Publication Date: Aug 2022
RRP: $32.95
ISBN: 9781922633446
Format: Paperback
Size: 153mm x 234mm
Pages: 240
Category: Books, Public Policy


Chip Le Grand

Also available as an ebook from your favourite retailer.

Longlisted for the 2023 Australian Political Book of the Year Award

‘A searingly frank and detailed examination of the pandemic and our response to it.’
Patrick McGorry

‘Le Grand deftly takes us through the complexity, humanity, fear and, at times, irrationality of COVID-zero, and the unintended consequences we must never forget.’
Catherine Bennett

‘A forensic and at times controversial analysis of Melbourne’s journey with COVID-19, peppered with the scientific, political and personal stories of a very difficult moment in time.’
Sharon Lewin

Honourable Mention Small Publishers Network Book of the Year 2023

How does a city go from being the world’s most liveable to its most locked down? For 262 days, Melbourne was cocooned by stay-at-home orders. Businesses were forcibly closed, classrooms shuttered, and community and social life relegated to an impersonal online world. To stop the spread of a virus, people were prevented from saying goodbye to dying loved ones, children were separated from their parents, and playground equipment was taped off like a crime scene. Through successive COVID winters, the state of Victoria was isolated from the rest of the federation and Melbourne from the rest of the state.

Our remarkable success was to eliminate the virus—at least for a time—achieving something no other city had. We kept alive people who otherwise would have died and prevented serious illness in others. As Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews declared when Melbourne emerged from its final, protracted quarantine: ‘We have saved lives, we have kept people safe.’ But this came at a severe cost, one unlikely to be fully understood for years to come.

From 25 January 2020, the day a man recently arrived from Wuhan walked into the emergency department of a Melbourne suburban hospital and Australia recorded its first case of COVID-19, journalist Chip Le Grand has reported on the pandemic from his home city, detailing the Victorian Government’s machinations in response to an unprecedented public health crisis. Lockdown is the story of Melbourne’s singular pandemic experience, an examination of the decisions taken in pursuit of COVID-zero, and the consequences of those decisions.

Chip Le Grand writes frequently on Covid and related issues in The Age.

Chip Le Grand

Chip Le Grand is the chief reporter for The Age. He has worked as a journalist with The Australian and The Age newspapers for thirty years, and has spent most of that time writing about the people and politics of Melbourne. During the pandemic, he...
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