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Let us pray and wait for more understanding about Omicron

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Researchers around the world are trying their best to understand more about Omicron. Meanwhile, Omicron is spreading in Australia. It is expected that more people will be infected especially when Australia is opening up to the world and people are moving around in the coming of the Christmas and New Year vacation. It is reasonable that we should be more cautious with various protection measures to be reinstated including masks, social distancing, and use of disinfectants in public. Of course, it will be wise for people to consider giving up indoor gatherings with a huge audience.

The whole world has been fighting with Covid-19 for nearly two years. Vaccines have produced great hope for people to exit from this pandemic. Evidence suggests vaccines might not provide complete protection for Omicron to invade our body. However, up to this moment, most Omicron cases are mild especially for the vaccinated, which gives us hope that vaccines do give protection for people not to be severely infected. We need to wait for more information from studying this variant. At this moment, we have no choice but to be cautious.

The Australian government clearly do not want to give tougher control at this time of the season. In the coming Wednesday, the Australian border will be opened towards overseas students and short term workers. State governments accepted the “living with the virus” strategy, hoping that severe cases will be limited and controllable. The government shortens the duration for booster dose to five months and starts to vaccinate the 5-11 years old from 10 January 2022 onwards. These are all the measures Australians prepared to work Omicron with during this period.

An alarming signal is the increasing number of infected cases in NSW and Victoria. The reproduction factor for Covid-19 is clearly close or above 1. In the near future, this factor may increase rapidly, and become uncontrollable. In such a case, severe measures might be imposed again as expressed by some European governments.

So Australians, let us pray that the situation will not worsen until we know more about Omicron.

 

Raymond Chow

Publisher, BlessingCALD

 

 

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We need leaders to show responsibility

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On 17 January 2022, over 1.8 million Australians have infected Covid-19 and 718,052 are still active with 5044 hospitalized and 2699 deaths. More than that, close contacts of the infected are also isolated for 7 days and as a result, more than 1 million Australians are in isolation at home.

Small business owners especially those from the hospitality industries complained that even though the government had not imposed a lockdown, a self-imposed lockdown by workers and customers practically means that more and more hospitality businesses will be closing in the coming weeks. Lots of unused food be disposed of because restaurants were forced to shut down for insufficient workers. Many complained that 1/3 to half of the employees in a restaurant may not come to work on any day. Small businesses cannot simply operate in such this way.

There is simply no way for the restaurateurs or café owners to know whether their staff can come to work on any day, nor any bookings are taken. Close to a hundred thousand people are infected every day and their families put into isolation with RAT tests not available to make sure that people can work safely have pressured small business owners to close without any hope to resume anytime.

Australia is in trouble but the government is not helping.

RATs are not available probably until February. The government is not giving out financial support to small businesses owners. The workers are a bit better that then can apply for disaster relief grants if they cannot get paid by their employers.

The only solution for the society to run smoothly is either to lockdown the society again, or for the government to immediately provide free RATs to the people and change the isolation rules to allow RAT negative people to work instead of letting millions of healthy people be kept at home.

It is time for the leaders to take up responsibility instead to make everybody be in a scared and tense mode.

 

Raymond Chow

Publisher, BlessingCALD

 

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Message from the Publisher

Living with Omicron

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In the past week, over 700,000 Australians infected with Omicron. We learned a lot about how confused it could be to live with Omicron.

Yes, Omicron is a Covid-19 variant but it is a very different variant. We need to adjust our understanding of how to live with Omicron from our previous understanding of Covid-19.

At first, those infected were required to get PCR tests from government clinics to confirm that they really caught the Covid-19 virus. This meant that they needed to queue up many hours for testing and many of them were finally being turned away when all the tests have gone. They needed to isolate and wait days for the test results to be available. For most of them, the symptoms had long gone before they had the results.

For those who did not want to queue up, they needed to rush for a RAT kit which would cost them more than 40 dollars each. Many failed to find one in pharmacies or supermarkets after going one after another. As a result, they had no choice but treated themselves as infected. Many then had the symptoms for one or two days and got better after. They still would isolate and inform their friends who they had met before.

Clearly, our society is now in great confusion as the government released figures that were scaring but most people who were infected told another story. The government asked hundreds of thousands of people to follow a 7-day isolation protocol without a convenient and definite way to help these people to determine their infection status.

More than that, our hospital system is at the edge of collapsing with dedicated medical professionals under stress.

This is not the Covidnormal that we are expecting. Both the federal and state governments need to respond to this challenge.

Raymond Chow, Publisher

 

 

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Message from the Publisher

Happy New Year!

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We have started a week earlier than scheduled when we see that the number of Covid-19 cases exploded to over 30,000 per day in Australia. To keep you informed about the present situation is our mission. This explosion is the combined result of implementing the reopening policy after Australia reached over 90% of the vaccinated population and also the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant.

Fortunately, Omicron has proved to be less severe but a significant proportion of the current infected are still from the more aggressive Delta variant. Hence it is still important for people to maintain social distancing, wear masks, observe isolation protocols, and use contact tracing apps to protect themselves from being infected. Also, vaccination has proved to be effective in protecting people from severe Delta infections. It is now clear that the responsibility of a person to protect himself is through getting vaccinated.

A booster is found to be effective in preventing infection by Omicron. The government has sped up the schedule for booster vaccination. The 5-11 years old will be able to get vaccinated from January 10 onwards. Parents are encouraged to vaccinate their kids once eligible.

Yes, the presence of Covid-19 in our society is inevitable. It is our own responsibility to get ourselves being protected by avoiding attending events that super-spreaders may be present. Meeting people outdoors or in highly ventilated locations will be a better choice.

We hope that in this year, everyone will be safer through lowering the infection rate as soon as possible. The governments need to launch a large scale education campaign to help Australians to live with Covid-19. Merely sending out information of the virus and policies is not enough. The threat of the virus today is clearly different from that two years ago. We need to accommodate our understanding of Covid-19 to face the challenge ahead with hope and courage.

Mr. Raymond Chow,  Publisher

 

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