Residents in Queensland’s coronavirus hotspots want better multicultural messaging

Coronavirus cases have been diagnosed in Logan, one of Australia's most diverse cities.

People line up to get COVID-19 tested at the Parklands Christian College in Logan, south of Brisbane, Wednesday, July 29, 2020. The school has been temporarily closed after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING

People line up to get COVID-19 tested at the Parklands Christian College in Logan, south of Brisbane. Source: AAP

Queensland's multicultural community leaders are calling on the state government to help them make crucial messaging available in languages other than English. 

In the City of Logan, south of Brisbane, anxiety is rising after two COVID-19 cases were detected in the area.

Almost a quarter of people in the area speak a language other than English at home.

There were long lines outside local testing clinics on Thursday, with some forced to wait as long as seven hours.

Elijah Buol, a leader in Logan’s South Sudanese community, is one of those awaiting his test results.

He also took his child to be tested after the school they attended was closed due to the outbreak.

“I think for me and for others [it] is that feeling of anxiety,” he told SBS News.

“Am I the next person? Do I carry the virus? And is it going to spread again, are we going to have another lockdown?”

Parklands Christian College in Logan, south of Brisbane has been temporarily closed after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
Source: AAP

Mr Buol wants there to be better cooperation between multicultural communities and the state government to make sure all language groups can understand the health advice around the virus.

“Community leaders are there always to give information to community members, but also sometimes community leaders may not have enough resources to provide information for the community they look after,” Mr Buol said.

Logan is one of Australia's most multicultural cities, with 35 percent of the residents born overseas, and another 35 percent with migrant parents.

Almost a quarter of Logan residents speak a language other than English at home, with Samoan, Mandarin and Hindi the most common languages after English. 

“There’s about 217 cultures that we're aware of,” Mayor Darren Power said.

“The African community group and the Cambodian community group are probably the two largest.”

Queensland Health Minister Stephen Miles said public health authorities have translated the latest health advice into ten languages.

Chief health officer Jeannette Young is also meeting with multicultural community leaders. 

“We want to ensure that everyone in Queensland, no matter where they are, what community they identify with, what language group they identify with, that everybody in Queensland knows what they can do to keep themselves and their community safe,” Mr Miles said.

The Logan City Council also has translation services for residents who have difficulties understanding the new health advice. 

Victoria’s coronavirus outbreaks spread from local government areas with diverse communities.

But Mr Power said he was optimistic similar outbreaks wouldn't strike in Queensland, and he was confident health authorities were on top of the outbreak.

He applauded Logan residents who have already come forward for testing.

“They've really gone out of their way to obviously stop the spread, I’m happy with the performance of residents,” he said.

“But...we're being told by Queensland Health that the next 48 hours is going to be the critical one.”

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus


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Published 30 July 2020 at 7:08pm, updated 31 July 2020 at 5:38am
By Claudia Farhart, Naveen Razik