The Informer: Tennis brats, COVID traffic lights change and hunks in high-vis

Hot in high-vis, tradies raise awareness of mental health with their own take on the firefighters calendar.
Hot in high-vis, tradies raise awareness of mental health with their own take on the firefighters calendar.

Cleaning the coffee off the laptop this morning - put there with an involuntary spit at news tennis brat Novak Djokovic was demanding five-star quarantine treatment for Australian Open players - one couldn't help thinking about all the cancelled holidays, border closures, family separations, lost jobs and business closures endured by ordinary Australians through the pandemic.

COVID certainly dominated Monday. Some news was good: zero locally transmitted cases in NSW. Some news was bad: a collapse in the number of people fronting for tests.

Also on the good side of the ledger, a change from orange to green for local government areas on the border between NSW and Victoria under the COVID traffic light system. And, for most of Greater Sydney, a change from red to orange. This means Victorians struggling to get home since the Northern Beaches outbreak emerged will find it a lot easier. That mightn't be enough to shift the sour taste left after watching planeloads of tennis players and their entourages descend on Melbourne while these travellers have been marooned since New Year's Eve.

Far sweeter was news Victoria was likely to lead the economic recovery out of COVID. After what the state endured during its second wave and the harsh lockdown, this is a most welcome prediction.

Not so welcome for those dreaming of jetting off somewhere like tennis players was the expectation management delivered by the federal health head honcho Brendan Murphy. He doesn't see international travel coming back in any substantial way this year, even with the vaccine rollout. Guess we'll all have more backyard exploring ahead of us.

And, speaking of vaccines, the Therapeutic Goods Administration is closely watching the overseas experience so it can tweak advice to patients who might be at risk of side-effects. Australia might be gung-ho when it comes to hosting international sports tournaments in the midst of a pandemic but it's taking a cautious approach to the vaccines on which we're all pinning our hopes.

Many of us would agree that the hottest, hardest to find item during the past nine months has been the humble tradie. As we've been locked down or directed to work from home, we've decided we can no longer live with the burnt orange kitchen, the baby blue bathroom or the falling down pergola. But try to get a tradie? Forget it. They're booked solid for the foreseeable.

Filling that gap - virtually at least - is a group of tradies from Shepparton in Victoria who've put together their version of the Australian firefighters calendars that have raised the temperature in offices everywhere for years now. It's all in the name of raising awareness of mental health.

Good on you, lads.

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