It’s clear – from the UK, at least – that the initial coronavirus outbreak was handled very well in Australia. But a recent surge in cases in the Australian state of Victoria has seen the city of Melbourne enter a new six-week lockdown to contain a second outbreak. About 3,000 residents of public housing tower blocks were told they couldn’t leave their homes, in controls similar to those seen in Wuhan. Can the rest of the world expect similar moves? This week, Guardian Australia writer Margaret Simons reports on a week of chaos in her home city and the impact a sudden lockdown had on the tower residents. Then, Gay Alcorn looks at the political impact of a second lockdown. And Guardian science editor Ian Sample reports on a worrying study that suggests Covid-19 antibodies may not last more than a few months.
In Poland, there was some hope that Warsaw’s liberal mayor Rafał Trzaskowski could defeat incumbent Andrzej Duda in a presidential run-off election last Sunday. Duda, the Law and Justice-backed conservative who ran on a populist platform critical of LGBT rights, is now in a position to cement his power in the courts and in Polish society. Duda’s victory, writes Jon Henley, will also set Poland on a collision course with the EU, the leaders of which meet this week to discuss the new economic crisis. The result has also left liberals in Poland in despair, as Christian Davies found out in Warsaw.
This week we also head to Syria, where Bethan McKernan reports on the prospect of a new revolution, led by a rebel commander in the war-ravaged country’s south. Rob Ford looks at UK Labour leader Keir Starmer’s first 100 days, and – because it wouldn’t be a week in the life of the world without a Donald Trump outrage – Joanna Walters and Mark Oliver look at the fallout from the US president’s commutation of his ally Roger Stone’s prison sentence.
We also feature a fascinating report by Chika Oduah about the woman who acts as a mother figure for dozens of Boko Haram fighters in Nigeria, and Linda Scott considers why the pandemic has made the unfairness of the gender pay divide even starker.
In the culture pages, Hadley Freeman speaks to Tom Hanks, who is glum about his new movie being stuck on small screens, and Hannah J Davies pays tribute to Michaela Cole and I May Destroy You, the TV hit of the year so far.
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