From empty shelves to cancelled festivals: how Omicron is wreaking havoc across Australia

Some say the circumstance is worse than throughout lockdown, when they at least had jobkeeper or catastrophe payments to keep the lights on.The crisis comes on top of an existing shortage of personnel that saw job vacancies rise as lockdowns ended in the September to November duration last year.Job openings jumped 18.5% from the previous 3 months to 396,100, or practically three-quarters greater than February 2020, the Australian Bureau of Statistics stated on Wednesday.Adding to Australias troubles, the global logistics crisis has actually not gone away.Problems getting goods from overseas ports and into shops will continue well into this year, Oxford Economics said on Tuesday.With more staff off because of Covid, increased port operating hours may not be enough to clear out blockage, the UK-based forecasting group said.It said truck motorists were also in brief supply– an issue that requires higher incomes and much better conditions to fix– and “warehouses are bursting at the joints across numerous nations” due to a rise in online shopping.When will it end?No one understands. Epidemiologists state the peak of the Omicron wave in NSW, which is currently Australias Covid hotspot, will not be behind us until the middle of February.At the same time, building workers will return to sites at the start of February after their routine summertime break– something that the secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Sally McManus, predicts will put pressure on the supply chains of the markets that feed into building.Schools return after Australia Day, opening up another prospective transmission vector from kids to moms and dads, although research studies on Delta have actually recommended transmission rates in these settings may be low.Theres likewise the looming possibility of a commercial dispute on the docks, with the Maritime Union of Australia and Patricks Stevedores on a collision course over the businesss risk to cancel a business agreement governing working conditions– something the union says would “see Australian supply chains grind to a halt and the circulation of vital household products vaporize in an instant”.” We need assistance, aid and a solution which needs to begin with helping on cashflow for organizations,” Chrissie Maus, the handling director of Melbourne retail association Chapel Street Precinct, informed Guardian Australia on Wednesday.Unions support the call for free quick tests for companies however state keeping them going shouldnt come at the expenditure of the health and security of workers.Sign up to receive the leading stories from Guardian Australia every morning” What were seeing is companies trying to pressure people to come into work even when theyre sick, when theyre favorable,” McManus told Guardian Australia.She said people were worried that if they said no they would lose their shifts.

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