If you have followed the news about the Coronavirus pandemic closely, chances are you already have strong opinions about Sweden’s approach to managing the spread of COVID-19.
But the experience of some Australians currently living in Scandinavian conditions may be different.
When the pandemic hit, Sweden made the unusual decision not to impose a lockdown, unlike most of its European neighbors.
Instead, the strategy relies heavily on people taking personal responsibility for protecting themselves and those around them from the virus.
His decision to go his own way made him a popular topic of debate for international health professionals, news organizations and political pundits.
Those who oppose the lockdown point to it as an example other countries should follow, but others supporting stringent public health measures highlight the country’s coronavirus death toll, which is significantly higher than that of its Nordic neighbors.
So what is it like to live through Sweden’s mighty coronavirus experiment? The ABC spoke with several Australian expats living across the country to get their opinion.
‘People don’t seem to be breaking the rules’
Wendy Luttrell lives in Skellefteå, a town of about 32,000 people in the northeast of the country, with her Swedish partner and their newborn baby.
Ms Luttrell has only lived in Sweden since December, and said she was initially critical of the country’s response, especially after hearing about Australia’s approach.
He said he questioned why the country was not under lockdown, and why no one was wearing a mask, but he said he had since changed his mind.
“[Culturally], they’re naturally almost ready for it. “
There were a total of 1,141 coronavirus cases and 31 deaths in the country where Skellefteå is located, according to figures from the Swedish Public Health Agency, out of a total population of about 270,000 people.
However, the numbers are much more worrying elsewhere in the country.
While Sweden’s population of around 10 million is less than half that of Australia, it has reported 102,407 cases – about four times the 27,371 cases here.
Sweden also has the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths and cases when compared to other Nordic countries.
As of Friday, more than 5,910 people have died from COVID-19 in Sweden compared to 278 in neighboring Norway, 675 in Denmark and 346 in Finland – even though Sweden has a population that has doubled.
Sweden has the 14th highest per capita mortality in the world, only one position lower than Italy, according to the latest figures by the University of Oxford.
Many of the deaths occurred in elderly care settings or in homes where people received professional care.
Less strict rules are difficult to emulate in Australia
In the capital, Stockholm – about a nine-hour drive from Skellefteå by car – fellow expat Andrew Digges said the regulations were not as stringent as countries like Australia.
Swedes are told to work from home if they can, stay home if they have any symptoms, and while restaurants, pubs and even nightclubs have been allowed to stay open, they can only provide table service that is socially distant.
Simon Keane, a PhD student from Melbourne living in the city of Skövde, said although he supports the Swedish approach to managing COVID-19, he doesn’t think it will work in Australia.
“I think most Swedes believe that government agencies will make good, reasoned and well-founded decisions,” he said.
“And while they may not like decisions or rules, they are at least following them. I don’t think people in Australia have the same level of respect for government institutions.”
As a plus, Keane said he thinks Swedes’ natural inclination to keep their distance may also benefit them – a fairly common observation of expats as well as Swedes.
Free to travel at home and abroad
Ethan Brooker lives in the small town of Lidköping with his Swedish colleague, who is a doctor at a local hospital.
In a sign of how different the pandemic-related regulations in Sweden are from Australia’s, Brooker recently traveled to the southern city of Malmö for a christening, and took a week-long holiday in France last month.
Despite the relative freedom they enjoy during the European summer, he said people in Lidköping have been working hard to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Life in a city of about 25,000 people changed significantly at the start of the pandemic, when local residents started working from home and avoided public places such as libraries, shopping malls and cinemas.
“The town has been pretty empty for months,” said Mr. Brooker.
He said the coverage he saw of Sweden’s pandemic policies in the Australian media – which often focused on the country’s decision not to impose a lockdown – did not seem to be of much help to him.
“I feel like [it] doesn’t help improve the quality of the debate in Australia… It’s pretty black and white, focusing on the idea of ’locks versus no locks’, when in fact there are more components to a successful public health response. “
‘A little panic’
For Melbourne father Clint Grundy, the decision to move to Sweden with his family last year was almost accidental.
Mr Grundy, a construction project manager, currently lives on the island of Gotland and says his experience is very different from that of his extended family and friends back home.
“A lot of family and friends are having a really bad time,” he told the ABC.
Grundy said there was “no panic” in Sweden, and the Swedish Government’s approach domestically was “less political” than in Australia.
Grundy’s family life in Sweden is very different from what they would have experienced if they had remained in Melbourne.
“We’re actually traveling in a couple of weeks, we’re going to Prague … one of the biggest and fastest growing places for COVID, but I kind of decided to move on rather than sit there for too long,” he said.
Not all industries are left untouched
However, life in Sweden during the pandemic has remained relatively unchanged for everyone.
Stockholm chef Gaeton Graham told the ABC he lost his job because of COVID-19: he works for the Gröna Lund theme park, which has not been able to stay open due to a ban on public gatherings of 50 or more people.
“I am in the unfortunate situation of working for an employer that cannot be legally disclosed,” Graham said.
On the plus side, Graham says he spends a lot of time with his children, even though most schools remain open in Sweden.
“School policy is that young children should remain at home for all flu-like symptoms, and then for 48 hours without symptoms,” he said.
“We have two small children, so we often take them home.”
Destruction of full-time employment is increasing in Australia
By Mike Head
July 18, 2020
Mass unemployment in Australia, which had reached the Great Depression in the 1930s, deepened with the elimination of permanent permanent employment. Last month, full-time employment fell by 38,100, according to official statistics, even as more workers were pushed back to unsafe workplaces in the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.
These figures show the long-term impact of the economic and social crisis triggered by the pandemic, which has now resurfaced in Australia’s two most populous states, Victoria and New South Wales, as a result of business-government “reopening the economy” pushing .
The government and employers are working with unions to exploit the COVID-19 disaster to accelerate the casualization of the workforce, forcing more workers into unsafe part-time jobs.
The official unemployment rate rose to 7.4 percent in June, up from 7.1 percent in May, even though part-time employment increased by 249,000. This left 992,000 workers – almost one million – unemployed, a new record level.
Among young workers, aged 15-24, the unemployment rate is more than twice as high – up 0.4 points to 16.4 percent. But they represent about half the increase in part-time work, bearing the full burden of casualization.
Because of the surge in part-time work, the “underutilization” rate, which combines unemployment and underemployment, fell 1 point to 19.1 percent – but that is still more than two and a half million workers.
These Australian Bureau of Statistics figures are famous for underestimating the true level of unemployment. They exclude anyone who works more than one hour a week and only counts those who are classified as actively seeking work. If those who leave the labor force or remain employed by the federal government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme are calculated, the actual unemployment rate is around the 1930s level, which is 25 percent.
According to a more realistic employment survey estimate by Roy Morgan’s company, 14.5 percent of the workforce, or 2.05 million workers, were unemployed in June, with another 10 percent, or 1.41 million, under employed. That is a total of 3.45 million workers, or 24.5 percent of the workforce, both unemployed or unemployed.
Large companies lead the elimination of full-time employment. They use federal, state and territory business stimulus packages, now totaling more than $ 300 billion, to restructure their operations, with direct costs from work, wages and workers’ conditions.
In one of the meanest examples, Australia’s largest airline, Qantas, announced last month that it would cut 6,000 jobs, while maintaining a setback for another 15,000 workers in March. Likewise, Australia’s largest supermarket chain, Woolworths, said it would cut 1,350 warehouse jobs in Sydney and Melbourne.
This week, the two largest public universities, Monash University in Melbourne and New South Wales University in Sydney, announced a total of 770 layoffs. The University has eliminated thousands of jobs, mostly from casual workers, with the University of Australia estimating up to 30,000 positions will be destroyed in the next three years.
Overall, most of the 249,000 increase in part-time jobs were in cafes, restaurants, hotels and hospitality operations, which were almost completely reopened as part of the “back to work” drive by the bipartisan national cabinet to restore corporate profits.
According to some estimates, there are now 17 unemployed workers for each vacancy. This will only worsen because the federal government forces more unemployed workers to apply for jobs, no matter how less likely they are to succeed, to maintain JobSeeker’s welfare payments.
In September, the situation would worsen when the government abolished or cut JobSeeker’s pitiful allowances of $ 550 per week, and a JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme of $ 750 per week, which still covered more than three million workers.
During the same month, the moratorium on evictions, mortgage payments and small business rent and loans will end. This will mean a new wave of homelessness, house repression and bankruptcy of family-owned businesses, leading to greater levels of financial pressure and poverty for millions of working class households.
Even if the government budget renewal statement next Thursday maintains some wage subsidies and welfare support after September, the expenditure will be targeted to meet big business demands for further investment breaks, de-regulation and “job flexibility” – that is, lower wages and working conditions .
“The Australian economy is against,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday in response to the latest unemployment statistics. “Australia has reopened because people have returned to their businesses and opened their doors.”
This claim flies before actual statistics, as well as the deteriorating economic situation in the US and globally. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development now predicts that global output can fall down 8.5 percent at the end of 2020, the worst result since World War II.
At the same time, Morrison underlined the true content of “opening.” He stated that “flexible” arrangements for entrepreneurs during the pandemic kept people working, and had to continue working, and people had to keep working despite the serious outbreak of COVID-19 in Victoria.
This “flexible arrangement” was agreed by the union as part of the JobKeeper program. They formed the central platform of the de facto coalition government formed with Labor leaders, supported by the Council of Trade Unions of Australia, whose secretary Sally McManus promised to give employers “everything they wanted.”
Earlier on Thursday, the Morrison-National Liberal government launched another business support package, labeled JobTrainer. They promised $ 1.5 billion to subsidize the work of 100,000 internships and $ 500 million to train or retrain 340,000 school graduates.
On behalf of helping young people, the government is handing more cash to businesses, while further trying to channel young workers into vocational training to meet the immediate needs of employers.
Despite Morrison’s efforts to lift the economy, other data show the opposite. Consumer sentiment has fallen by 4.5 percent in July, led by a 10.4 percent decline in Victoria in response to the rise of COVID-19 and limited locking measures for six weeks.
Westpac’s chief economist Bill Evans said the Unemployment Expectation Index jumped 12.1 percent, indicating that “fears of job losses rose sharply.” The higher the reading, the more consumers expect unemployment to increase in the coming year.
The economic outlook index for the next 12 months also fell 14 percent in July to 25 percent below the pre-COVID-19 level. Even more revealing is the 10.3 percent decline in views on the economy over the next five years.
More and more people do not believe or distrust the government’s response to this pandemic, and more opposition among workers, including teachers and warehouses and health workers, to be exposed to life-threatening conditions, without adequate protection, is in place work.
On the second day of what was called smart locking on Tuesday, Karachi people packed different garment markets while electronics and cellphone shops watched lower footsteps.
Since Monday, the smart locking of COVID-19 is no more than a joke because markets and retail outlets throughout the city have been proven to openly violate standard operating procedures (SOP), including the most important rules for observing social distance.
The head of the Karachi Traders Association Atiq Mir told The News that the purchasing power of urban communities has declined in such a way that they can only afford to buy the most important commodities. He claimed that only a few families shopped for Eid.
A resident of Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Waleed Ahsan, was at the Zainab Market around 2 pm to buy some clothes. “We are not sure what that is [strict] lockdown will be worn again, which is why we shop for Eid on an emergency basis, “he said.
He added that he and his wife had decided to go to the Saddar market to buy all the important commodities for the remaining month of Ramazan as well as for Eid, which is less than two weeks away.
Mir believes that the current invasion on the market is only 5 percent to 10 percent of what is normally observed in the holy month of Ramazan.
“Most middle class markets, such as those in Saddar, Liaquatabad and Karimabad, are crowded with people,” he said. And many of these people are those who are out there just to see if the lock is really revoked, he said.
“If you want to find out if people are really out there to buy, you can see how many shopping bags they hold after they finish shopping,” he explained.
As for business time from 6 am to 4 pm permitted by the Sindh government, Mir said that it didn’t make much sense because the shop owner didn’t get much time to do business.
In general, he said, stores in large markets open between 12 noon and 1 pm because before that time, no shopper went to any market. “And after 1pm, you have almost three hours to do business.”
When asked why the merchant did not open their shop at 6 am, he said that no buyer would go directly to the market after Sehri. If the government allows the extension of working hours, there will be no busyness in the market, he said.
As for SOPs and social distances, he said that it is very difficult to observe social distances in garment shops because they are smaller in size and shoppers have flocked to them in large numbers. He claims that shopkeepers try to observe social distance, “but shoppers who don’t listen”.
In a statement issued by his office on Monday, Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani said that no shopkeepers or customers were allowed to enter any market without masks, stressing that permission to reopen stores was linked to compliance with SOPs.
However, Mir believes that it is very difficult for traders to adhere to such SOPs because there are groups of buyers in the small streets of the market, saying that law enforcement agencies can control these buyers. He claimed that the commissioner’s SOP was not very practical. Warning
Asad Commissioner Saddar Asif said “we cannot arrest everyone”. He said they could not deploy police officers in every shop in the city. At DHA, he added, they sealed stationery stores for violating SOPs.
“We have been around shops and markets to warn and educate buyers and shop owners,” he said, adding that the trade association had convinced authorities to comply with the SOP.
“We have told them that if they do not comply with the SOP, there may be a [strict] lockdown in place again, “he said. Store owners have been advised not to let shoppers enter their stores without masks, he added.
As for Assistant Commissioner Taman Asma Batool, he has set up an awareness camp about the new corona virus on Ranchore Line on the instructions of the deputy commissioner of the South.
He said they have thermal weapons to monitor residents’ temperatures as well as hand washing facilities in their camps. “We made an announcement on the loudspeaker asking citizens to observe social distance.”
Traders have been given two days to comply with the SOP. He warned that starting Wednesday (today), they might start sealing shops and outlets where social distance was not observed and other SOPs were not met.
** The USDA has reduced import requirements for Chinese fragrant pears.
However, according to thepacker.com, fragrant pears that are eligible to be shipped to the US must now be planted in the Akesu or Korla region at a production location registered with plant health officials in China and approved by the USDA.
In addition, the USDA said packaging houses must have a tracking system that will allow fruit traceback to individual production sites.
**WE. companies that export pork, beef, and lamb to Canada now face simpler and clearer requirements, thanks to a joint initiative by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Cheyenne McEndaffer from the U.S. Meat Export Federation said that the revised regulation would benefit US exporters and their Canadian customers.
He noted that input from USMEF and other industry associations allowed problems to be identified and addressed.
The corona virus pandemic has turned the world around. Life as we know it has been delayed because countries struggle to keep the virus from spreading. This is a time of uncertainty and anxiety.
With news dominated by the development of COVID-19, it is difficult to move away from our new reality. This is made worse by the fact that our entertainment and relaxation options have also been drastically reduced: the cinema, restaurant and bar are closed, sports events and equipment are canceled, and the gym and spa are locked for a foreseeable future.
If you need a break from it all, virtual reality (VR) has a unique property that can help— “presence”. The feeling of being physically present in the virtual world is a very powerful sensation. When you use a VR headset, you are removed from the real world and transported to another world. In the absence of interference from social media or TV broadcasts, it can truly provide the means to escape the limits of our current reality.
If you are lucky enough to have a virtual reality (VR) headset at home, here are the best choices of games that are transportative and, most importantly, fun!
In Moss, You meet Quill, a cute young mouse – “chosen” – who finds himself on an adventure to save the world with you as his best friend. Together, you travel to forgotten realms, solve puzzles, and meet enemies that must be defeated. This is a sitting experience that takes you on a captivating adventure, and it will definitely make you smile.
$ 29.99 – Oculus Rift / Rift S / Quest / WMR / HTC Vive / Index Index
The first step
If you have Oculus Quest and you haven’t tried it The first step however, don’t think of it as a basic tutorial – this is an amazing experience for beginners and VR experts. Start by learning the basics of VR, which anyone using this technology uses, then use virtual weapons to shoot at targets, fly virtual air balloons and dance with adorable robots. This experience is very beautiful.
Free – Oculus Quest
In Bonfire, You play as Space Scout 817, which is on a mission to find a new home for humanity after it has messed up the Earth. You landed on an unknown planet 300 light years from Earth. With an emergency bonfire as your only source of light and a close friend of the robot (voiced by comedian and actress Ali Wong), you come in contact with foreigners and decide how you want to interact with them. This is a funny experience that will help bring a little joy and laughter to your day.
$ 4.99 – Oculus Rift / Rift S / Quest / HTC Vive
Job Simulator is far from the rigors of your daily work. In a world where robots have replaced all human work, go into the “Job Simulator” to go back in time to see what it’s like to “work”. Throw staplers at your boss, learn juggles, fire employees, rip car engines, and more – you’re free to cause chaos!
$ 19.99 – Oculus Rift / Rift S / Quest / WMR / HTC Vive / Index Index
If you are looking for something to calm your mind, Bait! is the ideal game for you. You find yourself on Bait! Island, help your boss catch rare fish to save the aquarium that is having trouble where you work. Befriend the locals, catch different fish, and enjoy the beautiful views of four different lakes. Perfect for relaxing at the end of a long day.
Free – Oculus Quest
As Ghost GiantYou are the protector of a lonely little boy named Louis, who needs a helping hand to navigate the obstacles in his life. You discover Louis’s world, meet people, and experience the same touching and heartbreaking narratives. You also break the wall between the protagonist and the player in this game, interacting with the world below you to help solve the problem. This is a heartfelt adventure about friendship and courage, written by internationally recognized authors Sara B. Elfgren. This game will take you on a strong emotional journey and can quickly become your favorite VR game.
$ 22.99 – Oculus Quest
Crow the Legend
In this case star-studded interactive animation experience, follow the adventures of Crow and his forest friends as they struggle to save their home from the dangers of winter. Featuring voice actors from John Legend, Oprah Winfrey, Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asian), Tye Sheridan (Player Ready One), Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), and Liza Koshy, this experience has a strong storyline and fantastic animation. You will dance along with the characters at the end of the story!
Free – Oculus Rift / Rift S
Coco VR is a short companion film for the award-winning Pixar film Coconut and represent Pixar’s debut into virtual reality. Choose a single or multiplayer experience and follow the magic alebrijeto the world of Coco, full of lovable characters and stunning visuals from the film. At Coco VR, you will meet the main characters Miguel, Ceci, and Hector, ride a gondola, and become the main star of the Dia de los Muertos celebration! If you like this film, you will be fascinated by this immersive experience.