From Australia - News in Brief

13 million people in Australia live in lockdown

The Covid-19 crisis reveals how much western society values old age

Australia records biggest rise in housing rents in more than 22 years as wages barely budge

Syrian President Discusses with Chinese Foreign Minister Boosting Bilateral Relations

When, where and how to get your $600 and $375 payment

Labor Calls For NSW Government to Fight For NSW in Cabinet

When to wear a face mask, according to the NSW Government website

Community pharmarcies must play bigger role in vaccination

NSW Labor calls for answers for residents in heart of lockdown

13 million people in Australia live in lockdown

July 20, 2021

(See Translation in Arabic Section)

Sydney - M E Times Int'l: Borders are slamming shut across Australia as multiple states grapple with Delta outbreaks.

WA Premier Mark McGowan has warned Western Australians in SA to “come home now”.

It comes as a lockdown has been announced for the Orange region of central west NSW after cobid leaked out of Sydney.

Queensland and Tasmania have announced they will close their borders to South Australia and WA now demands people from Adelaide go into 14-day quarantine  while Victoria has further tightened restrictions with Sydney meaning even Victorians now cannot return to their home state.

Victoria and South Australia announced week-long lockdowns while there is no end in sight for NSW.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the nine cases announced for Tuesday’s reporting period showed his state was “running alongside” the virus.

We need to get in front of us and we need more time to do that,” he said.

“That is not the conversation they’re having in Sydney. They’re in different circumstances. We wish them well.”

South Australia announced a seven-day lockdown from 6pm Tuesday while Victoria’s is set to end on midnight July 27. There are currently about 13 million Australians in lockdown.

There are reports tonight that the regional NSW town of Orange is about to head into a seven day lockdown.

It comes after a transmission occured at the Nestle Purina pet food factory in Blayney, close to Orange.

Channel 9's Chris O'Keefe said tonight the central west NSW town was "likely" to go into lockdown from midnight tonight.

The Orange region has roughly 50,000 residents.

The ABC has reported he lockdown will also include Blayney, and the Cabonne Shire Council.

 The Covid-19 crisis reveals how much we value old age | USAPP

The Covid-19 crisis reveals how much western society values old age

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the older population more than other age groups as their weaker immune system makes it harder to fight diseases and infection. Although all age groups are at risk of contracting the virus, older people face significant risk of developing a severe illness.

Of all coronavirus-related deaths so far, 95% occurred in those older than 60 years. More than 50% of all deaths involved people aged 80 years or older.

Yet, not only older people are more exposed to the risk of contagion and death, but policy reactions unveiled the different social value older people have in different countries, the consequences of limited investment in long-term care and the lower priority older people have in congested health care systems.

When faced with the need of critical health care, they have been given a lower priority. Yet, given that older individuals are an increasing share of our society, we are left with the question: should countries revisit their priorities?

 Australia records biggest rise in housing rents in more than 22 years as wages  barely budge

Australia records biggest rise in housing rents in more than 22 years as wages barely budge

Sydney: The cost of renting a home in Australia surged over the past 12 months despite Covid-19 price hike moratoriums, creating an “unsustainable” situation while incomes languish.

Nationally, rental rates jumped 6.6 per cent over the year to June – the highest annual growth since January 2009, CoreLogic data shows.

As seen in the housing sales market, the regions have outperformed cities, with annual rental growth climbing 11.3 per cent – the highest annual growth on record since CoreLogic began its rental index in 2005.

For the combined capital cities, the rise was five per cent.

The group’s head of research for Australia, Eliza Owen, said the rental price hike was caused by many of the same factors that had led to the current housing price upswing, including a lack of supply in some markets.

Among the capital cities, rents rocketed the most in largely Covid-free Darwin, up a whopping 21.8 per cent over the past 12 months, followed by isolated Perth with a 16.7 per cent jump.

Rents in Sydney rose just 3.2 per cent while lockdown-hit Melbourne was the only city to go backwards, down 1.4 per cent.

Ms Owen said pockets of the rental market remained subdued because of the unique impacts of Covid-19 on different parts of the country.

“In Sydney and Melbourne, unit rents continue to show year-on-year decline, at 1.1 per cent and 6.4 per cent respectively,” she said.

Demand for rentals in these cities, which have historically had the highest intake of international migrants, have been hit by international border closures.

But Sydney unit rents had begun to creep higher, while Melbourne unit rents had also started to show signs of stabilising, Ms Owen said.

“Recent lockdown conditions across Sydney may impact rental markets where there are high concentrations of renters in affected industries, such as hospitality and tourism,” she said.

“These regions include the inner city market of Sydney, which has been one of the more subdued Sydney rental markets through the pandemic.”

Canberra remains the most expensive capital city in which to rent, with a house typically costing $668 per week and $521 per week for a unit.

 “Very high rental growth is unsustainable while income growth remains subdued,” Ms Owen said.


Syrian President Discusses with Chinese Foreign Minister Boosting Bilateral Relations

Syrian President Bashar Assad on Saturday received Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi and the accompanying delegation, and discussed historic and distinguished relations binding the two friendly countries.

During the meeting, it was agreed to move towards a new stage in strengthening these relations and opening wider horizons for bilateral cooperation in all fields to serve the interests of the two countries and peoples.

President Assad affirmed that China is a strong country and has a great and significant position on the international arena, adding that Syria looks forward to expanding areas of cooperation with it at all domains, based on its strong presence and its ethical policies which serve most countries and peoples of the world.

President al-Assad thanked China for its support to the Syrian people in various fields, and its important stances at the international forums in support of Syria’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independent decision.

Syria’s participation in “Belt and Road Initiative “ was also discussed during the meeting, as the Chinese Minister stressed his country’s interest in Syria’s participation in the initiative due to its location and its importance regional role.

He underlined that his country will continue in supporting the Syrian people in the war against terrorism, confrontation of the blockade and inhuman sanctions imposed on them, as wells as standing against the interference in the domestic affairs of the Syrian people and whatever affects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.

He conveyed congratulations of Chinese President Xi Jinping to President Assad on winning the presidential election, noting that the success of this entitlement indicates the people’s victory and their firm determination to resist all challenges and domination attempts which they are exposed to.

President Assad on Saturday took the constitutional oath before Speaker and members of the people’s Assembly in the presence of political, party, media, religious figures and families of the martyrs and the injured.

 How to get your $600 and $375 payment

When, where and how to get your $600 and $375 payment

Melbourne: Victoria residents will have to wait until Friday to apply for lockdown support, Government Services Minister Linda Reynolds has confirmed.

But NSW residents can apply for their payments immediately.

“The fastest and easiest way to make a claim is through MyGov,” Ms Reynolds said.

Australians living in a Covid-19 hotspot are eligible for a $375 disaster payment if they’ve lost between eight and 20 hours of work and $600 if they’ve lost 20 hours or more.

Workers can expect the payments to be made in arrears after making their MyGov claim.

Ms Reynolds assured that once claims were made, the payments would be deposited into bank accounts quickly.

“(The payment) goes directly and very quickly to individuals – straight into their bank account, to help them straightaway,” she said.

But Victorian residents were dissuaded from applying for the time being.

“Victorians don‘t have to do anything until Friday,” Ms Reynolds said.

“From Friday, if the circumstances are such in terms of a declaration by the Victorian government and the commonwealth government, then Victorians can go online to Services Australia to make an application.”

Ms Reynolds also confirmed that despite 12 active Covid-19 cases, West Australian residents are not yet eligible for the $375 or $600 payments.

For residents with particular requirements, such as visa holders or those requiring language assistance, Ms Reynolds encouraged calling Services Australia on 180 22 66.

For all other claims, Ms Reynolds recommended accessing a MyGov account and applying online.

Ms Reynolds made it clear that this would be the only payment for the time being, rejecting suggestions that the JobKeeper scheme should be brought back.

 Calls for plans to improve indigenous health outcomes - Central Coast  Community News

Labor Calls For NSW Government to Fight For NSW in Cabinet

Sydney: The NSW Government needs to use its power in National Cabinet to fight for its return.

These were the sentiments of that NSW Labor as the construction industry came to a standstill - the first time ever since the pandemic began – a decision that will cost the NSW economy at least $700 million per week.

NSW Labor has always offered bi-partisan support for the actions necessary to save people’s lives. But as the health crisis deepens, the economic support available must change to save people’s livelihoods.  

Labor also calls for the re-introduction of JobKeeper as it protects people’s jobs, boosts businesses' balance sheets, and speeds up the economic recovery.

We must follow the health advice and take all necessary actions to stop the spread of this virus. But we must also cushion the financial blow, rather than leaving people and businesses to fend for themselves.

The jobs of at least 250,000 people will be affected directly by this closure.

RACGP - Face masks: What GPs and patients need to know 

When to wear a face mask, according to the NSW Government website:

Sydney: • when using public transport

• when you are travelling in a vehicle (car) with a person you do not live with (see the guidance on carpooling)

• in Greater Sydney residential building common areas

• in non-residential indoor areas

• in airports and on commercial domestic flights.

You do not need to wear a face mask when you are

• in your home on your own

• in your home with other people you live with, except if someone in your household is self-isolating

• travelling in a vehicle (car) by yourself or with other people you live with

You must wear a fitted face mask when you are in an indoor area of a non-residential premises in NSW.

Examples of the areas where a face mask must be worn are:

• retail or business premises that provide goods or services to members of the public who attend the premises, including supermarkets

• shopping centres (excluding an indoor recreation facility in a shopping centre)

• bank branches and post offices

• hairdressing, nail, beauty, tanning and waxing salons

• spas, tattoo parlours and massage parlours

• betting agencies

• outdoors next to food and drink premises or retail premises in Greater Sydney (such as queuing  outside a café)

•indoor areas on common property of a strata titled, community titled, or company titled building

•construction sites

•any part of a licensed premises that is used for the purposes of gaming, and gaming lounges

• places of public worship being used for public worship or religious services

• residential aged care facilities

• indoor areas of schools by all staff and students from Year 7 and above in Greater Sydney (outside Greater Sydney, masks are recommended indoors for all staff and students from Year 7 and above) - some exemptions apply

• workplaces

• gym classes or dance classes

• COVID-19 Safe outdoor gatherings

• controlled outdoor gatherings

• entertainment facilities (such as theatres, cinemas, music and concert halls)

• major recreation facilities (such as stadiums, showgrounds, theme parks, racecourses, and motor racing tracks)

• indoor recreation facilities (unless it is strenuous exercise)

• indoor or outdoor areas of a fresh food market in Greater Sydney (such as the Sydney Markets at Flemington and the Sydney Fish Market)

• If you are working in an outdoor area in Greater Sydney, you must wear a face mask

• work at a hospitality venue located in NSW and

• deal directly with members of the public

 Park calls for Illawarra vaccination hub - Wave FM 96.5

Community pharmarcies must play bigger role in vaccination

Sydney: A report released today by the McKell Institute backs NSW Labor’s calls for greater involvement of community pharmacies in the vaccination program to accelerate the number of people fully vaccinated across the community.

The McKell Institute report has found accelerating the roll-out of vaccines into pharmacies could help the country reach its vaccination target of 80 per cent up to two months faster than on current projections, avoiding $12.3 billion of economic costs.

Obviously NSW as the most populous state could play an enormous part in accelerating that rollout and help prevent lockdowns like the one millions of people are experiencing now from occurring in the future.

Shadow Minister for Health Ryan Park has once again called on the NSW Government to better utilise community pharmacies to accelerate the rollout of the vaccination program and make it easier for community members to get vaccinated.

The Shadow Minister wrote to the Minister for Health last week calling on the Government to dramatically increase the number of pharmacies involved in the vaccination roll out across NSW after the Premier announced several weeks t ago that just twenty-two pharmacies across regional and rural NSW will be involved in a pilot program,” he said.

NSW Labor - Home 

NSW Labor calls for answers for residents in heart of lockdown

Sydney: NSW Labor has sought clarification regarding restrictions imposed on residents in Sydney’s southwest during the COVID-19 lockdown.

In a statement, Labor said it supported the restrictions but pointed out that people in the Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool and Fairfield local government areas (LGA) were concerned by lack of clear instructions from the NSW government.

“If further support is required for workers, businesses and tradies, particularly in those three LGAs where further movement restrictions have been imposed, then the NSW Government must act on that,” the statement read.

Labor has called on the NSW government to ensure essential services such as Service NSW and Housing NSW, that are located within those three LGAs, remain open during the crisis.

The ALP also sought clarification of issues such as can those working with victims of domestic violence leave home or leave the three LGAs for work. 


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