Project star’s heartbreaking phone call
Steve Price gave viewers a heartbreaking update on his family situation during Monday night's episode of The Project, confessing his elderly mother has "gone downhill" since news broke of a new coronavirus cluster in South Australia, worried it means she may spend Christmas alone.
Price previously opened up about the situation with his mother, who lives in South Australia, during Victoria's strict lockdown in August, saying he felt "gutted" that he "might never physically see her again".
"I've had to have a very difficult conversation again today," a downcast Price told his Project co-hosts during Monday night's episode.
"Yesterday I gave my mother a date. I said, I will be there on the 10th of December in the car to pick you up after not seeing you since February. She's 87, she can't fly in a plane, she can't drive herself. (And now) we may get shut out again."
Host Carrie Bickmore encouraged Price not to give up hope, pointing out that full border closures may not be employed as South Australia works to contain the spread of the outbreak: "You might be alright, Pricey," she told him.
But Price recounted more details of that morning's "difficult conversation" with his mother.
"She said this morning, 'OK, I'm just going to have Christmas Day on my own. I won't make the Christmas cake 'cos there'll be no-one here to eat it,'" he said.
"I'm not being overdramatic - I really felt this morning that she'd gone downhill badly because of this news. And imagine how many other South Australians are in that boat tonight? It's a bastard of a thing, this COVID."
Price's previous discussion of the situation with his mum had struck a chord with viewers, many of whom also haven't seen relatives interstate for most of the year.
"Oh, Steve … You have to have hope that at the end of this we will get on top of it, and you will be able to see her. That's the sort of stuff you have to look to; you can't think like that," Bickmore told Price back in August.
Co-host Waleed Aly agreed: "There's every chance you will see your mum in the not-too-distant future."
"I hope so, 'cos it just breaks my heart," Price said.
"It would break anybody's heart - but we can do this. We can," Aly said.
This new South Australian cluster comes as many people around Australia prepare to visit family interstate for Christmas in less than six weeks time.
Now people's Christmas plans have once again been thrown in limbo, with fears we won't succeed in Prime Minister Scott Morrison's plan to have all states open bar WA.
Dr David Beirman, Senior Lecturer of Tourism at the University of Technology, Sydney, said as more stranded Aussies returned home, the greater the likelihood was of a few of them bringing COVID-19 with them, generating more outbreaks of a similar nature.
"Based on the recent outbreak, the Prime Minister's hope for open borders within Australia by Christmas is a worthy aspiration but punters would not be well advised to not put money on it," he said.
Originally published as Project star's heartbreaking phone call