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Australians urged to wear #EndCOVIDforall facemasks to encourage government to support neighbours during pandemic

Australians are being asked to wear a face mask emblazoned with the words “End COVID for all” on Wednesday, 19th August, in an act of solidarity with those nearby countries hardest-hit by the coronavirus.

The initiative, part of the #EndCOVIDforall campaign is aimed at encouraging the Australian Government to continue to support neighbouring countries during the crisis including Indonesia, where Johns Hopkins University data shows more 140,000 have been infected and more than 6,200 killed, and India, where cases have now topped 2.6 million and the death toll 50,000.

The campaign cites World Bank estimates showing the crisis could push as many as 71 million people into extreme poverty. This includes up to 40 per cent more people in the Pacific region.

India children in lockdown

Children attend a centre run by World Vision India in the community to provide learning support for children who are not in school. This gives them an informal learning platform and an open opportunity to enroll in school later. In spite of the lock-down, the centre has continued. PICTURE: World Vision.

More than 13,700 Australians and 150 organisations have signed a pledge agreeing that they “believe in Australia providing vital support to vulnerable nations” during the current crisis. 

The campaign is calling on the Australian Government to partner with global institutions, Australian NGOs and regional neighbours to adopt a range of measures including increasing support to crisis areas, increasing investment in global health programs, funding equitable and timely access to a COVID-19 vaccine, and continue supporting critical ongoing health programs such as those concerning water access, maternal and child health and sexual and reproductive health.

The campaign is also asking Australia to help “kick-start” an economic recovery in the region through such measures as providing low-cost loans to Pacific nations to finance health infrastructure and securing an immediate halt on debt interest payments from developing countries.

Tim Costello, executive director of Micah Australia – one of the organisations leading the campaign, said in a statement that the recent challenges in the Australian state of Victoria – which is battling a second wave outbreak of the virus and has seen more than 330 deaths – has confirmed the core message of the campaign, that “this doesn’t end for anyone until it ends for everyone”.

“As Aussies, we take care of our neighbours,” he said. “And while we face our own battle at home, we can still offer a helping hand to those who are far less equipped to deal with this crisis. ​End COVID For All is really an appeal to the nation to say that though our borders may be closed, our hearts are not shut.”

Among those Christian organisations and denominations supporting the campaign are Australian Christian Churches, Uniting Church in Australia, Hillsong Church Australia, Bible Society Australia, Australian Baptist Ministries, Churches of Christ in Australia and Anglican Deaconess Ministries.



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