By Sam KemmisOn the river and through the woods, at… a hotel near grandma’s house where we are going? A few weeks ago, I wrote about how and if I should book flights for the holidays. Since then, a few people have asked what I think of vacation travel this year. Will the airports be crowded? Or will caution prevail? Are the prices of airline tickets and hotels going to increase? Or will they stay at their current bargain prices? Only a fool would try to make predictions about the future at this point, so let’s call these “guesstimaybes”. I’ll use data and projections where possible, but even that can only work better than a crystal ball these days. Guesstimaybe # 1: Airline ticket prices will go up, But not by much Based on research from the Hopper airfare search service, Yuletide airfares across the country are down 40% from 2019. And frankly, that doesn’t sound dramatic enough from what I’m seeing. . I remember telling a friend last year about booking return flights from Seattle to St. Louis in December for around $ 700. This year, you can take the same flight for $ 212 in the heart of the holiday season, yet the same Hopper report found that 39% of survey respondents plan to travel for the holidays this year, of which three-quarters are planning to travel. to board a plane. in December. And only 17% of these potential vacationers have booked their flight yet. >> Also, from Robert Powell’s daily retreat on TheStreet: Should you give family financial support? In other words, there is a lot of (potentially) increase in demand. If respondents who say they plan to travel but haven’t booked their tickets yet do so, we could see steep price hikes, crowded planes and long security lines. Unless you are absolutely desperate for things to “get back to normal”, that would be bad news. My prediction: Many of these plans are wishful thinking. Some Covid-19 models predict things will get worse by December. But even if the infection trends remain the same, visiting loved ones during the busiest travel season of the year will remain a relatively risky business. Hope (and hope) a lot of feet will get cold as the weather does.Guesstimaybe # 2: Small Town Accommodation Will Be Expensive Those in dire need of turkey or human companionship who are ready to fly this year will need a place to stay. Some, no doubt, will crash onto the sofa bed as usual. But many will want to find independent accommodation to protect themselves and their families. And this is where things could get interesting. I don’t expect hotel or vacation rental prices to go up much in the big cities, which have plenty of rooms to accommodate business travelers ( before their extinction). However, small and medium-sized towns might see a shortage of supply as more travelers than usual seek their own rooms this year.If I was planning to travel for vacation and was visiting a small town, I would book my room in advance. And I will make sure I can cancel it for free. Guesstimaybe # 3: The tests will be tight “My family has planned everything. We are all going to get tested before we meet, and then together form a confined “home” once everyone has their negative results. “It is an excellent idea! The only problem is that everyone has the same plan. Under normal circumstances, I would say the test makers would predict this surge and plan accordingly, but… well… uh… who knows? you wait for your return flight. I recommend making a plan that doesn’t require quick, last-minute test results. Guesstimaybe # 4: The Holidays Will Be What We Make Them The 2020 theme seems to be ‘letting go’, and nowhere does that was approached on our collective heads more than trying to plan a trip. Many of us hold onto the idea that we can celebrate the holidays the way we normally do: when we get home. But maybe it’s time to ditch that idea: does that mean we have to sit home alone and sadly choose a microwave turkey dinner? Not necessarily, although at least we wouldn’t have to listen to Uncle John rave about conspiracy theories. Instead of hanging on to the way things used to be, we have the opportunity to forge new traditions this year. Traveling on vacation has always been an expensive and stressful business. Maybe it’s time we tried something else. This article is reprinted with permission from NerdWallet. More from NerdWallet Sam Kemmis is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @samsambutdif. .
TOKYO (AP) – Top diplomats from the US, Australia and India plan to gather in Tokyo next week to discuss regional issues with them, such as China’s increasingly assertive action, in the first face-to-face meeting Japan will hold since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told reporters Tuesday that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar will meet for the October 6 talks.
Motegi said the four ministers were expected to discuss ways to promote a “free and open Indo-Pacific,” a concept of security and economic cooperation that has been pushed by Japan and the United States in the face of China’s growing assertiveness in the region.
“It is very appropriate for the four foreign ministers who share the same concerns over the regional situation” to share their views directly, Motegi said. He said they were expected to discuss the coronavirus and the economy hurt by the pandemic and other regional concerns.
“The vision of a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ will become even more important in a post-corona virus world,” he said. “To achieve this, I hope to confirm at the next meeting the importance of deepening our cooperation with other countries.”
Motegi said Japan’s new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga could also meet Pompeo on the sidelines of talks in his first face-to-face meeting with a top foreign official since taking office. Suga is also expected to meet with Australian and Indian foreign ministers.
The Socialist Equality Party (Australia) hosts an online health worker forum
By our reporter
29 September 2020
The Socialist Equality Party (Australia) held a successful online forum on September 19 to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis of capitalism and the way forward for healthcare workers. More than 50 people participated from across Australia, including nurses, doctors, elderly care workers and workers with disabilities.
The meeting comes as the Australian government, encouraged by corporate media, is stepping up their move towards a full “back to work”, in defiance of expert medical advice and warnings from health workers that they are still not being provided with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).
The number of health workers in Victoria, the national epicenter of Australia’s COVID-19 infection, continues to rise. Health worker infections accounted for about 20 percent of new COVID-19 cases between July and August, with nearly half among elderly care employees.
The COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis of capitalism, and the way forward for healthcare workers
Gary Alvernia, a junior physician, member of the SEP national committee and a writer for World Socialist Website, provide the opening report to the forum. He highlighted the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic worldwide and the government’s criminal response internationally. Wall Street’s large, trillion-dollar corporate bailout, which far outstripped any corporate award in 2008, stands in stark contrast to the response of governments around the world to the threat of the pandemic to lives and livelihoods.
“Even as the virus spreads, governments and health authorities reject the most basic measures of quarantine and testing, which allow groups of infections to rapidly grow from tens, hundreds, to thousands before taking any action,” he said.
Julia Thomas, a member of the Socialist Equality Party’s national committee, reported on the situation in Australia and the attacks on health workers and the health care system. He also outlined the SEP’s struggle for a socialist perspective and the need for workers to establish workplace safety committees to “uphold health and safety conditions in workplaces and hospitals and to organize resistance, including strikes, against unsafe conditions and to defend jobs. , wages and conditions. “
Tom Peters, a leading member of the Socialist Equality Group in New Zealand, also spoke. “In New Zealand, as in Australia, the United States, and elsewhere, governments have given tens of billions of dollars – trillions of dollars on a world scale – to save big businesses and banks … and health care workers are being told that there is not enough money to pay for it. them, “he said.
Erika, a teacher and member of the General Education Committee, emphasized the parallels between the conditions faced by teachers and health workers and emphasized that, “This situation was created by unions, be they health unions or teachers’ unions … teachers unions today …, under capitalism, acting as a police force against workers’ demands. “
In a lively question and answer session, participants asked many questions, including what the socialist response was to the pandemic. In the chat box, several health workers described their experiences during the pandemic.
One worker wrote, “Even though there is no or limited lockdown and the virus is circulating in the community, residents in nursing homes and homes for the disabled are locked without access to family and social support.
“There is almost no training in the disability sector. There is a lot of direction in my disability service on infection control, but due to limited training and supervision, and the use of freelance staff hired through agencies, it may only be a matter of time before an outbreak occurs. “
Another commented, “I work in a cancer hospital in Melbourne… we have all had their temperatures checked for months, were offered lots of PPE and lots of education on how to use them. As a result, we only had one infected patient, who infected two staff members, and the outbreak was contained by that time…
“Compare this to St Basil’s nursing home, where two staff are paid $ 22 per hour to meet the needs of 150 residents! Many residents are dying of dehydration, namely being neglected. My husband is a funeral director and has been burying this poor old sacrificial lamb for weeks. Horrible. “
After the forum, files World Socialist Website talk to other participants.
A young nurse from Melbourne said: “I thought the meeting was very educational. Glad to hear the information. I don’t think the Australian government took the coronavirus seriously from the start. There is too much misinformation, that it is like the flu, which only affects the elderly or those with suppressed immune systems. No one was told in advance what that meant.
“As a health worker, you register to put yourself in that position, but we are not martyrs, we have to be provided with equipment to maintain security and the government has to be more serious. I want to be a nurse and help people, but I don’t want to lose my life. I don’t want to make my family sick. See what’s going on in elderly care. They already get money, but they make excuses why they don’t provide PPE. The patients were unprotected.
“Luckily the meeting discussed trade unions, and they didn’t do much to help health workers. I have heard good things about ANMF [Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation] but not seen as political. Many nurses only see it as insurance, but hearing how the union doesn’t get involved is disappointing.
“I think the rank-and-file security committee is a great idea. I found that very interesting, because I hoped the union would do something more. If our unions do nothing then we have to help ourselves as workers. Management always sided with the big guys; doesn’t support real workers.
“When I hear terms like Trump’s ‘China virus’, it’s just fear of China for its own agenda. I hate it when something like that gets revealed.
We, the workers out there who work every day, who don’t work from home, and then we get blamed for the transmission. As for the United States, the way workers earn only $ 1,200 to survive – I have no words for that. The system doesn’t work for us – we don’t win in the end and that’s our life. “
An elderly nurse in Melbourne, who participated in the meeting with her husband, caught COVID-19 at work. Her husband spoke on her behalf:
“All over the world, all governments are the same – there is only official indifference about COVID-19 – but around the world health workers are not prepared for the situation because they are not trained for it. In Australia, health workers are asked to work with inadequate training, ”he said.
“My wife works in two units at the facility, and doesn’t know which unit she was infected from. First there were two infected people, they were not separated, then 20 were infected, then 26 out of a total of 28. She was transferred to a place where there were two more infected, but they were separated. However, 13 staff were infected and the union did nothing. We called the union, but got no support at all. They send letters and masks.
“Ranking committees and archives are a good idea, if possible. We don’t believe in unions and we are only members because there is nothing more that can be done.
“What [former Prime Minister] Tony Abbott says it’s like a plan to get rid of parents. They put money before life. All governments in the world want a deliberate plan to get rid of all parents. “
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian defense personnel are deployed to Port Hedland, one of the world’s largest iron ore loading ports, to help contain the coronavirus outbreak on the bulk carrier that last changed crew in the main shipping city of Manila.
Seventeen of the transport’s 21 crew members have tested positive for the virus, the owner of the ship Oldendorff Carriers said in a statement.
Ten infected crew members have been transferred to hotel quarantine while seven infected workers remain on board as part of the 11-person crew, authorities said.
Oldendorff said the Manila crew changeover on September 5 complied with all protocols.
“All crew members tested negative for the virus before leaving the Philippines,” said Oldendorff.
The ship, which is scheduled to collect manganese ore used in steel production, is anchored off the coast of Port Hedland on Australia’s northwest coast.
The state of Western Australia contained the virus at the start of the pandemic by closing its international and domestic borders. Now it bans the arrival of cruise ships but allows export operators and limited international air arrivals. All international arrivals in Australia face a mandatory 14 day hotel quarantine.
Up to 10 Australian Defense Force (ADF) personnel are expected to deploy to Port Hedland following a request for assistance from the state government, an ADF spokesman said in a statement.
EASY SECOND WAVE
The state of Victoria, Australia’s coronavirus hotspot state on Tuesday reported 10 new infections in the past 24 hours, reversing a second wave of transmission that only last month infected more than 700 people every day.
The country’s second most populous state has placed nearly 5 million residents of its capital Melbourne under one of the world’s strictest lockdowns since early August.
The state, which accounts for much of the country’s more than 27,000 infections, and 882 deaths, on Sunday lifted several restrictions, including a curfew.
A key indicator, the rolling 14-day average, fell to 18.2, following state government expectations, officials said.
“The continuous improvement will serve us well as we remain open,” prime minister Daniel Andrews told reporters on Tuesday. “This strategy worked (and) gave us the lower figures.”
Reporting by Paulina Duran in Sydney; Edited by Michael Perry
On public service matters, I certainly support that step, and it matters whether it is here at ACT, or in Sydney or, or in Brisbane or Perth or anywhere else, where health advice allows – obviously Victoria still in a different position now.
For the public service to go back to their office to buy their lunch at a local cafe and do all that would be supportive, especially the CBD economy, and that’s a problem I will continue to pursue.
I am thinking very positively with other states, with prime ministers and state ministers who I know will also be sure I want to see their CBD revitalized.
And when I say CBD, I’m not talking about Sydney CBD coming in New South Wales, I’m talking about Parramatta.
I’m talking about Liverpool, I’m talking about Sutherland, I’m talking about all these places and Hurstville over there, and the many similar suburban CBDs that exist around the country – Box Hill and the like.
So it’s important for me to return people to their offices in a safe manner. I think people have learned a lot over the past six months, about how to do that in a Covid-safe way, and it’s time to get our CBD hum again.
And I think a Commonwealth public service taking the lead in that is a good thing, and will seek encouragement from other state public services. I know the NSW prime minister and treasurer have made similar comments on business, I would encourage them to do the same.
For example, if you have your head office in Melbourne, that does not mean that your Perth office has to operate on the same Covid site plan as the one in Melbourne.
And I know that is a point that the prime minister of Western Australia has made on several occasions.
We also have big multinationals running their Covid-safe arrangements based on what’s happening in Paris or New York or, or in London, and those rules might fit perfectly in all of those places, but they don’t make sense. in Adelaide.
So I think it’s important for us to always adjust the Covid-safe plan that grows domestically here in Australia which is targeted at locality, because that is the best way to make our economy open again, because economy reopening safely means jobs, that means livelihoods, that means income and that means we’re going to recover and we’re going to grow.