Sydney, Aug 18 (IANS) There is little doubt that essential workers have kept the wheels of Australia's largest city turning over the course of its almost two-month lockdown.But for those who stock supermarket shelves, drive buses, deliver the mail and provide care to the elderly and disabled along with a myriad of other services that hold the city together, adapting to the changing health guidelines, maintaining a steady income, and keeping their communities safe has become a constant balancing act, the Xinhua news agency reported.Australians in casual and low-paid industries are often forced to work multiple jobs and have little access to paid sick leave and other entitlements of full-time employees.The pandemic has only exacerbated this trend and left more workers and their communities vulnerable. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about 32 percent of Australians held multiple jobs by March 2021, a sharp increase from 24 per cent for the same time in 2020.David Smith, a 26-year-old man living in Sydney's western suburbs, is one of the Aussies that has had to adapt to a community under siege from the virulent Delta strain of Covid-19.Smith had planned to live off his savings for the duration of the lockdown, but as stay-at-home orders continuously extended, he was forced to re-enter the workforce.After a month at home, Smith took a temporary job in a designated essential industry, so now from Monday to Friday and sometimes on Saturdays, he wakes up just before sunrise to make his 7 a.m. shift at his new job in a factory that processes deliveries for Japanese clothing retail giant UNIQLO. At work, he is required to check in with a QR code, wear a mask the whole day, and take staggered lunch breaks.Smith told Xinhua that with his partner recently losing her job he had little choice but to look for something new."I need to get out of the house and pretty soon we are going to need the money," he said.Smith got his job through a recruitment agency, many of which have come in to try and meet the surging labor demand across essential industries.He was hired to replace a score of employees who were flagged as close contacts of COVID-19 cases and required by the government to isolate at home for 14 days."The people have been put on a two-week leave, and because it's through an agency that the leave is unpaid... but heaps of these guys have a second job," Smith said.Natasha Cortis, associate professor at the University of New South Wales and expert in employment and workplace issues, told Xinhua that the practice of agencies providing surge labor capacity was problematic at a time when increased movement could spread the virus."There are kind of these gaps in the rules that were intended to end this practice of working across sites, but those gaps haven't been filled," Cortis said.Essential industries are having to adapt by quickly turning over staff to remain in operation and casual workers are left to either pick up the cost or move on to another job regardless of their contract status.Cortis commented on the effectiveness of the 320-Australian-dollar (about 230 U.S. dollars) isolation payments introduced in the state of New South Wales (NSW) last Friday, which would have on incentivizing the workers to stay home."It's definitely better than nothing, and it's a symbolic recognition as well as a material incentive to stay home," she said.Around 18 percent of workers with multiple jobs are in Australia's health care and social services industries; jobs with the risk of spreading the virus may be especially catastrophic.Camille is one of the workers in Sydney's aged and disability care industry. Supporting clients in Sydney's epicenter in the city's west, she told Xinhua that although she has been vaccinated, infecting a client remained a constant worry."We have to limit our exposure in the public. I've stopped taking public transport to make sure when I go to our client's place, I'm not carrying the virus," she said.Under the government's restrictions, she is required to take a Covid-19 test every 48 hours, and under her companies' advice, she has also begun using rideshare services such as Uber to get to work to avoid additional exposure on public transport.She has been left to foot the bill both in time spent going out to get tested and additional transport costs.Cortis said while the pandemic has put extra strain on people in essential and low-paying industries, it has also highlighted the fact that they were crucial to the functioning of the society."I think last year there was quite a lot of celebration and recognition of the importance of essential workers, and also how dependent we are on them, and how dependent we are on groups that have traditionally been seen as low status, low pay, or low prestige."She said it was important to consider how the pandemic has disproportionately affected different members of society."The costs of the pandemic are kind of being pushed on to those low-income, essential workers," she said.--IANSint/arm
New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANSlife) Monsoons bring with it odour, dampness and germs and it becomes important to upgrade your essentials and innerwear during this period.Gaurav Pushkar, Co-founder, DaMENSCH and Harshit Vij, Co-founder and CEO, Freecultr, suggest ways to have a lovely, fresh rainy season: Pick the right fabric:Rains bring in dampness and humidity. Meaning, choose a wearable which dries faster and wicks sweat quicker. The fabric quality is something one must never compromise with as innerwear is the most intimate apparel. Especially in monsoon, when humidity is high, one sweats a lot. If this sweat stays on the body for long it may lead to rashes, fungal infections and worse. Choose a fabric that's moisture wicking and a fit that's neither too tight nor too loose. Innerwear made from MicroModal fabric is much more breathable and three times softer than cotton.Go antibacterial:Monsoons mean moisture, which means stickiness and itchiness from bacteria and other microbes. Look for fabric with a bacteriostatic function that doesn't let bacteria grow, and hence quickly cancels all odour.Odourless is best:With clothes drying slower than usual, they tend to retain the damp smell. Choose underwear made from fabric which has the capacity to absorb the foul odour, and keeps you confident all day!If you're into fitness:Look for absorbent products that are more stretchable and flexible along with durability for longer runs. Additionally, an elasticated waistband that is snug but doesn't give any marks on the waist, is an ideal pick.Invest in good quality innerwear for your health and comfort, especially during monsoon.(IANSlife can be contacted at [email protected])--IANSsj/
New York, July 14 (IANS) Science, not speculation, is essential to determine how COVID-19 reached humans, and relying on espionage agents only replaces science with politics, a U.S. scholar has said.John Richard Schrock, former chairman of the biology department at the Emporia State University, made the comments while echoing a joint statement of 24 international scientists, which was published on the premier medical journal The Lancet on July 5 to refute the widespread lab-leak theory."We believe the strongest clue from new, credible, and peer-reviewed evidence in the scientific literature is that the virus evolved in nature, while suggestions of a laboratory-leak source of the pandemic remain without scientifically validated evidence that directly supports it in peer-reviewed scientific journals," the scholar said in the statement, Xinhua reported."The claim of a torpedo attack in the second Gulf of Tonkin incident led to an escalation of the Vietnam War -- but there was no torpedo attack," said Schrock in his article published on the Salina Post, a local newspaper in the U.S. Midwestern state of Kansas, on Monday."'Intelligence' that (the fifth president of Iraq) Saddam Hussein was harboring weapons of mass destruction (nuclear and chemical weapons) was used to justify the Iraq war -- but there were no such weapons," said Schrock, also editor of the Kansas School Naturalist at the Emporia State University, who used to teach various classes at universities in China."Science is far more reliable. But science takes time," he added.--IANSint/kr
<br>While vaccines were developed at an unprecedented speed, their rollout was not equal. Just 3.2 billion people in the world have been vaccinated. Only 1 per cent people in low-income countries have been given at least one dose, while more than 80 per cent of the doses have gone to people in high-income and upper middle-income countries. Many countries, in the developing world, lack the jabs to continue with their inoculation programmes."Given a limited global production capacity, the only way to achieve global equity in the near term is for countries with access to Covid-19 vaccines to provide vaccines to countries without that access. Preferably this should be through the COVAX facility," Bruce Gellin, Chief of Global Health Policy, The Rockefeller Foundation, told IANS.The COVAX programme, which is the international vaccine-sharing initiative led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other international organisations, initially set a target of providing two billion doses worldwide by the end of 2021. However, it has so far delivered only 90 million doses to 131 countries, and it is nowhere near enough to protect populations from the deadly virus, the WHO said.Of the 80 low-income countries involved in COVAX, "at least half of them do not have sufficient vaccines to be able to sustain their programmes right now", the global health agency said.Recently, the US committed to donate 75 per cent of the unused Covid-19 vaccines to COVAX and the strong commitment coming from the G7 meetings reinforces the importance of this principle. Last month, the Group of Seven (G7) countries -- Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US -- pledged to donate one billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines to poor countries to help vaccinate the world by the end of 2022.However, despite the donations most people in the poorest countries will need to wait till 2023 before they are vaccinated against COVID-19, 'Nature' quoted researchers from the International Monetary Fund as saying."Vaccines don't save lives, vaccinations do, which is why it's critically important not only to focus on vaccine supply but also to ensure there is equitable distribution," Gellin said. He added that it is important to ensure that vaccination programmes are able to reach those at highest risk of infection and complications, such as health care workers."As production increases and as surplus vaccines are donated, ensuring that vaccines become vaccinations to achieve not only global equity, but in-country equity will require the support needed to reach those who will benefit most," Gellin said.Gellin stressed on the need to enhance testing and genomic surveillance along with monitoring vaccine effectiveness to curb Covid-19 from spreading. But, it is also essential to keep a careful eye on the ever-evolving variants to determine if they are evading the immunity in the population (whether it's from natural infection or from vaccination).Various studies and experts have shown that SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19, is here to stay. Besides the virus, the variants it produces are also expected to remain present. The goal should be to limit their spread and reduce the impact that they have on individuals and in communities."Boost testing and increase genomic surveillance of the virus samples we collect. This will let us stay on the front foot in fighting this pandemic," Gellin said.But, "we need not only genomic surveillance, but also to continue to monitor vaccine effectiveness against the strains that are circulating", Gellin said.(Rachel V Thomas can be reached at [email protected])--IANS<br>rvt/bg
Male, June 23 (IANS) With the Covid-19 cases dropping below 200 in Maldives, the authorities on Wednesday lifted restrictions on domestic non-essential travel and also reduced curfew hours.The President's spokesperson Mabrook Azeez on Tuesday announced that travel between islands that are not under monitoring for Covid-19 spread will be allowed without the need for a special permit starting Wednesday, Xinhua reported. Restrictions on travel to islands with guesthouses of tourists will remain, he said.The ban on non-essential travel was imposed on May 4 amid a surge of Covid-19 cases in the country.Azeez also announced that curfew hours in the capital Male would be shortened by two hours and last from 6:00 pm to 4:00 am (local time).Azeez said that the extra time was intended to allow people to conduct business and access essential services.According to revised regulations by the government, gyms will be allowed to operate with a Health Protection Authority (HPA) approved service plan, while cafes and restaurants will be permitted to offer takeaway services during non-curfew hours.Another 145 cases of Covid-19 were recorded in the Maldives on Tuesday, down from 253 new cases recorded on Monday. New cases have declined from a high of over 2,000 a day in May when stronger restrictions were introduced.There are currently 4,569 active cases in the Maldives, out of which 39 have been hospitalized for treatment. A total of 207 people have died due to Covid-19 in the country. --IANSint/
During the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, many cases of children getting infected from the deadly virus have been reported. It starts off with milder symptoms in kids but it gets severe if it's not taken seriously. Therefore, it's essential that parents be aware of the symptoms and seek medical help immediately.
Nishant Bansal, Consultant Neonatologist, Motherhood Hospital, Noida, lists down some signs and symptoms of Covid-19 in kids:
Covid-19 has a range of symptoms including
* trouble breathing
* symptoms of a cold such as a sore throat, congestion, or a running nose
* muscle pain
* a loss of taste or smell in children above 8 years of age
* nausea or vomiting
Even inflammation throughout the body remains a major concern even sometimes several weeks after they were infected with the virus. This is called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). Doctors are still trying to find out how these symptoms are related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bansal shares symptoms of MIS-C can include:
* belly pain
* vomiting or diarrhoea
* a rash
* neck pain
* red eyes
* feeling very tired
* red, cracked lips
* swollen hands or feet
* swollen glands (lymph nodes)
If your kid is suffering from MIS-C, she or he might have trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest, bluish lips or face, confusion, or trouble staying awake. Such symptoms should not be ignored and the kid should be taken to the hospital. It has been observed that those kids get better with hospital care, sometimes ICU admissions, he points out.
If a child has symptoms, what to do? Answers the expert:
Seeing and examining the condition of the child, the doctor will then decide how to go about it: If it can be treated at home, if one should come in for a visit, or if one can have a video or telehealth visit.
How to keep other members safe if the child has symptoms?
Bansal says: "It's essential that all the family members stay at home until their test reports arrive. Make sure that people and pets in the house are away from your child as much as possible. Ensure that only one person in the family is handling the care of the sick child. If the infected child is above two-years-old then he/she should wear a mask at least for the time when the caregiver is in the room. Don't leave the child alone for a long time by putting on his/her mask. If the sick child is using the same washroom then wipe down the bathroom with disinfectant after he/she uses it. Other family members should sanitize their hands at regular intervals."
However, the family should not panic. Covid-19 vaccines are now available for people who are 18 and older. Even the doses for infants are on trial currently. Everyone should get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible.
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