Radically uneven material histories of COVID-19 are unfolding across places, bodies, species, institutions and economies. Senses of the pandemic and its futures are also playing out differently in every imagination. I write from a ‘before’ or a ‘not yet’ within the global corona story-a knife’s edge, a desert cliff: Mparntwe (Alice Springs), Central Arrernte country, where at least for now we remain a COVID-free zone. As Melbourne enters level 4 restrictions in response to a surge in case numbers, and its eastern and southern neighbours teeter on the edge of similar outbreaks, Chief Minister Michael Gunner has told NT residents to cancel interstate Christmas travel plans and to get used to our borders being tightly biosecured for the next eighteen months.
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