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Q&A: July 22

Virginia Trioli hosts with guests Libby Trickett, Russel Howcroft & Bill Shorten.

Virginia Trioli again hosts Q+A this week from Melbourne.

Almost half of the Australian population remains in lockdown with no end in sight, as authorities pin their hopes on restrictions stopping chains of transmission. Victoria’s lockdown has been extended with contract tracers there racing to keep up with infections amid cases spreading to regional areas. Sydney is facing its fifth week of lockdown and tough new restrictions have seen construction sites shut down. It’s a very different story in the UK, with so-called “Freedom Day” set to see an end to almost all restrictions. But with new cases reaching 50,000 a day, it’s feared abandoning the measures could see another spike in infections.

Another million Pfizer doses have landed in Australia, and while the Home Affairs Minister says “there is light at the end of the tunnel”, she admits it could be months before those under-40 are vaccinated. As the vaccine rollout woes continue, new research by think tank The Australia Institute shows faith in state and territory governments’ handling of the pandemic is at an all-time high, to the detriment of the federal government. Is it time for both levels of government to put politics aside and work together?

Meanwhile the Queensland Premier has jetted to Tokyo for Wednesday’s announcement of the 2032 Games – with Brisbane all but confirmed as host city. With the delayed 2020 Games getting underway this week, the pandemic is casting a shadow over the Olympics. Two South African athletes are in isolation after testing positive in the Olympic village, and it’s feared more infections will emerge as athletes and officials arrive in Tokyo. In Melbourne, an AFL game and an international rugby match have been linked to COVID transmission – so what does this mean for spectator sport in Australia during the pandemic?

Joining Virginia on the panel:

Libby Trickett, Olympic champion
Russel Howcroft, broadcaster
Bill Shorten, Shadow Minister for the NDIS & Govt Services
David Gillespie, Minister for Regional Health
Astrid Edwards, Teacher and disability advocate

8:30pm Thursday on ABC.

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