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We need people coming to Australia from overseas

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It is announced today that Australia will be open to international students and temporary workers from 1 December.

Fully vaccinated international students, eligible visa holders and travellers from Japan and South Korea will be welcomed back to Australia from next week. Welcoming travellers from those countries would further help the tourism industry recover. The government is working on a figure of 200,000 migrant intake during this re-opening phase.

Vaccinated international students with a valid visa will no longer need an exemption to travel to Australia, but they will be subject to the quarantine arrangements of the state/territory they are travelling to. It is expected that international students would be back at universities early next year. The contribution of international students to the economy cannot be underestimated. Without their coming back, there is no way that Australia will recover. International students are big consumers of educational services and also for domestic retailing and tourism. Their share of the consumption of various services cannot be neglected.

It is also clear that the shortage of workers in hospitality and other sectors is hurting many small businesses. More than 20,000 nurses have terminated their registration last year and many complained of the long working hours. Some hairdressers have to be partially closed and customer queues extended because many workers have left their jobs during the lockdowns. The rapid development of online shopping promotes the logistic sector with more people leaving the job market. Australia will no longer be fully functional if a shortage of workers persists.

Only with more migrants coming back fast enough will reactivate the vibrancy of major capital cities. The various state and local governments need to be proactive in encouraging spending. As Hanukkah is coming, we are reminded that hope is always ahead of us. BlessingCALD has brought you an online exhibition about Hanukkah with is to start on coming Sunday. May you all be blessed.

 

Raymond Chow
Publisher

 

 

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Message from the Publisher

Omicron

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The world is now focusing on the Omicron variant.

On the road to opening up, the much more contagious Omicron variant of Covid-19 casts a shadow over a positive future of reopening. At this moment, we know too little about whether Omicron will cause serious disease among the infected. We are not sure whether the vaccinated will respond with only mild symptoms. We do not know whether the existing vaccines will prevent the spread of the virus and protect us. Too little is known at this moment.

However Victorian CHO professor Brett Sutton is right in telling us that we are not like at the start of the pandemic. We have over 90% Australians vaccinated and speeding up to a greater proportion of fully vaccinated will help us to fight the battle with Omicron. At this moment, we need to prevent the Omicron to land in Australia and getting into the community. Possibly masks, social distancing, and disinfectants will help us to get further protection. That is the reality for a Covid-normal society.

On the other hand, Omicron reminds us that we are not alone. We need the whole world to be vaccinated so that virus will not be replicated and mutated to spread. At present, only the developed worlds are vaccinated and practically poor countries are still waiting for vaccines to be donated and used. As a result, the chance for the Covid virus to be developed into threatening and more contagious variants is high. This warning by WHO at the beginning of the pandemic is realised in the case of Omicron.

We must admit that this war is a war of the whole world. Nobody on the earth will be safe until everybody is protected. It is time for the whole world need to re-think about waiving of royalty for vaccine developers. AstraZeneca has been marketed with this principle in its first year of marketing and is now the most widely used vaccine in the world. Will others follow suit?

More than that, will COVAX step up its donation program so that the vaccines will be supplied rapidly to everybody around the world?

 

Raymond Chow
Publisher, BlessingCALD

 

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Vaccines and cures for Covid-19

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There is much good news in fighting the war with Covid-19.

Vaccines prepare people for the attack of the virus and lower the possible casualty and help to slow the spread. At this moment about half of the world population has received at least one dose of the vaccines.

Australia is now starting the booster dose program rollout for the most vulnerable groups and the public who have had the second dose for more than 6 months are also able to receive the booster. Children less than 12 years old are experimenting with a smaller dose of Pfizer vaccine and full-scale vaccination rollout will start early next year. The infected figures in NSW and Victoria are diminishing while opening up of the cities continues seems to provide comfort and a sense of safety to many Australians.

While developed countries like Australia are focusing on the third dose, most developing countries are still struggling with few vaccines available. WHO has clearly stated at the beginning of the pandemic last year that the war with Covid-19 will never be won unless the whole world is vaccinated. Developed countries like Australia have pledged to donate vaccines to those who cannot afford the vaccines but up to now, not many have yet been sent out.

India is the biggest producer of vaccines for the COVAX program. With the burst of the Delta strain in May, India has stopped the export of vaccines for months. Up to now, only one-quarter of the promised donations through COVAX has been sent out. Greater efforts should be made to help not just Australians but also others around the world in order that the world will become normal again.

It is also good news that different cures now come to the focus of the world. In this issue, we brought to you various new drugs that will soon be used to treat Covid-19. It is hoped that their cost can be reduced to an extent that they can be used by the whole world in this war with the Covid-19 virus.

 

Raymond Chow

Publisher, BlessingCALD

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Covid-Normal at a Post Covid-19 society

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The booster is now ready for those fully vaccinated for six months and over. It is now clear that vaccines will not provide once and for all everlasting protection. So, Covid-19 will be with us. Vaccination becomes part of our lives. Instantly test for Covid-19 are now available in the supermarket. Pills to cure Covid-19 will become popular. Masks will become popular for those infected with the virus to protect others.

Checking in apps and proofs of vaccination will be needed at this moment to enter the public venues and attend events. We do not know how social distancing and other measures will be implemented and for how long. We are still adjusting how the society will be running in a Covid-normal state. What we shall do in travelling around from one country to another and what quarantine measures will be needed? So, the whole world is learning to cope with this new post-Covid state.

One thing is clear. This is a war with the virus in which information (and disinformation) plays an important role. CALD communities are especially neglected in this war and we have suffered a lot. Research in Australia suggested that migrants born overseas have a mortality rate more than twice that of locally born Australians. It is in this context that the governments should recognize that more efforts should be spent in connecting CALD communities with information.

Mainstream media should adjust and become more appealing to new migrants. Mass media can no longer pretend that everyone in Australia is born locally and should spend greater efforts to invite new migrants as the audience. On the other hand, media that is migrant-friendly like BlessingCALD can play a special role in helping new migrants to “learn” to be Australian.

Besides Covid news, BlessingCALD will be providing content about a lifestyle that will enrich the lives of new migrants. BlessingCALD will be with you and offer a channel for you to understand Australia more. Help us to do better in this job by introducing your friends to subscribe BlessingCALD and be our readers.

 

Raymond Chow,   Publisher

 

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