb under curfew

Mum Jessica is working 14-16 hours a day juggling three kids, a job and domestic duties – all while living in a locked down suburb under curfew

Warehouse manager Tino, 33, got vaccinated at Glenquarie after her girlfriend caught Covid in the US and couldn't breathe

Warehouse manager Tino, 33, got vaccinated at Glenquarie after her girlfriend caught Covid in the US and couldn’t breathe

In mid-August Lifeline recorded 3,505 calls in one day — the single biggest day in the service’s 57-year history. 

It was the fourth time the record was broken in just one month.

Painting with little Violet helps Jayde pass the hours, as does a weekly catch-up and dog-walk with Caesar and her good mate Georgina, 25.

Georgina, a former hairdresser, moved to Liverpool a year ago to live with her husband.

Now she cannot see her family, who are too far away – in Sydney’s east and north.

She started an online business selling Chamoy and tajin sweets, named after her one-year-old Frankie. 

So far Frankie’s sweets has had more orders than she expected.

She is trying to retrain online as a ‘Doula’, who assists a new mum before, during and after childbirth, but Covid means she can’t complete the practical requirements of her course.

These three sisters don't want a picnic as a reward for getting vaccinated - they want to go out to the pokies and clubbing

These three sisters don’t want a picnic as a reward for getting vaccinated – they want to go out to the pokies and clubbing

Emma, 17, and her mum Sharon, 51, got vaccinated at Glenquarie on Thursday. Emma doesn't want an 18th birthday on zoom like some of her girlfriends

Emma, 17, and her mum Sharon, 51, got vaccinated at Glenquarie on Thursday. Emma doesn’t want an 18th birthday on zoom like some of her girlfriends

Pressure on households and mums especially – who, despite improvements in recent years – still do most of the domestic duties and child rearing.

Many are juggling work, working from home, homeschooling and chores.

Monterey mum Jessica, who is locked down in Bayside LGA, is busy up to 16 hours a day with her job in human resources and looking after three children.

The only break she gets is a brisk walk to a nearby cafe for a morning coffee and if there’s time, a walk in her local park in the afternoon.

Young mum Aleeya, 32, from a housing commission estate at Macquarie Fields, has to look after four children, aged between 2 and 15, by herself.

She says the hardest thing about lockdown is keeping four bored kids – three girls and a boy – schooled, entertained, out of trouble, washed and fed.

‘My 13-year-old is really acting out. She’s having crazy moods.’ 

Chantelle, an IT worker from Redfern, decided to volunteer for the SES, and was rostered to help out at the southern Sydney vaccination hub at Glenquarie on Thursday

Chantelle, an IT worker from Redfern, decided to volunteer for the SES, and was rostered to help out at the southern Sydney vaccination hub at Glenquarie on Thursday

She also fears her eldest is being turned into an anti-vaxxer via social media. 

‘We are having a bit of a battle,’ Aleeya says, nodding to her daughter Lakisha, 15.

‘My father had it but I am undecided.’ 

‘A lot of people around here are into conspiracy theories,’ she says.

‘Some refuse to get the vaccination because they think it’s microchipping them.’ 

Lakisha admits the teenage boys in her friendship group laugh at the curfew.

‘It makes them more likely to go out,’ she said. ‘We’ve had military stopping us to make sure the kids have masks on.’

‘The little ones don’t understand any of it,’ she says. ‘They ask if there’s a war on.’

How does Aleeya cope? 

‘Sleep. And joining in my kids Zoom exercise classes.’ 

And how do she and her girls feel seeing images of people on the beach at Bondi, sometimes mask-less, with occasional police patrols walking past apparently uninterested.

‘If we did that around here, we’d be fined in a heartbeat,’ she says.

Aleeya, who lives at these Macquarie Fields units but did not want to be photographed, is struggling to keep her four kids entertained and to stop the oldest from turning to conspiracy theories through social media

Aleeya, who lives at these Macquarie Fields units but did not want to be photographed, is struggling to keep her four kids entertained and to stop the oldest from turning to conspiracy theories through social media

The freedoms that New South Wales residents will get back when vaccine milestones are hit has been a regular topic at the Premier’s daily briefings – with picnics for vaccinated citizens the latest carrot waved.

The number one freedom locals in Sydney’s south-west expressed to Daily Mail Australia this week is to be able to visit family – but not all were the same.

But three Samoan sisters living together at Casula, Malia Eteaki, Ashley Eteaki and Tala Pelo, gave very different answers. 

‘The pokies,’ laughed Malia, 23, who works in a warehouse.

Not family, like so many others, or the beach? 

‘Nah. We see them them every day,’ Ms Eteaki said.

What do they think of the offer of a picnic for getting vaccinated?

Ms Pelo rolls her eyes. 

‘I wanna go out for dinner, then go clubbing. I’m looking forward to that,’ Ms Pelo, 24, a recruiter said.

‘The main conversation with our friends and family is that everyone is p***ed about lockdown, we can’t do anything, we can’t go anywhere until we reach that 70 per cent mark,’ Ms Pelo says.

‘We are waiting for this to end so we can get our freedoms back.’

COVID-19: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW 

What is Covid-19?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections. These can range from the common cold to more serious diseases.

Covid-19 is a disease caused by a form of coronavirus. 

Other coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) 

What are the symptoms? 

Symptoms of Covid-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia. 

Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly. 

People with coronavirus may experience symptoms such as: 

– fever 

– coughing 

– sore throat 

– shortness of breath

Other symptoms can include runny nose, acute blocked nose (congestion), headache, muscle or joint pains, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, loss of sense of smell, altered sense of taste, loss of appetite and fatigue.

To stop the spread of Covid-19 people with even mild symptoms of respiratory infection should get tested.

Source: Department of Health 

 



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