Morning mail: Sydney braces for Covid case number jump, Branson in space, England v Italy |

Good morning. Sydney is bracing for Covid case numbers in the triple digits today, a “new space age” begins and Novak Djokovic clinches his sixth Wimbledon title.

Sydney reported 77 new coronavirus cases on Sunday and Australia’s first locally acquired coronavirus death this year. A 90-year-old woman, who authorities believe was unvaccinated, caught the virus from a family member. New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian said she expected daily cases to exceed 100 on Monday and to continue to increase during the week. Victoria closed its borders to travellers from NSW and the ACT, except for returning Victorian residents who will have to quarantine for 14 days. The government’s new “graphic and confronting” Covid TV ad showing a young woman gasping for air in hospital has sparked a backlash, while Anthony Albanese said Coalition’s new “Arm Yourself” vaccination campaign didn’t quite “cut it”.

A proposed new windfarm on Robbins Island off north-west Tasmania could threaten a disease-free Tasmanian devil population, according to federal environment officials, who say the damage to habitat could be difficult to offset. Correspondence obtained by Guardian Australia shows officials raised concerns that no comparable habitat existed anywhere else to compensate for the effects the project could have on the island’s unique devil colony.

Richard Branson successfully flew to the edge of space and back in his Virgin Galactic passenger rocket plane days ahead of a rival launch by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, as the billionaires compete to kick off a new era of space tourism. The spaceplane went into sub-orbital flight on Sunday morning, reaching 88km above the Earth’s surface. “Welcome to the dawn of a new space age,” Branson tweeted shortly after the flight, along with a picture of himself in zero gravity.

England and Italy are headed into extra time in a tightly fought Euro final. You can follow the final minutes on our liveblog. It comes after a rowdy day in the host country, with groups of England fans without tickets forcing their way through the Wembley turnstiles.


Experts say that quarantining in hotels is unsustainable. Photograph: Erik Anderson/AAP

Covid breaches are on the rise in Australia’s hotel quarantine system, with data showing there have been as many leaks recorded in the past three months as there were last year. Experts say that the current system is “bound” to leak and that quarantining in hotels might be unsustainable in the face of more transmissible Covid strains such as Delta. “It was a good quick and dirty solution in April 2020, but since then we have seen and suffered from the limitations of such a system,” Dr Driss Ait Ouakrim, an epidemiologist at the University of Melbourne, said.

Investing in new social housing for survivors of domestic violence would not only give safety and security to those in need, it could also create tens of thousands of jobs, new research by the Everybody’s Home campaign found.

A baby boy has died after being mauled by his family’s American Staffordshire dog on the NSW Central Coast. Officers and paramedics performed CPR on the five-week-old boy but he could not be revived.

The world

Two men sit in front of a burned down car showroom in Jeppestown district, Johannesburg, on July 11, 2021, damaged on the night of violence following protests over jailing of former president Jacob Zuma.
A burned-down car showroom in Jeppestown district, Johannesburg that was damaged on the night of violence following protests over the jailing of former South African president Jacob Zuma. Photograph: Luca Sola/AFP/Getty Images

Violence and looting erupted in South Africa following the jailing of the former president Jacob Zuma. He began his 15-month sentence for contempt of court on Wednesday night. Johannesburg police said some of those carrying out theft and damage were taking advantage of their anger at Zuma’s imprisonment.

One of Brazil’s leading conservative newspapers has demanded the removal of the country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, as public outrage over his coronavirus response and corruption dragged the rightwing populist’s ratings to their lowest ever level.

Boris Johnson seems intent on lifting England’s remaining Covid restrictions on 19 July. But many in the NHS fear it could be overwhelmed – and tourist hotspots are fearful too.

Recommended reads

When the moderators of Subtle Asian Traits, a private Facebook group with nearly 2 million members, announced in June that it would be spun into an American TV series, the news was met with a flurry of cynical comments by its members. Some people expressed hopes that the series would not “become a negative stereotype for Asian people.” The group labels itself as “a community that celebrates the similarities and differences within the subtle traits of Asian culture and subcultures”. Now, its TV adaptation faces the challenge of adapting an internet phenomenon and questions of cultural representation.

Last year Australians bought more plants than ever. But some popular indoor plants can become invasive weeds when they do leave the house. “Most remnant bushlands in Sydney are on the creek-lines. These are shady, damp places with high nutrients from runoffs. They’re perfect conditions for indoor plants to thrive,” Marty Gauci, a community bushcare officer in western Sydney says.

For the first in our new series on the nation’s historic moments, Guardian Australia looks at a photograph of trailblazing athletes Fanny Durack and Mina Wylie at the 1912 Olympics, which were the first to include swimming events for women.


People march during the Every Child Matters walk in Toronto, Canada, on July 1, 2021, in honour of the Indigenous children.
People march in the Every Child Matters walk in Toronto in honour of Indigenous children. Photograph: Cole Burston/AFP/Getty Images

Half a century ago, Barry Kennedy was taken from his family and forced into an abusive Canadian system that sought to obliterate his Indigenous heritage. Now, after the discovery of more than 1,000 bodies in unmarked graves at schools including his own, he reflects on the traditions that were erased, the friends he lost – and Canada’s new reckoning with that history – in conversation with Rachel Humphreys.

Full Story

The Indigenous children who died at Canada’s residential schools

Full Story is Guardian Australia’s daily news podcast. Subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcasting app.


Novak Djokovic won his sixth Wimbledon, beating Matteo Berrettini (4) 6-7 6-4 6-4 6-3 in a hard-fought men’s singles final. “It was more than a battle,” Djokovic said. With his latest victory, Djokovic has now won the first three grand slam titles of this year and is one title away from completing the grand slam. Above all, Djokovic has finally caught up with his great rivals, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, rising to join them on a three-way tie of 20 grand slam titles.

Tennis legend and Wiradjuri woman Evonne Goolagong Cawley paid a heartfelt tribute to “little sister” Ash Barty, saying she just sensed it was “her time” to win Wimbledon during Naidoc week. Barty’s victory over Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3 on Saturday came 10 years after she won the Wimbledon girls’ singles title at age 15. She became the first Australian woman, and Indigenous Australian woman, to win Wimbledon since Cawley in 1980. As Emma Kemp writes, with her history triumph, Barty delivered a moment of inspiration to Australians across the world.

Media roundup

Senior business figures turned to former prime minister Kevin Rudd to intervene in bringing forward Australia’s Pfizer vaccine supply, writes Laura Tingle for the ABC. The federal government is working on the details of a business support package for Covid-hit Sydney, the Australian reports. And the Victorian Pride Centre officially opened on Sunday, making Victoria the home of Australia’s first purpose-built community hub for LGBTQ communities, the Age reports.

Coming up

Clem Bastow will be liveblogging the MasterChef finale on Monday and Tuesday from 7.30 pm. Read her recap of the semifinal that revealed three finalists – Elise, Justin and Kishwar.

And if you’ve read this far …

Guernica, Pablo Picasso’s monochrome howl of anti-fascist fury, is perhaps the most famous painting of the 20th century. Now, another “forgotten Guernica” is on its way to Bilbao Museum of Fine Arts. The Basque artist Agustín Ibarrola painted Guernica Gernikara in 1977 as part of a campaign to get Picasso’s masterpiece home to Spain. Now his work is being celebrated in its own right.

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