COVID-19 pandemic, worldwide update

This 29 March 2020 video says about itself:

Coronavirus: Cinzia Arruzza on the strike wave in Italy

Cinzia Arruzza, socialist feminist activist in New York, talks about the strike wave in Italy which is trying to shut down industry to combat the spread of coronavirus. Filmed at the UK organised online meeting, “Workplace collective action to slow coronavirus”, attended by 140 people.

By Alejandro López and Alex Lantier:

Spanish police assault steelworkers striking against COVID-19 “back-to-work” order

0 March 2020

On Friday, Spanish police assaulted steelworkers in the Basque country protesting against being forced back to unsafe, non-essential jobs amid the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. One of the worst-hit countries, with 80,031 sick and 6,802 dead—more than twice the death total in China—Spain has imposed strict confinement orders on its population. However, large firms continue to demand millions of workers needlessly go to work to keep producing profits for the ruling class. …

On Friday, workers at Sidenor, a steel firm headquartered in the Basque Country in Spain, struck after Basque-nationalist trade unions had called a “Haserre Gaude” (“We are angry” in Basque) protest. The appeal announced that it aimed to “ensure public health is prioritized against the decision of employers and governments to prioritize economic interests.” Workers had been called to organize a work stoppage at noon on Friday.

When the workers began the protest, the Ertzaintza, the Basque regional police, intervened to prevent and then to disperse it. Workers shouted at police, calling on them to verify “the false health and safety measures that exist in the company” against COVID-19, instead of smashing the protest.

One worker present at the protest told the Basque daily Naiz: “After the media intervention ended, an Ertzaintza patrol went to the committee members and banned them from carrying out the protest, even though it was being held inside the company premises.”

This 24 March 2020 video shows a Basque worker stopped by police for cycling.

This protest comes a week after a video went viral on social media, showing a worker stopped by police and threatened with a fine for going to work on a bicycle. Police said bicycling was illegal and violated the state of alarm, which requires everyone to remain in their homes unless they are traveling to work or going out for essential goods like medicine or food. The worker retorted that he was going to work and that rather than fining him, they should be going to his factory and inspecting the conditions they are forced to work in. …

In the US, autoworkers, sanitation workers, shipbuilders, transit workers, food warehouse workers, poultry workers and Amazon workers have closed down factories to protest unsafe working conditions. Strikes have also erupted of British postal workers, French bus drivers and auto workers, and Fiat-Chrysler workers in Canada. In Spain, manufacturers like Airbus, Mercedes-Benz, Michelin, Seat, Renault and Nissan closed only when workers walked off the job. …

Millions of workers were forced to go to non-essential jobs in jam-packed buses, metros and trains, and then work in unsanitary conditions in their workplaces, spreading COVID-19 and likely costing thousands more lives.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is using the COVID-19 epidemic to establish dictatorial rule. Following the declaration of a state of emergency on March 11, the country’s parliament is to be effectively abolished with the introduction of an “Emergency Ordinance Act.” The act will allow Orbán to take sole control of all spheres of power: here.

Sunday Telegraph reports on Exercise Cygnus. UK government sources speak of “blood on our hands” over coronavirus due to NHS cuts: here.

Coronavirus cases surge in Turkey as anger grows among workers at government response: here.

As the coronavirus pandemic spreads rapidly across Canada, doctors are sounding the alarm, even as they brace for the worst. Physicians and other medical professionals are concerned that the scenes of overwhelmed healthcare systems, particularly in Italy and Spain, could soon become reality across Canada due to the lack of any surge capacity in hospitals: here.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the African continent rose to 4,605 Sunday, with around 100 people having lost their lives to the virus. The need for an internationally coordinated response to stop the spread of the coronavirus on the African continent is urgent: here.

Japanese government planning attacks on democratic rights on pretext of pandemic. By Ben McGrath, 30 March 2020. Health experts are warning that Japan could see a wider COVID-19 outbreak, in part due to the complete lack of preparation by the Abe government.

7 thoughts on “COVID-19 pandemic, worldwide update

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