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Australia to Reopen to Foreign Visa Holders from Dec 1 in Bid to Revive Economy



Australia will allow foreign visa holders to enter the country from the start of December, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, the latest step to restart international travel and support its economy.

Australia shut its international border in May 2020 and allowed only restricted numbers of citizens and permanent residents to enter in a bid to curtail the spread of Covid-19.

The rules were relaxed in recent weeks to allow foreign family members of citizens to enter, and Morrison said this will be scaled up from December 1 to allow vaccinated students, business visa holders and refugees to arrive.

“The return of skilled workers and students to Australia is a major milestone in our pathway back,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra. Australia will also allow in vaccinated tourists from South Korea and Japan from Dec 1, he said.

The return of foreign students, who are worth about A$35 billion ($25 billion) a year to the Australian economy, will be a major boost for the education sector.

More than 235,000 foreigners, including about 160,000 students, held visas for Australia at the end of October, government data showed.

Many Australian universities have come to rely on foreign students, who make up about 21% of total enrolments, and the border closure led higher education facilities to lay off hundreds of staff.

Many students locked out of Australia have said they would switch to alternative universities if they were unable to begin face-to-face learning in 2022.

The relaxation of the border rules is also expected to ease labour shortages, which threaten to stymie an economic rebound.

“This will be critical relief for businesses who are struggling to find workers just to keep their doors open and for those who need highly specialised skills to unlock big projects,” said Jennifer Westacott, chief executive of the industry body, the Business Council.

Border rules, swift lockdowns and tough social distancing rules helped Australia to keep its coronavirus numbers far lower than many other comparable countries, with around 200,000 cases and 1,948 deaths.

Most new infections are being reported in Victoria state, which logged 1,029 cases on Monday. New South Wales, home to Sydney, reported 180 cases. Other states and territories are Covid-free or have very few cases.

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Covid forces hospitals to rejig expansion plans | Kolkata News



Kolkata: Covid has forced several private hospitals, which had been planning an expansion, to rush back to drawing boards and revise their projects.
While for some, the projects have been delayed, others have decided to go ahead with a restricted expansion in a desperate bid to enhance revenues. Yet others have stuck to their original expansion plan, taking the pandemic to be the right opportunity to enhance investment despite the barriers of logistics and funds.
Belle Vue Clinic had announced a massive expansion plan in 2019 that was deferred. It was to build two hospitals in New Town—a 400-bed multi-speciality hospital and a 168-bed general hospital. Both were to be inaugurated in 2023. But Covid has pushed back the projects by three years. “Due to the pandemic, we could not begin construction work last year, as had been planned. Now, there has been a sharp escalation in construction material cost, which has forced us to redraw the projects and invite fresh tenders. The project cost has been revised and we are working out the details. We hope to be able to start construction early next year and complete the hospitals by 2025-26,” said Belle Vue CEO P Tondon.
Peerless Hospital is ready to add a new unit at its existing premises off E M Bypass that will be shortly announced. According to hospital officials, Covid-induced rise in expenditure and revenue loss over the past 20 months have forced the hospital to think of ways to augment earnings. “In the prevailing situation, no hospital can afford to sit back and wait for things to get normal. Over the last year and half, it has been a roller- coaster ride for us with Covid patients swelling with the first and second waves and revenue from non-Covid treatment taking a hit. We need to expand, not only in terms of the number of beds but in other services as well,” said a Peerless official.
Medica Superspecialty Hospital has decided to go ahead with its Rs 600-crore expansion plan that includes new units in Kolkata, Siliguri and Ranchi. The group also plans to buy a hospital in Kolkata or in any other eastern city.
The new Medica units include a 200-bed oncology centre in Kolkata and a 100-bed general unit at its Siliguri hospital, apart from two 50-bed oncology units at Ranchi and Siliguri. “We are going to invest Rs 600 crore on expansion over the next one-two years. This is the right time to invest despite the pandemic and the challenges it poses. The healthcare market, in fact, will now expand due to the pandemic and we see a lot more spending on health over the next four years. While people have lost lives and have become cautious, the government, too, has realized the importance of health investment and introduced schemes, like Swasthya Saathi, that will encourage a demand for private healthcare services,” said Medica chairperson Alok Roy.
He added that health insurance now has a lot more takers. Medica’s new units in Kolkata and Siliguri will be functional by April, 2020, while the Ranchi unit will get off the blocks in September.
Woodlands Hospital is setting up a 100-bed advanced cancer unit. “We didn’t face any major delay or stoppage of work due to Covid,” said Rupali Basu, MD & CEO, Woodlands.
Ruby General Hospital chose to expand its existing 268-bed unit on E M Bypass despite Covid and the logistical difficulties that it posed. It has added 38 beds and will eventually have 356 beds by next year. “The project was announced before the onset of pandemic and we decided to go ahead with it. We needed to expand irrespective of the pandemic,” said Ruby general manager-operations Subhashish Datta.


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I’m A Celebrity 2021: Frankie Bridge gave Wayne cast of her bum as gift



Frankie Bridge with husband Wayne

Oh Frankie (Picture: Getty / Rex)

Frankie Bridge has made quite the confession on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here, revealing she gave her husband a cast of her bum as a gift.

Each to their own, Frankie!

The Saturdays star chatted about her marriage to footballer Wayne, telling her campmates: ‘I got Wayne a cast of my a**e.

‘He used to say it as a joke. Back when he was playing football, what do you buy someone who has everything? He always used to be like, “I just want a cast of your arse…” so one year I was like, “Fine that’s what you’re getting.”

‘So I took my two best mates and you literally have to bend over and this guy literally has to slap all of this stuff on. I was literally having to bend over like this [mimics bending over a table] while he did it… it’s like papier-mâché… slapping it all on.’

She added: ‘We have it up on the wall and it’s not like in the main part of the house, it’s upstairs. I forget sometimes and I remember I was doing a Zoom or something and everyone online was like, “Is that your bum in the background?” And I was like “Urmm…”‘

Frankie Bridge

Frankie opened up to her campmates (Picture: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Oh Frankie!

Simon Gregson added in the Telegraph: ‘I think my wife would like a cast of my bum as a present… How I’ve never won rear of the year. It still flabbergasts me to this day.’

I’m A Celebrity

They’ve been married for seven years and share their children Parker and Carter.

I’m A Celebrity continues Thursday at 9pm on ITV.

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MORE : ‘I feel an intense rising panic!’: Gillian McKeith still struggles with small spaces and PTSD after hellish I’m A Celebrity stint

MORE : I’m A Celebrity 2021: Naughty Boy screams as he’s covered in thousands of crickets in new preview

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Now, Covid victims’ kin can apply for ₹50K ex gratia in Ludhiana



Covid victims’ kin can download the application form to claim the ex gratia from the official website of the Ludhiana administration (, and then submitted at the sub-divisional magistrate’s office with supporting documents

Ludhiana The families of those who succumbed to the novel coronavirus will be provided 50,000 ex gratia, and can apply for the same at the office of the sub-divisional magistrate concerned, officials said on Wednesday.

Additional deputy commissioner (urban development) Sandeep Kumar said the application form can be downloaded from the official website of the Ludhiana administration (, and then submitted at the sub-divisional magistrate’s office with supporting documents, including a death certificate certifying the cause of death, identity proof of the claimant, proof of relationship between the deceased and claimant, a lab report certifying that the deceased had tested positive for Covid, death summary by the hospital (in case the death occurred in hospital), death certificate in the original and legal-heir certificate.

Kumar said that the deaths that had taken place due to poisoning, suicide, homicide, and accidents will not be considered Covid deaths, even if the disease is an accompanying condition.

“Once all these documents are submitted, the kin will receive ex-gratia compensation in their bank accounts,” he said.

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