A brave Woolworths worker has vowed to carry on working despite being terrified of getting coronavirus.
Arafat Izhar says his family were so sick with worry that he lied to them and told them he had quit his job packing shelves at the western Sydney store.
Mr Izhar, who is originally from Bangladesh and travelled to Australia to study, doesn’t want to resign because it means old people may not get their groceries.
He told Daily Mail Australia that many of his colleagues are in the same boat.
‘Our families are really worried about us and what is going on,’ he said.
‘There are a lot of students who are lying to their parents and telling them not to worry because they aren’t working, yet they still are.
Arafat Izhar says his family were so sick with worry that he lied to them and told them he had quit his job packing shelves at the western Sydney store
‘I did the same thing because I know if I don’t go to work, an elderly woman may not get her food.’
He said his parents were terrified about him getting coronavirus and were very protective over him.
On Thursday cases of coronavirus in Australia soared to 636, with a death toll of six.
Mr Izhar said that stories of how easily the deadly respiratory infection spreads has concerned him.
‘Yes definitely I am concerned about getting COVID-19 as everyday we are talking to and surrounding ourselves with hundreds of people,’ he said.
Mr Izhar has also spoken about the abuse that supermarket workers have faced after a panic buying frenzy swept the nation.
‘We are happy to work and risk our health but people are going crazy,’ he said.
‘We keep telling them there is enough stock at Woolworths and the warehouses and to stop panicking. However people always have excuses.’
Mr Izhar, who is originally from Bangladesh and travelled to Australia to study, doesn’t want to resign because it means old people may not get their groceries
Mr Izhar said that some of his colleagues had six children at home and supermarkets needed to protect them.
‘We become emotional when people are mean to us. It upsets us,’ he said.
Supermarket staff have copped the brunt of verbal abuse as shoppers desperately attempt to get their hands on goods during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some of the ugliest scenes have been Sydney, where at least two women and a man have been charged in relation to separate brawls.
On Tuesday, shocking footage emerged of a shopper in a confrontation with a Coles worker during a heated dispute over toilet paper rationing.
The footage showed a female member of staff arguing with the male customer – before he said he would ‘smack her face’ if she had been a man.
A Woolworths customer shared a picture of staff having barricaded an aisle while they stocked shelves with toilet paper at the store in Preston, Victoria.
Mr Izhar said that some of his colleagues had six children at home and supermarkets needed to protect them
On a normal night shift Mr Izhar said he will start at 9pm before finishing at 6am the following morning.
The Department of Home Affairs announced last week that there would be a temporary lift on the 20-hour working limit placed on temporary visas.
Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said: ‘The changes are short term and will be reviewed regularly to ensure they are working and that they are still required.
‘We will continue to listen to businesses as the coronavirus situation develops and may consider expanding these measures to assist other sectors if and when required. We will also consider providing flexibility with other temporary visas should the need arise.’
He said he isn’t sure how long the pandemic will go for but wants to be secure in his workplace while it continues.
Mr Izhar is also on a temporary visa in Australia and believes that the government is heavily relying on his industry in a time of need.
He said he believes the government should relax working conditions of their visas and be a bit more lenient on nurses and retail staff when they apply for permanent residency.
Mr Izhar is also on a temporary visa in Australia and believes that the government is heavily relying on people like him during the coronavirus crisis
‘We are hoping the government is at least a bit more lenient towards the current PR point system or allow more state sponsorship,’ he said.
‘However at this moment, a lot of international students who are working tirelessly, might get demotivated as we do not have or get any support from our government.
‘I would request them to take some considerate measures for our visa and permanent residency purposes.’
He said he would even consider a knock-off of points a win for those on student or graduate visas.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Woolworths for comment.