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Workers Australia needs as the country goes into lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic 

As Australia continues to grapple with the spread of the killer coronavirus, a team of unsung heroes are working tirelessly to ensure the country will survive.

Thousands of workers have been told to stay home but staff including doctors, childcare workers, transport workers, supermarket workers and nurses continue work around the clock.

Short staffed and exhausted, some of the workers refuse to go home despite the virus rapidly spreading with more than 1,600 Australians testing positive and the country encouraged to self-isolate. 

One doctor spent an entire night translating Mandarin to English as she treated patients in isolation while a supermarket employee lied to his family to keep his job and stack shelves for the elderly.

Catherine Li, (pictured with Dr John Gerrard) a renal nurse working at the Gold Coast University hospital worked through the night translating English to Mandarin for eight patients who had been isolated for COVID-19

Catherine Li, a renal nurse working at the Gold Coast University hospital worked through the night translating English to Mandarin for eight patients who had been isolated for COVID-19.

A tour group of Chinese people had been travelling around Australia at the end of January when one of them tested positive for the disease.

The group was rushed to hospital. 

Ms Li changed into protective gear 30 times in the one shift, as she went back and forth translating directions from the doctor she was working beside.

‘Catherine’s the unsung hero of the health service’s early handling of the visitors,’ Dr John Gerrard, who spent the night beside Ms Li said. 

‘She was not only one of the most professional people I have ever worked with, she was calm, self-effacing and went well beyond what was asked of her.

‘I needed someone urgently that could speak Mandarin and English as the patients were in isolation and none of them could speak English.

‘Catherine was able to take control and settle the group, which included children, in an efficient and calm way, interpret for both myself and our team and did everything asked of her at a critical time.’

Police have also been working tirelessly to ensure the safety of Australians amid the pandemic.

Police have also worked tirelessly amid the pandemic with officers patrolling supermarkets to prevent panic buyers (pictured officers at a Coles in Sydney)

Police have also worked tirelessly amid the pandemic with officers patrolling supermarkets to prevent panic buyers (pictured officers at a Coles in Sydney)

Many officers across the country have been dealt with the difficult task of ensuring people follow the government’s ‘social distancing’ policies that requires people to be 1.5 metres apart.

On Monday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced a 500-strong taskforce would be established to crack down on mass gatherings and those who weren’t practising social distancing.

These officers will also be monitoring that those returning to the state from overseas will undergo the 14 days in isolation.

One police station in Melbourne was even offering free toilet paper after shops were stripped of the highly sought after product.

Warrandyte Police Station in the city’s north-east offered the free rolls to those who were unable to go out and buy some.

Warrandyte Police Station (pictured) in the city's north-east offered the free rolls to those who were unable to go out and buy some

Warrandyte Police Station (pictured) in the city’s north-east offered the free rolls to those who were unable to go out and buy some

People were told to come to the station and say the codeword ‘cupcake’ for some loo rolls in return.

Despite many professionals working from home, public transport workers remain on the job.

Bus drivers, train conductors and other operators continue to go about business as usual amid the pandemic.

Teachers and childcare workers will also remain at work.

One Sydney teacher told Daily Mail Australia that while the spread of the disease was stressful, she was determined to keep teaching.

‘As a young, non-vulnerable person I’m happy to keep teaching as long as older teachers don’t have to. I’m happy to take on extra students,’ Zoe said. 

‘(The disease) is on the front of our minds but I feel comfortable because I’m low risk but other teachers that are older I am feeling a bit uncomfortable.’

Teachers and childcare workers said that while they were worried about the disease, they knew they had to put the children first (file image)

Teachers and childcare workers said that while they were worried about the disease, they knew they had to put the children first (file image)

Zoe said that students at her primary school were allowed to do their work from home but her full class has been attending anyways. 

‘If (me teaching) makes people calm its good. I think students that need to be here should be here.’ 

Childcare worker and mother-of-five Nicole, who manages a before and after school care centre said that while she was nervous about the spread of the virus, she would remain open. 

‘As a mum of 5 I am nervous about continuing to work and potentially put my own families health at risk but we will remain open until we are directed that we can’t or until the need is no longer there or viable, for example if all parents keep their children home,’ the mother-of-five said.

‘Whilst (before and after school car) is seen as an essential service we are rarely recognised or accounted for and we too are looking after many families during this time desperately trying to get supplies to hygienically do so, not to mention get food supplies for our kids. 

Staff at supermarkets have also been hailed as unsung heroes after working long shifts to help re-stack shelves (staff at a Coles in Melbourne)

Staff at supermarkets have also been hailed as unsung heroes after working long shifts to help re-stack shelves (staff at a Coles in Melbourne)

Nicole said that it was essential the centre remain open for the children who’s parents had no choice but to work.

‘Some of the children attending are vulnerable or from families whose parents desperately need to work as long as they can,’ she said.

‘It’s just a crazy time for everyone and my staff and I feel we need to do everything we can to keep all our kids safe and healthy.’ 

Supermarkets have been hit hard amid the outbreak of the killer disease with shelves stripped bare within minutes of the store opening.

Staff have worked overtime to ensure shoppers can still buy vital supplies. 

Arafat Izhar, (pictured) who is originally from Bangladesh and travelled to Australia to study, doesn't want to resign from his job at Woolworths because it means old people may not get their groceries

Arafat Izhar, (pictured) who is originally from Bangladesh and travelled to Australia to study, doesn’t want to resign from his job at Woolworths because it means old people may not get their groceries 

Arafat Izhar, a Woolworths employee, 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 previously 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. 

CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 1,676

New South Wales: 669

Victoria: 355

Queensland: 319

Western Australia: 140

South Australia: 134

Tasmania: 22

Australian Capital Territory: 32

Northern Territory: 5

TOTAL CASES:  1,676

DEAD: 7

‘I did the same thing because I know if I don’t go to work, an elderly woman may not get her food.’ 

On a normal night shift Mr Izhar said he will start at 9pm before finishing at 6am the following morning. 

Another Woolworths worker, an international student, told Daily Mail Australia that he was now working 40 hours a week, up from 20, to cope with demand.

‘We are going against our families wishes by working during the coronavirus crisis. It’s a similar situation to the firefighters risking their lives during the bushfires in January.’ 

So far there have been more than 1,600 cases of coronavirus in Australia and seven deaths. 

A customer wears a face mask as she shops during the dedicated hour for the elderly

A customer wears a face mask as she shops during the dedicated hour for the elderly  

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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