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Private jets and luxe bunkers: How the 1 per cent is riding out coronavirus

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Clearly, COVID-19 really doesn’t care for somebody’s income, influence, assets or access to medical provisions. But that doesn’t mean the super-rich aren’t doing their best to spend their way out of harm’s way.

Some are simply wearing better masks than the rest of us. Earlier this week, Gwyneth Paltrow modelled an “urban air mask”, made by Swedish company Airinum, that sells for more than £50 ($AU100). Luxury brand Byredo offers £25 ($AU50) “Suede” alcohol hand sanitiser, which “gently unfurls with nuances of lily of the valley and violet before settling on a bed of soft musks”. Both products are sold out.

Private doctors are said to be inundated by calls for the best care, quick access to coronavirus tests, and even inquiries about inoculation. They may be able to cut queues to care, but not tests and certainly not a vaccine, which is still some way off existing. Still, it doesn’t stop people trying.

Of course, that’s if the 1 per cent haven’t booked personal doctors and nurses (to go with their tutors, hairdressers, personal assistants) to accompany them wherever they go. Private jet booking services have reported being besieged by requests from multinational firms and high net-worth individuals, as they attempt to “evacuate” to safer areas while still avoiding busy airports and commercial flights.

In Kansas, a 15-storey underground structure exists called the Survival Condo. It is one of 72 built during the Cold War to protect against a ballistic missile, but it has since been modified, to the tune of $AU32 million, for a new generation of ultra-rich preppers. It now includes a library, swimming pool, climbing wall, video arcade, bar, cinema and shooting range. Apartments cost anywhere between $AU2.4 million and $AU7.3 million.

“Our design includes all infrastructure support for between 36 and 70 people for more than five years completely ‘off-grid’,” its website says. “The concrete walls in the facility are between 0.7 metres and 2.7 metres thick. There is just over 5000 square metres of underground, nuclear-hardened, protected space.”

According to one report, one of the 55 individuals who have already purchased space in the condo had the view from her loft in New York filmed in all four seasons, so she could watch it on screens installed in lieu of windows inside her bunker.

Such bunkers are increasingly in demand, not least this week. The Modern House, a Russian property firm which made headlines earlier this year when it unveiled a doomsday shelter inspired by Elon Musk’s “post-apocalyptic” Tesla Cybertruck, announced on Instagram last month that “at the request of customers, a system of protection against coronaviruses and radioactive dust is being developed”.

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