這一陣子, 澳洲疫苗接種率大幅提升, 新州及維州都已解封,更向已接種疫苗居民取消了大部份的隔離限制。除了西澳洲之外, 今年底相信澳洲各州居民都可以回復自由流動, 全國恢復正常操作。國際航班亦逐漸恢復, 澳洲居民與公民可從國外自由出入新州及維州, 相信已接種疫苗的國際旅客會在聖誕新年假期前可以不用隔離, 重回澳洲。
不過, 澳洲的經濟顯然仍受極大壓力。到底有多少遊客、留學生、短期工作者會回到這國家, 還未可知。一些倚頼外來工作者的小企業或行業都出現工人不足, 無法完全復工的情況, 例如雜貨店、餐飲業、醫護人員、運輸業、農場工作者及一些服務性行業等都不容易找到足夠的員工。
疫情發展至現時階段, 澳洲社會相信可到達接近全面接種疫苗, 疫情相信不會再有很大反覆, 社會經濟將會逐漸恢復正常。不過, 疫情過後, 澳洲會回到哪一狀態, 相信仍未可知。例如網上購物, 已成大部份人生活習慣一部份, 對傳統零售業打擊將會不輕。又例如在家辦公的比例將會大大提高, 巿中心商業區的人流大幅減少, 政府要剌激各類商業活動。又例如口罩會否仍在人多的活動場所中使用, 又或是接種疫苗會否變成生活的常規, 及網絡會議會否令社交生活或社團活動大量減少等, 都未可知。
疫情過後的新常態, 會帶來社會生活如何改變,相信在未來影響著社會的發展。澳洲原本跟全世界的接觸因為地理位置偏遠已經不多, 在疫後如何恢復與全球各國重建互相往來, 相信會是極大的挑戰。種種問題, 都是澳洲聯邦及各州及領地政府要面對的難題。重建社會, 極需要政治領袖們的勇氣與承擔。
在疫情期間, 澳洲社會總算是維持了國民的安全及保存了經濟沒有很大的倒退。以後怎樣走下去, 還有頼政治領袖們能否得到整個社會的支持和合作。領袖們需要提出有遠見的計劃, 爭取國民的信心和信任, 一起為重建更美好的將來, 持續努力, 在疫後能重建已停頓下來的社會。
A new society after the pandemic
Australian vaccination rate has been surging these days with lockdowns lifted in Victoria and NSW and freedom to all those who have been vaccinated. Apart from Western Australia, all our states should return normal running by the end of the year. International flights will resume and on reopening of borders Victorian and NSW residents can freely travel without quarantine if fully vaccinated.
But Australian economy is still under pressure, as it is uncertain how many tourists, overseas students and temporary workers would come back. Businesses relying on overseas work force are suffering, such as grocery stores, catering, health care, delivery, farming and many in the service industry all find it hard to employ enough staff.
As the pandemic is now, Australia should be close to full vaccination and the situation should stabilise to Covid-normal. But where to go after this is still uncertain. Say online shopping is already a part of life hence the retail shops would be greatly affected. And with work from home as a normal practice, our downtown commercial activities would be greatly reduced. And how often do we still need to wear masks in public area, or will vaccination be made ever needed, or would web meetings replace most of our social interactions?
How post-Covid norm would affect our daily life would also change our society development in future. All along Australia has not been enjoying close tie with the rest of the world due to geographical reason, to reconnect ourselves to the world on recovery from the pandemic must be challenging. The federal and state governments have a lot of issues to tackle, this relies on the courage and commitment of our political leaders.
Over the pandemic our society has been quite safeguarded from safety and economy crisis. Our leaders still need the support and cooperation of the whole society to go from here. They have to bring on plans with vision in order to secure public trust, as the nation works hard together for rebuilding a better future from this stagnant state.
Raymond Chow, Publisher