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The coronavirus-era adaptation to working from home is taking its toll on everyone, and now there’s a face for that struggle: Potato boss.
Lizet Ocampo is the political director of People for the American Way, a progressive advocacy organisation that works to build democracy by tackling right-wing extremism and encouraging civic engagement. Like many offices around the country, Ocampo’s is working remotely, conducting team meetings via video conference.
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Earlier this week, she fell victim to technical difficulties with the filters she had downloaded on Microsoft Teams and was forced to lead her call while appearing as a root vegetable.
“I just kind of gave up and stayed as a potato for the rest of the call,” Ocampo told BuzzFeed News.
Ocampo’s colleague, Rachele Clegg, shared the moment on Twitter:
my boss turned herself into a potato on our Microsoft teams meeting and can’t figure out how to turn the setting off, so she was just stuck like this the entire meeting pic.twitter.com/uHLgJUOsXk
— Rachele with an e but pronounced Rachel (@PettyClegg) March 30, 2020
This incident apparently struck a chord; the post raked in hundreds of thousands of likes and retweets.
Fortunately for Clegg, who was momentarily concerned about how her boss would take the news she was now a Twitter-famous spud, Ocampo welcomed her newfound internet fame:
I yam potato boss. You should see me in a crown, right @billieeilish? I yam glad this is making folks laugh at this time. Please stay planted at home and safe! For more needed laughs, follow my favorite comedian @cristela9 . Potate out. #HASHtag#PotatoBosshttps://t.co/OxpidZc921
— LizetOcampo (@mlizetocampo) March 31, 2020
“The good news is that my boss, Lizet Ocampo, will not be sacking me tomorrow. We hashed it all out tonight and our team is still laughing with you all. STAY PLANTED AT HOME & welcome my potato boss,” wrote Clegg.
Other colleagues were relieved their boss owned her “spudden” fame:
— Samantha Del Vecchio (@sam_del_vecc) March 31, 2020
The internet, of course, did as the internet does with their new potato queen, and turned her into a relatable meme:
— LizetOcampo (@mlizetocampo) March 31, 2020
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told international visitors in Australia it’s time they returned to their usual place of residence.
“As lovely as it is to have visitors to Australia, it is time – as it has been for some while – to make your way home,” the PM said in a press conference on Friday.
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Morrison said this was “to ensure that you can receive the supports that are available where they in your home countries”.
“At this time, Australia must focus on its citizens and its residents to ensure we can maximise the economic supports that we have,” he explained.
His comments come as a cluster of Covid-19 cases was confirmed amongst “infected backpackers” in Sydney’s Bondi earlier this week.
Australia’s borders are not closed as of yet, with returning residents having to self-isolate for 14 days in mandatory quarantine hotels provided by the government.
He did say there could be opportunities for qualified health workers on holiday visas to stay and work during this unprecedented crisis.
“For those backpackers in Australia who are nurses or doctors, or have other critical skills that can really help us during this crisis, then there will be opportunities for them as well,” he said.
“But our focus and our priority is on supporting Australians and Australian residents with the economic supports that are available.”
Also speaking about international students, Morrison said, “All students who come to Australia in their first year have to give a warranty that they are able to support themselves for the first 12 months of their study”.
For those intending to do agricultural-related work such as fruit-picking, the PM said they will be required to register online and self-isolate for 14 days, before transferring to another part of the country where the work is.
He added people on various visa arrangements are “not held here compulsorily”.
“If they are not in a position to support themselves then there is the alternative for them to return to their home countries.”
At least 5,224 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Australia and 27 people have died.