News Coronavirus COVID and mobility in focus at symposium

COVID and mobility in focus at symposium

NSW new trains
Sydney commuters can expected more chaos as the government and rail union remain at loggerheads. Photo: AAP
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Experts will gather in Wollongong over the next two days to present their findings on the “remarkable impact” COVID-19 has had on personal, social and professional lives across Australia.

The agenda will focus on the universal hiatus in mobility brought about by the pandemic.

While catastrophic, COVID-19 has provided an opportunity to reflect on the importance of freedom of movement for everyday life and “what this means in a world of overlapping crises”, said convenor Dr Theresa Harada.

“From remote working to home deliveries, decreased use of public transport and pop-up cycling lanes, adapted practices have brought to light the hidden aspects of mobility justice,” she said.

“Essential workers and those in precarious employment were exposed to higher levels of risk from COVID-19 because they did not have the option to work from home.”

Those with disabilities have also faced harsh times due to infrastructural and social barriers that have prevented them from moving freely.

The University of Wollongong, Geographical Society of NSW, Australian Mobilities Research Network and Australian Centre for Culture, Environment, Society and Space are hosting the symposium.

Meanwhile, Australia reported nearly 21,000 new COVID-19 infections on Sunday as reproductive rates of the virus plateau around the country.

Sunday also saw far fewer deaths, with 24 reported, compared to 70 on Saturday.

Saturday’s death toll was the highest in more than a fortnight but also included unreported fatalities in South Australia from earlier in the year.

There are roughly 220,000 active virus cases across the country.

The effective reproductive rate of the virus sits at about one in every state and territory, meaning one infected person is infecting at least one other person.