Coronavirus worldwide update

This 6 April 2020 video says about itself:

The Worst Possible People are in Charge at the Worst Possible Time | George Monbiot on Coronavirus

Coronavirus should be a warning that our current system is not fit for purpose

Fiction, reality and the global crisis of capitalism. 7 April 2020. As the death toll from the Covid-19 pandemic mounted on Monday, a mood of uncontrollable euphoria prevailed among investors on Wall Street: here.

On Monday evening, shortly after the announcement that another 439 people had died of COVID-19 in Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved to an intensive care unit at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. Diagnosed with a coronavirus infection 11 days ago, Johnson was admitted to the hospital Sunday night with persistent symptoms of COVID-19. His condition had worsened by Monday afternoon: here.

British Queen appeals for national unity across an unbridgeable class divide: here.

Britain: NHS PORTERS at Epsom and St Helier Trust, not only have very ‘flimsy’ Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) but they are being forced to transport infected dead patients in sheets, as they have run out of body bags as the death toll mounts! The porters – who have been waiting months to get an ‘insulting’ 5p an hour pay rise from the trust – are left with just a thin plastic apron, disposable gloves and a flimsy mask as they rush around the hospital doing the difficult and highly distressing work of moving ever-increasing numbers of deceased patients: here.

Britain: THE TORY Party has launched a massive campaign to blame China to cover up their own culpability in the rapid spread of the coronavirus, which, by yesterday, has resulted in more than 48,000 people contracting the disease and 4,943 deaths in the UK: here.

Scottish care workers speak out against conditions and treatment during COVID-19 crisis. By Darren Paxton, 7 April 2020. Front line health and social care workers from the Scottish Highlands spoke to the WSWS about the conditions they are facing: here.

As it releases thousands of prisoners, UK government keeps Julian Assange locked-up in danger. By Thomas Scripps, 6 April 2020.

Refugees left to die as COVID-19 spreads across Greece. By George Gallanis, 7 April 2020. Greece’s New Democracy government is ignoring calls to move refugees, presently clustered on islands, to mainland facilities to combat COVID-19.

Frida Wattenberg was too young to get a driver’s license when the Nazis invaded her native France in 1940. But three years later, at the age of 19, she was already risking her life by helping to drive Jewish children out of occupied France into neutral Switzerland. Wattenberg died in Paris on April 3 from the coronavirus. She was 96 … Born in Paris in 1924 to Jewish parents who had immigrated from the central Polish city of Lodz, Wattenberg was an activist in the Jewish youth movement HaShomer Hatzair from her early teens. Months after the Germans invaded, Wattenberg, then 16, was recruited into the resistance: here.

French state covered up mass COVID-19 deaths in retirement homes. By Jacques Valentin, 7 April 2020.

Doctors in Germany will soon have to decide on life and death. By Peter Schwarz, 6 April 2020.

German government expands war operations despite coronavirus pandemic. By Johannes Stern, 7 April 2020. The dramatic spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has done nothing to change German war policy. The ruling class is utilising the crisis in order to push forward its foreign policy offensive: here.

COVID-19 pandemic threatens millions in war-torn Libya and Syria. By Kumaran Ira, 7 April 2020. Imperialist wars and proxy conflicts costing hundreds of thousands of lives have destroyed infrastructure critical to fight the spread of coronavirus: here.

Ontario warns of more than 10,000 COVID-19 deaths as pandemic spreads rapidly across Canada. By Roger Jordan, 6 April 2020.

Mounting coronavirus death toll in Canada’s elderly care homes. By Penny Smith, 7 April 2020. COVID-19 cases have been reported from over 600 nursing and retirement homes nationwide, with Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia hardest hit.

Workers across Canada protest unsafe conditions amidst pandemic. As shortages of personal protective equipment persist across the country, nurses in London, Ontario stopped work on 11 occasions citing their right to refuse unsafe working conditions last week. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, established medical procedures require hospital staff to change masks before attending to each new patient. However, because of equipment shortages, London hospital authorities have allotted only four basic masks per shift, a process which threatens to transfer the virus from patient to patient. The superior N95 masks are reserved for front-line staff performing intubations and other specialized procedures. … In the Colombian municipality of Luruaco, workers at the ESE Hospital have gone on strike over not only the lack of supplies and equipment, leaving them unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic, but over nonpayment of salaries and benefits, in some cases going back months. The mayor of the town of 23,000, in the department of Atlántico, claims that she had attempted to meet with the previous director on five occasions, but the meetings never materialized. The ESE Hospital is indebted to about 30 workers, who have not received wages or any benefits—including vacation pay, pensions and copays—for four months, bringing on the strike call. In addition, ambulances have empty gas tanks and workers have no uniforms or protective equipment. The mayor blamed the previous ESE director for the crisis, but hospitals in other areas of Colombia are gravely unprepared for the coronavirus pandemic, having been defunded and ignored for years by the government. In various cities in the Caribbean region, over 200 workers have gone on strike, according to a report: here.

Mexico: A year after wildcat strikes involving 70,000 workers, the maquiladora workers in Matamoros are leading the fight against the dangers workers face from Covid-19: here.

The COVID-19 virus continues to spread aggressively in Peru, endangering the poorest people of Andean or Amazonian origin who have low immune defenses: here.

Letter from Indian-held Kashmir: Emergency amidst Emergency—Modi government denies Internet access imperiling lives. By Muzamil Yaqoob and Nilanjana Bhattacharya, 7 April 2020. The Indian state has refused to comply with World Health Organization guidelines to lift the internet lockdown in Kashmir, denying doctors and the public access to critical information in a life-and-death situation:.

Coronavirus crisis and worldwide capitalism

This 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Nurses Protest Extreme Shortages Of Protective Gear

Frontline medical professionals across the country warn of the potentially deadly consequences of a lack of personal protective equipment.

This interview was recorded April 3.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Monday, April 6, 2020

Editorial: Coronavirus, international trade and the Labour reshuffle

BARBADOS is seeking answers over the US decision to block a ventilator shipment.

Germany decries “modern piracy” over Washington’s actions diverting face masks that Berlin had ordered to its own shores.

In the throes of a global pandemic, the Donald Trump administration’s bully-boy behaviour abroad — which has notoriously included blocking Chinese medical aid to Cuba when Cuba has gone the extra mile to assist countries from Jamaica to Britain — is only matched by its chaotic, inconsistent and irresponsible approach to containing its spread in the US itself.

The US is not alone, of course. A number of countries have opted to kick downwards — Germany blocking equipment intended for Italy while Italy has blocked equipment intended for Greece, for example, even if in the latter case the severity of the Italian Covid-19 crisis explains a reluctance to allow scarce equipment to leave the country, even when bought and paid for by a foreign government.

What Berlin labels “wild-west tactics” might be seen as a new development. In fact they expose the crude power relationships that underpin the rules of international relations and trade.

Rerouting masks might shock Germany, but Washington’s “might is right” attitude is grimly familiar to countries like Cuba and Venezuela, subject to punishing illegal sanctions for nakedly political reasons, while its imperial arrogance is exemplified by the extraterritorial enforcement of such sanctions — with companies from Britain, the EU or anywhere else hit with heavy financial penalties if they fail to comply with sanctions that their own governments oppose.

Nor has international law been any barrier to the US, Britain or our allies launching unprovoked attacks on sovereign countries such as Iraq or Libya, or funding and arming militants aiming to overthrow the government in Syria.

In Britain, our experience of coronavirus — which contrasts dramatically to that in countries which took rapid action to contain it like China, or to countries which have invested significantly in a health service with some extra capacity for emergencies like Germany — vindicates the warnings of Labour in the Jeremy Corbyn years about the consequences of privatisation and cuts for our public services.

Internationally, a lawlessness that is now affecting rich and powerful countries, as well as poorer ones likewise, vindicates the socialist and anti-imperialist left’s criticisms of a global order based on exploitation and force.

Even Corbyn was never able to reshape Labour’s foreign policy in line with his own longstanding opposition to the US-led Nato military alliance or nuclear weapons.

But the party under him did speak out against US, Saudi and Israeli aggression and caution against war when the prospect of it loomed over Venezuela or Iran.

It also, in some of the work done by then shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner, began to question the inbuilt inequalities in global supply chains and international corporate treaties, though such criticism was effectively shelved as the party locked itself into support for a European Union that together with the US sits at the apex of the unfair trade hierarchy.

The left has watched new leader Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet reshuffle with justified dismay, since most of the Corbyn team’s socialists have been ejected, as have most of the voices who warned against the disastrous second-referendum policy.

The bias of a team among whom support for Nato and the EU is instinctive will be towards trying to revive “norms” around a trading system governed by corporate treaties, policed by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund and which is deeply implicated in worsening poverty, forcing open markets at the cost of weaker countries and runaway climate change.

But that trading system is in crisis, and the left is well placed to win a wider understanding of why its recovery is far more dangerous to humanity than its demise.

Winning the whole labour movement to such a position would dramatically advance the fight for a better future after the pandemic.