Your rights during the COVID‑19 pandemic

You have the right to not be discriminated against
Discrimination is against the law in certain areas, including:

employment
education
providing goods and services
accommodation
registered clubs

Your rights during the pandemic

Even during the COVID‑19 pandemic and the restrictions, you have the right to live in an environment free of discrimination.
You have the right not to be discriminated against because of your race, your pregnancy,your illness or your responsibilities as a carer.

There are a number of other protected characteristics under NSW anti-discrimination law.

More Info: ADNSW_COVID-19-Rights

NSW GOVERNMENT SUPPORTING INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS THROUGH COVID-19

Following an announcement by the NSW Government on Friday 15 May 2020, please find information below about support for International Students during COVID-19.

 

The NSW Government will fund temporary crisis accommodation for stranded international students as part of a $20 million package protecting the vulnerable and maintaining the State’s track record as a leading global study destination.

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said helping international education meant helping the whole State of NSW.

“International students are an integral part of our communities and our economy,” Mr Lee said.

“Thousands of families around the State depend on the sector – whether through direct employment, homestays or other services. 

“The package includes a temporary housing scheme, targeted at students in genuine need and delivered through approved student accommodation or homestay providers. 

“It also provides increased support via the International Legal Service NSW, making available 50,000 free subscriptions to the multilingual My Legal Mate student app”.

A new 24/7 international student support service, through the NSW Government COVID-19 hotline (13 77 88), will offer free advice and information about other measures, including the moratorium on rental evictions and medical, mental health, legal and emergency support.
 
Mr Lee said international students make a huge contribution to NSW and deserve a helping hand.

“Many have lost their part-time jobs, are unable to return to their home countries and do not qualify for Commonwealth Government support programs,” he said.

“The additional support being announced today complements efforts of our education institutions, highlighted by a combined $180 million commitment from NSW universities for their international and domestic students.”

Council of International Students Australia (CISA) president Ahmed Ademoglu welcomed the announcement. 

 “We are pleased to see the NSW Government focus on crisis accommodation for vulnerable international students, which is something that we as an association have been calling for,” Mr Ademoglu said.

Call the Service NSW hotline (13 77 88) for further information on COVID-19 support available or visit the website here. 

For any other enquiries please email contact@Multicultural.nsw.gov.au

COVID-19 WhatsApp info

Australian Government has introduced COVID-19 info via whatsapp. It is very useful to stay up to date. Here is the link – https://aus.gov.au/whatsapp

cid:image002.png@01D606A3.411FFE60

Video message to religious leaders, communities etc for this period of COVID-19

You can help us save lives: stay at home

You can make a difference. These are the best ways to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help save lives:

Stay at home. Don’t visit family and friends. Catch up online or call them instead. Don’t go out unless it’s essential. If you do have to go out, such as to buy groceries or visit your doctor, stay 1.5 metres from other people, and wash your hands as soon as you get back home.

Clean your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds.

> How to do social distancing

Self-isolate to protect your community

You need to self-isolate in your home or hotel room if you have:

  • come back from being overseas in the last 14 days
  • been in contact with someone who has COVID-19

It’s important if you’re self isolating that you stay where you are. You can only leave to get medical care or in an emergency.

> How to self-isolate

Get the facts at nsw.gov.au

For clear advice and updated information about the NSW Government’s response to COVID-19, visit nsw.gov.au.

You’ll find the latest information about:

  • help with the cost of living
  • support for businesses and workers
  • COVID-19 symptoms and what to do if you feel unwell

> Go to nsw.gov.au

Download Department of Education app

Follow the NSW Department of Education Facebook page for updates and tips on home learning.

Download the NSW School Updates app to be notified on operations at your school.

                  

Latest info: Service NSW app and hotline

The Service NSW 24-hour hotline can help you with information and support whether you’re a worker, a business or a family.

Call 13 77 88 for the latest updates on essential services, cost of living assistance, financial support for businesses and rules about social distancing.

You can do all your regular Service NSW transactions online, such as rego renewal and applying for a Regional Seniors Travel Card.

Download the Service NSW app to get COVID-19 mobile alerts about the latest restrictions as they’re announced.

                         

COVID-19 Update: NSW Health

 

 

 

Response to COVID-19: Mental Health and Wellbeing Services

It can feel overwhelming during this time as we work together to combat the spread of COVID-19 but there are organisations, services and resources out there to support your mental health and wellbeing.
There are a number of services and resources below that are available in a range of languages or that have a tailored approach to supporting diverse communities:
National Coronavirus Helpline
A list of resources about COVID-19 in other languages.
1800 020 080

Lifeline
Mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak
A free interpreting service for people who do not speak English is available at 13 11 14.
To access this service please:
1) Call TIS on 131 450 and ask to talk to Lifeline on 13 11 14 in the language required.
2) TIS will call 13 11 14 on behalf of the caller.

Transcultural Mental Health Centre
COVID-19 Information resources

Life in Mind
COVID-19 resources

Mental Health Australia
Mental Health Australia has launched a new social awareness and connection campaign to promote positive mental health and wellbeing during this time of physical distancing and heightened anxiety in our community. The best way to follow the campaign is via social media using the hashtag #LookAfterYourMentalHealthAustralia

Other National help lines and websites:

1800RESPECT
Confidential information, counselling and support service open 24 hours to support people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse.
Black Dog Institute
Information on symptoms, treatment and prevention of depression and bipolar disorder.
Carers Australia
1800 242 636
Short-term counselling and emotional and psychological support services for carers and their families in each state and territory.
MensLine Australia
1300 78 99 78
A telephone and online support, information and referral service, helping men to deal with relationship problems in a practical and effective way.

MindSpot Clinic
1800 61 44 34
An online and telephone clinic providing free assessment and treatment services for Australian adults with anxiety or depression.

National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)
Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and Aboriginal Medical Services in each state and territory.

NSW (STARTTS)
Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors
QLife
1800 184 527 3pm-12am
QLife is Australia’s first nationally-oriented counselling and referral service for LGBTI people.
Relationships Australia
1300 364 277
A provider of relationship support services for individuals, families and communities.
SANE Australia
1800 18 7263
Information about mental illness, treatments, where to go for support and help carers.
Support after Suicide
Information, resources, counselling and group support to those bereaved by suicide. Education and professional development to health, welfare and education professionals.

 

Pathology Collection Centres in Western Sydney (Covid19 Clinics)

In Western Sydney we have a “drive through Clinic” also known as a Pathology Collection Centre operating in Auburn. We also have clinics at Blacktown Hospital, Westmead Hospital and Kildare Road Medical Centre (GP Led). We have additional GO led clinics opening in Mount Druitt in the coming days and hopefully next week two additional hopefully extending to the northern area of the catchment.

 Take a look at our website which has all this information and lots of detail.

 https://wentwest.com.au/news-and-resources/novel-coronavirus/

NSW shire council opens drive-through clinic

Bellingen Shire surgeons, doctors and nurses have united to tackle the coronavirus by opening a local drive-through testing clinic. The service provides a single assessment and testing point for anyone who believes they have COVID-19. Bellingen Shire Council has asked residents only to get tested if they have travelled overseas in the last fortnight and have flu-like symptoms or been in contact with someone diagnosed with coronavirus. Patients will be swabbed and sent a result within three to six days, during which they must remain isolated. The clinic will run Monday-Saturday from 12pm to 2pm.

Blacktown City Council

An update from Dementia Australia on coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Dementia Australia will be modifying the way we approach our service delivery and activity for the time being.

The wellbeing of our community, including people living with dementia, their families and carers, clients, volunteers, supporters and staff, is our priority. We have been following the situation closely and implementing the advice from Government and Health authorities and in some instances ensuring additional safeguards with the postponement of events as discussed below.

We are working to minimise person-to-person contact in order to reduce the potential spread of the virus, whilst ensuring we continue to support people living with dementia, their families and carers.

Be reassured that our National Dementia Helpline will operate as usual, and we will continue to update our website and social media sites regularly.

Some of our regular services and activities will be delivered differently for the time being for example by phone or online. In some instances, some services and activities may be postponed. Clients who access a service that will be postponed or changed will be contacted by our staff as soon as possible.

We are continuing to look at a range of other ways to support our clients and community.

As well, some of our larger public fundraising and other events have been postponed. This includes the Memory Walk & Jog events in Ballarat, Hobart, Adelaide and Western Sydney; our National Symposium; the Masterclass series by Professor Dawn Brooker; and the Night of Gold. Ticket holders and people registered for those events have been contacted by our staff.

We understand this is a challenging time for us all and we thank you for your understanding as we put these measures in place. The needs of people living with dementia, their families and carers continue to be at the heart of what we do and we remain committed to provide the services and supports during this difficult time even if, on a practical level, that may look at bit different in the coming weeks.

If you are living with dementia or caring for someone with dementia and have any concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19) please contact your doctor or the National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500.

For the most up to date information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) please click here.

A Fact Sheet for the information and advice of older Australians in relation to COVID-19 is also available. You can find that here.

Dementia Australia has provided some advice to the Aged Care Sector on supporting people living with dementia and we will continue to develop the kinds of advice that people may find useful. You can find our most recent advice here.

Prioritising needs of people with dementia during crisis

The needs and capacity of people living with dementia must be a priority in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Hospitals, GP clinics, community health centres, community care and aged care homes are all currently responding to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak with various methods of urgent communication to their patients and clients.

Maree McCabe, CEO Dementia Australia said people living with dementia, depending on the progression of the disease, may no longer be able to follow the recommended protocols or read signs or emails that are designed to inform and protect all people living in residential or attending community settings.

“The ability to follow instructions or how to alert health professionals or other staff about potential symptoms may be a challenge, especially where there is limited capacity to communicate verbally or express pain and discomfort,” Ms McCabe said.

“There is much confusion generally about the information available with updates and new decisions changing daily to keep pace with this rapidly evolving situation. For people living with some form of cognitive impairment this can create even more uncertainty.”

Dementia Australia recommends the following actions:

Use of dementia-friendly signage with large font sizes about appropriate hygiene practice on display for residents, family carers and visitors. The messages need to be clarified for people living with dementia and especially for those who speak languages other than English.  Where possible include a picture that shows what you are trying to communicate.

People living with dementia may need extra support to ensure their hygiene is managed to reduce the risk of infection.  This may involve assistance with handwashing.

If routines are disrupted by less visitors, changes in scheduled activities or staff, time needs to be dedicated to informing and reassuring the patients or residents in a timely manner. And for people with memory issues this may mean checking in regularly to ensure they have understood.

If family are unable to visit, offering facetime, phone or video calls with family and friends to maintain communication may assist if residents and patients need reassurance.

If a client’s events or activities are cancelled try to provide alternative engagement within the home. There are many activity ideas on Dementia Australia’s website and online.

Shift handovers in the health and aged care industries, especially with relief staff unfamiliar with the person, may need to be extended to ensure there is thorough communications and directions where hygiene assistance is required.

Clear information about the personal needs and wishes of the person living with dementia is an essential part of these handovers to maintain the most supportive environment possible.

“For people living with dementia, their family, carers and friends, and for anyone in the health and aged care industries, it is important for them to know they are not alone and if they have any questions please call the National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500 for information and support,” Ms McCabe said.

Dementia Australia is the national peak body and charity for people, of all ages, living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers. It provides advocacy, support services, education and information. An estimated 459,000 people have dementia in Australia. This number is projected to reach almost 1.1 million by 2058. Dementia Australia’s services are supported by the Australian Government.

National Dementia Helpline 1800 100 500

Interpreter service available

(The National Dementia Helpline is an Australian Government Initiative)

Dementia is a National Health Priority Area

www.dementia.org.au

When talking or writing about dementia please refer to Dementia Language Guidelines

DIA Coronavirus planning changes

📌 Yesterday the NDIA announced that plans will no longer end. On the day your plan is due to expire, the NDIA will automatically extend it for 365 days. You will not need to do anything – it will happen automatically. That way there will be no gaps between plans for anyone to worry about.

📌 Your extended plan will have the same budget and supports as your current plan.

📌  The NDIA are trying not to have any face to face meetings at the moment (for obvious reasons). So around the time you are due for a review meeting, the NDIA will contact you to see if you are happy with your current plan. If you are, they will simply extend it for up to 24 months. No muss, no fuss.

📌 If you don’t currently have support coordination in your plan you can now use some of your core funding to employ a support coordinator to help you. For people trying to juggle their supports at this difficult time, this might really be a help.

We know this won’t fix everything for everyone – but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

We know there is much more that needs to be done – and we will keep pushing for it to happen.

And a couple of other things…

Last weekend (boy that already feels like a long time ago) the Minster for the NDIS Stuart Robert also announced some other important changes to help people with disability and their families manage over the coming weeks and months. They included:

📌 The NDIA will start calling “high risk” participants to make sure they have what they need

📌 A more flexible approach to using NDIS funds, including allowing people to switch between core and capacity building categories. This will only happen however with the assistance of “specialised” teams of planners. You will need to contact the NDIA if you would like to do this.

Now we know everyone still has tons of questions – we do too.

So what we are doing is talking to the NDIA regularly about what your questions are – and trying to get answers.

In the next few days we will have a new section on website which will allow you to send us your questions more easily.

In the meantime, you can find lots of information and resources on our current Coronavirus page.

We are still in there fighting…

We have joined organisations from across Australia in calling on all levels of government to urgently develop a plan to make sure people with disability and their families are safe and get the support they need over the coming weeks and months.

We also joined in calls to include people who receive the Disability Support Pension to get the extra $550 a fortnight which has been given to others who receive government payments.

You can read more about what we have been up to on our website.

And just one more thing…

It’s a tough time at the moment. The world’s been turned upside down and nothing feels quite the same.

But some things definitely have not changed – like the way everyone in this community looks out for each other.

We heard some wise words from a friend this week. She said stay well, stay safe, stay strong – and stay connected.

Because the only way we are going to get through this is together.

 

 

State Eergency Operation Centre notice

Message from NSW State emergrncy operations controller – english version

English Version 2Letter from SEOCON to Householders_FILLABLE PDF

Message from NSW Emergency operations controller

TAMIL_Message to our Communities V3- final LH

COVID-19 updates

Health – Whilst the situation is evolving, it is important that we all act on the basis of the most up-to-date medical advice available. Do not believe everything you read on the internet or Facebook. For reliable and regularly updated advice, please visit www.health.gov.au

The most important advice right now is to limit your contact with other people and stay at home as much as you can – especially older Australians.

Translated health advice can access through the SBS Multilingual Coronavirus Portal.  

 

If you have flu-like symptoms, call the National Coronavirus Health Information Hotline 24/7 on 1800 020 080.

Small businesses – Information on financial assistance measures announced by the Federal Government can be found here, or by calling 13 28 46. Information about NSW Government initiatives can be found here, or by calling 1300 795 534.

Australian Tax Office – Details about the most recent package, including tax obligations, can be found here.

Services Australia (including Centrelink) – Information on financial support for those affected by the virus, including those required to self-isolate without sufficient leave, can be found here.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Full travel advice can be found here in the first instance. For urgent consular assistance, please call the Consular Emergency Centre (CEC) in Canberra on 1300 555 135.

Education – The NSW Premier has announced that from Tuesday, 24 March, parents are encouraged to keep their children at home and access their school’s learning from home programs. Up-to-date advice can be found here.

Mental Health – It is important to care for your mental health during these uncertain times. Information is available through Lifeline here, or by calling 13 11 14.  

Speaking to kids about corona virus

CBCity Highlights

this is the link to find all information about canterbury bankstown area – www.cbcity.nsw.gov.au

here are the informations about COVID 19 at the kids level – How to explain coronavirus to kids (002) (1)

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and TIS National

 

TIS National continues to work on ensuring continuity of our interpreting services in light of the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. 

At this stage there are no changes to our current operations.  However, we would like to encourage all our clients to do the following;

  • Ensure that your contact details are up to date on all your accounts in TIS Online.
  • Establish an Automated Telephone Interpreting Service (ATIS) account to have access to our automated interpreting system, which bypasses the need to contact our contact centre to be connected to interpreters.
  • If you are not sure if you already have an ATIS account or what your ATIS account and pin numbers are, you can check this by logging into your TIS Online account.

Further information about ATIS can be found on our website.

You can register for an ATIS account by completing an online application form on our website.

If you need assistance, please contact our Client Liaison team on 1300 655 820, Monday to Friday 9am-5pm (AET) or by email tispromo@homeaffairs.gov.au.

 

 

This is some serious stuff, but you can do it.

No photo description available.

The Prime Minister of Australia has issued a media statement 18/03/20 : update-coronavirus-measures

Click the following link to see the full statement : https://www.pm.gov.au/media/update-coronavirus-measures

An extract of the Aged Care and Older Australians has been included below:

Aged Care and Older Australians 

As the transmission of COVID-19 increases rapidly, it is our priority to protect and support elderly and vulnerable Australians. Aged care is a critical sector that faces staffing challenges as existing staff are either subject to self-isolation requirements due to COVID-19 or are unable  to attend work. 

The National Cabinet has agreed to the recommendations by the AHPPC to enhanced arrangements to protect older Australians in Residential Aged Care Facilities and in the community

Restrictions on entry into aged care facilities

The following visitors and staff (including visiting workers) should not be permitted to enter the facility:

o    Those who have returned from overseas in the last 14 days;

o    Those who have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days;

o    Those with fever or symptoms of acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath); and

o    Those who have not been vaccinated against influenza (after 1 May) 

Visitors

Aged care facilities should implement the following measures for restricting visits and visitors to reduce the risk of transmission to residents, including: 

o    Limiting visits to a short duration;

o    Limiting visits to a maximum of two immediate social supports (family members, close friends) or professional service or advocacy at one time, per day;

o    Visits should be conducted in a resident’s room, outdoors, or in a specific area designated by the aged care facility, rather than communal areas where the risk of transmission to residents is greater;

o    No large group visits or gatherings, including social activities or entertainment, should be permitted at this time;

o    No school groups of any size should be allowed to visit aged care facilities.

o    Visitors should also be encouraged to practise social distancing practices where possible, including maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres.

o    Children aged 16 years or less must be permitted only by exception, as they are generally unable to comply with hygiene measures. Exemptions can be assessed on a case-by-case basis, for example, where the resident is in a palliative care scenario.

o    Measures such as phone or video calls must be accessible to all residents to enable more regular communication with family members. Family and friends should be encouraged to maintain contact with residents by phone and other social communication apps, as appropriate. 

Managing illness in visitors and staff

Aged care facilities should advise all regular visitors and staff to be vigilant for illness and use hygiene measures including social distancing, and to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, specifically fever and acute respiratory illness.  They should be instructed to stay away when unwell, for their own and residents’ protection.

Given the high vulnerability of this particular group, aged care facilities should request that staff and visitors provide details on their current health status, particularly presentation of symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Screening for fever could also be considered upon entry.

These additional measures should be implemented in order to better protect residents and prompt individuals entering the aged care facility to consider their current state of health prior to entry. Both individuals and management need to take responsibility for the health of visitors and staff at facilities to protect our most vulnerable community members.

These are the recommendations of the AHPPC, individual facilities may choose to implement additional measures as they see fit for their circumstances.

Symptomatic staff

Staff should be made aware of early signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Any staff with fever or symptoms of acute respiratory infection (e.g. cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath) should be excluded from the workplace and tested for COVID-19. Staff must report their symptoms to the aged care facility.

Further information is available at: https://www.health.gov.au/committees-and-groups/australian-health-protection-principal-committee-ahppc

The Alliance of Independent Professionals

STATUS STATEMENT I:  20-03-2020
Sri Lanka’s Response to COVID-19
 
Health Sector
Sri Lanka boasts one of the most robust public healthcare systems in the world, with free comprehensive primary, surgical and pharmaceutical care available to all citizens almost completely free of charge. Although there is a shortage of over 6,000 medical officers to meet international standards of doctors per capita, almost all villages have access to medical officers free of charge. Sri Lanka has proven to have one of the best medical systems in the world in the control of infectious disease, having avoided serious impact from the 2002 SARS outbreak and 2009 swine flu pandemics. Sri Lanka has well established private medical facilities, mainly in the cities. Most of the government specialist medical officers do also serve private establishments for a fee, while most other ordinary doctors engage in private practice. All professions in the medical field in the public sector, including doctors, nurses, academics in the sector and services supplementary to medicine are highly unionized and are known to be connected to political parties, with union motivations notoriously driven by political ends. However, the public still trust public health facilities, which are all free of charge. Sri Lanka has also a rich heritage of Ayurveda (traditional medicine) widely practiced in rural areas.

Government Medial Officer Association (GMOA) is the most powerful medical officers trade union, which in practice controls the medical sector, representing a vast majority of state medical officers. They were actively engaged in political campaigns supporting former President Mahinda Rajapakse and the election campaign of incumbent President Gotabaya Rajapakse. GMOA is also known for its hard-line against private medical education in the country.

Current political climate
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected as president in November 2019 with a huge majority and a victory that came completely from the Sinhala Buddhist majority areas, while the President badly lost in areas where ethnic Tamils and Muslim minorities are more populous, and ethnic tensions prevail between the minorities and Majority Sinhala Buddhists.  Buddhist monks with unprecedented unity and political power supported the President with house to house campaigning and the use of their temples for political events. Parliament was dissolved on 2nd March 2020 fixing the parliamentary elections for 25th April 2020. President Rajapaksa’s party was expected widely to win the election in the majority control areas. At present the parliament is dissolved but the cabinet continues till the election is over. The president decided to proceed with the election as planned despite the global pandemic, however the independent Elections Commission has accepted the nominations and announced that the poll will be postponed indefinitely.

The move of the Election Commission has angered the government, who seemed hopeful of capitalizing on the pandemic to secure a two-thirds majority in Parliament. Addressing the nation earlier this week about the national response to the pandemic, President Rajapaksa dismissed the idea of postponing elections, and told the people of Sri Lanka that his political party must win the elections with at least a two-thirds majority in Parliament in order to successfully combat the COVID-19 virus.
 
Health Response
The government has thus far relied on the military, primarily on Army Commander Shavendra Silva instead of health officials  and network in order to tackle the crisis. Government has established a few quarantine centres and is in the process of establishing more, all apparently under the administrative control of the military. Nearly all the quarantine centres are located in the North and East, where the minority communities are concentrated. In some areas there are protests over establishment of those centres. Sri Lankan military proved to be extremely efficient in countering LTTE, internationally banned terrorist organisation. However, both the military and the LTTE were accused of committing war crimes during the long-drawn war. President Rajapaksa has long indicated a preference to transfer many civilian government functions to military control. The recently established National Operations Centre to combat the pandemic, including health officials and cabinet ministers, has also been placed under the command of Army Commander Shavendra Silva, marking the first time in Sri Lanka’s history that elected officials have been placed under the administrative control of a military commander.

Sri Lanka gradually introduced travel controls on several countries such as the UK, USA, Italy, South Korea etc but resisted calls to introduce a travel ban on China. There are over 30,000 Chinese migrants lawfully working in several sectors including construction sector and frequents travellers do travel between the two countries. Sri Lanka is highly dependent on China politically, militarily and economically. President Gotabaya Rajapakse is known to be closely associated with the Chinese political elite.
Sri Lankan returnees, mainly Sinhalese, from Italy and Korea appear to have evaded the government’s attempts at quarantine measures. Social media actively distributed information on the recent returnees, asking the police or military to quarantine them, largely to no avail.  There are over 1.5 million migrant worker from Sri Lankan,  working mainly in the Middle East and including Italy and South Korea. Some of the returnees have attempted to escape the quarantine centres.

Last week, Sri Lanka introduced a temporary one-week blanket global ban on commercial air traffic arrivals to the country. Poor communication around the implementation of the ban, and a lack of coordination or consultation with international airlines has led to mass cancellations of scheduled commercial air traffic and a decline in cargo aircraft travelling to Sri Lanka, which has created logistical barriers for the import of critically needed medical supplies and equipment. The botched implementation was managed by Civil Aviation Authority Chairman Upul Dharmadasa, whose qualifications for being appointed to the post were that he served as President Rajapaksa’s private travel agent in California until November 2019.

There is no evidence of Sri Lanka having sufficient test kits or quarantine facilities if the virus goes out of control. However, due to its socio-political set up, there will be favourable treatment for patients from elite and politically connected people. Private hospitals are now offering tests for a substantial fee. Prior to the pandemic, Sri Lanka was already facing economic challenges and an impending balance of payments crisis. President granted a huge economic package targeting the forthcoming parliamentary elections and this includes tax waivers, however the plan has not been passed by the legislature. As China is on economic trouble, Sri Lanka fears it may not get expected economic support from China, making President unpopular. People are yet to see a specific economic package due to the corona outbreak.
 
Government’s Priorities
The mainstream media is fully controlled by the Government and one hardly sees in any mainstream media any critical or objective reporting of the government’s handling of the crisis. The political opposition is inactive and occupied with infighting. The once vibrant civil society sector, which contributed to the dethroning of the Rajapaksa government in 2015, is fast deteriorating, with the President’s newly empowered military intelligence wing having infiltrated most civil society organisations and placed their leaders under surveillance. The focus of the government remains the undoing of criminal cases against its top echelons and supporters involving financial and violent crimes in which the President, his relatives, military intelligence officers and other ruling party members have been implicated. Charges before the courts include the abduction and murder of journalists, extortion of civilian families and murder of children, frauds in military procurements and bribery charges involving SriLankan Airlines and the Airbus company.

The President appointed a Presidential Commission consisting of his trusted three individuals headed by a notoriously corrupt retired Supreme Court Judge Upali Abeyratne with a view to clearing the   suspects from the allegations. All institutions have slowed down their work but this commission has expedited their work targeting the forthcoming elections. This commission, the police and defence ministry have worked to systematically sideline and persecute police officers involved in investigating crimes allegedly committed by members of the new regime. This has involved winding down the Financial Crime investigation group (FCID) and purging the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of nearly all veteran sleuths with experience in counter-terrorism, complex crime, international law enforcement cooperation and anti-money laundering work. The new director if the CID is a former bodyguard of the prime minister with no criminal investigation experience.

Since November 2019, the President has directed removal or recalling of 700 Directors in public corporations and Ambassadors in several major countries but has failed to appoint many of them. Those who were appointed are known to be closely connected to President’s business, family friends and military friends.

Although the Constitution permits the President to summon parliament in an emergency situation, under Article 70(7), parliament has not yet been summoned. It appears that the health emergency is either not understood nor not treated as a priority of the government. Independent medical advice is not available to the government as the government is fully dependent on the GMOA and military personnel in their pandemic response efforts, having sidelined professional civil service officers, independent experts and epidemiologists. Both the government and the GMOA are hindered by a deep distrust of most of Sri Lanka’s traditional liberally governed and democratic allied nations.
 

Coronavirus information for partner organisations and multicultural communities

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Multicultural Health would appreciate organisations that work with migrant and refugee communities to provide coronavirus information to their clients.

WSLHD Public Health Unit developed a short presentation with key messages for our multicultural communities.

Also, NSW Health has a number of resources in English and community languages that can assist people to protect themselves. Organisations and community members are encouraged to access information on NSW Health website, which is the most reliable source of information and is updated regularly.

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/alerts/Pages/coronavirus-faqs.aspx

Information is available in English and community languages including Arabic, Bahasa/Indonesian, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Farsi, Italian, Korean , Thai and Vietnamese.

Covid-19 posters are available in: Arabic, Assyrian, Bahasa/Indonesian, Bengla, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Farsi, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Mongolian, Nepali, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese.

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus-resources-cald.aspx

The current recommendations provided by the Public Health Unit and WSLHD regarding the associated risk with the coronavirus situation is to:

  1. Discourage large gatherings
  2. Maintain recommended social distance of 1.5 m
  3. Maintain good hand hygiene
  4. If event organisers are unable to determine who are high risk participants (not able to screen people) – be aware of risks associated. Keep events/meetings to essentials.
  5. Consider basic screening procedures if event has to go ahead.

We ask our community partners to consider options to identify high risk clients:

  • Providing signage/ posters displaying COVID-19 information and hand hygiene in common areas

 https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/diseases/Pages/coronavirus-businesses.aspx

  • asking clients whether they have been overseas in the last 14 days or have had close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19 while infectious, in the previous 14 days
  • asking if they have any symptoms

For clients who meet the above criteria:

  • remind that they should self-isolate themselves at home for 14 days after they returned or have had contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19 while infectious
  • for clients that experience or develop any of the symptoms especially respiratory symptoms or fever to call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or contact their GP to seek medical advice. Healthdirect can be contacted using Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS)  13 14 50.

Resources: 

hand-rub hand-wash-poster-printer-friendly covid-19-washed-hands-a3 covid-19-protect-a3-portrait hand-wash-mandarin covid-19-seek-help-poster covid-19-ed-poster hand-wash-community Messages for the Iranian community 11 March 2020 WSLHD English Messages for the Iranian community 11 March 2020 WSLHD Farsi

Australian Psychology Society – Tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety

As the number of coronavirus cases rise across Australia, the level of anxiety within the community is increasing. Feelings of worry and unease can be expected following a stressful event, such as the recent declaration of a global pandemic, however, it is important that we learn to manage our stress before it turns to more severe anxiety and panic. This information sheet outlines some useful strategies which can help both adults and children cope with the stress or anxiety experienced as a result of the coronavirus outbreak

coronavius anxiety.pdf

COVID-19: What you need to know

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is rapidly evolving. We all have a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting our community. The best way to stay informed with the latest advice about COVID-19, and to access multilingual resources is to follow updates

on the NSW Health website.

As of 18 March 2020, all non-essential indoor public gatherings of 100 people or more are immediately banned in NSW and across Australia. The ban on outdoor public gatherings of 500 people or more also continues to apply. These measures apply to cultural and religious gatherings.  Please refer to the latest Media Release from NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard or for more information, visit the NSW Health website.

For the latest FAQs, factsheets and advice about public gatherings see: https://multicultural.nsw.gov.au/urgent-updates

For information, call the Australian Government’s National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.

COVID-19 and Centrelink

In light of the impact of COVID-19, Economic Justice Australia has published a factsheet which provides information on what Centrelink can do for people affected by COVID-19. The factsheet covers:

  • Economic Support Payment for Centrelink recipients
  • Mutual Obligations
  • Payments if you don’t currently get Centrelink
  • Asset Hardship Provisions

The factsheet on COVID-19 and Centrelink is available at http://ejaustralia.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-and-Centrelink.pdf

People who need legal help with Centrelink issues can find their local Economic Justice Australia member centre at http://ejaustralia.org.au/