Coronavirus crisis, worldwide news

This 20 April 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Supporters SHAMED By Health Workers

Watch health care workers block Trump supporters leading anti-lockdown protests. John Iadarola and Francesca Fiorentini break it down on The Damage Report.

COVID-19 lockdown leaves Gulf states’ migrant workers penniless in unsanitary conditions. By Jean Shaoul, 21 April 2020. Unable to return home because of travel restrictions or their countries’ refusal to accept them, migrants are left to fester in lockdown, confined to overcrowded, unsanitary dormitories without access to either health care or help. See also here.

Mass COVID-19 infection among migrant workers in Singapore. By Gustav Kemper, 21 April 2020. The number of COVID-19 infections is exploding in the Singapore workers’ camps.

“We’re told there’s no money, but it’s raining money for the banks”. Quebec nurses expose shortages that enabled COVID-19 to ravage long-term care facilities. By our reporters, 21 April 2020. Nurses spoke out against the horrific conditions they and other health workers face in fighting the pandemic in long-term care facilities and insisted these are the product of decades of austerity.

After decades of austerity, Ontario struggles to cope with surge in COVID-19 cases. By Matthew Richter, 20 April 2020

Walkouts by Canadian transit workers protest lack of COVID-19 protections. By Carl Bronski, 20 April 2020.

“Our life is not a game”. Workers strike across Ciudad Juárez, Mexico as COVID-19 death toll rises in factories. By Andrea Lobo, 20 April 2020.

From the World Socialist Web Site, 21 April 2020:

Nova Scotia dock workers refuse unsafe work

At one of North America’s largest vehicle shipping operations in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia workers asserted their right to refuse unsafe work over the company’s failure to provide adequate safety measures in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Autoport facility is owned by CN rail, one of the largest transport companies in the country.

Waterside workers were being transferred to the ship loading sites in small, cramped shuttle vans. In addition, when entering the shipping areas workers were required to gain access by placing their hands in an access identification device. At least 200 workers, members of Unifor, log in at the site by this method. Workers demanded that such unsafe practices be remediated by Autoport. However, management failed to address their concerns. When 10 workers refused to subject themselves to unsafe work, the company sent them home without pay.

Workers then initiated a grievance with the provincial Labour Board. An investigation subsequently showed that Autoport was egregiously violating the most basic of social distancing and other anti-virus transmission standards ordered by the province’s Chief Medical Officer. As a result of the work refusals, Autoport was ordered to provide adequate transportation procedures and regular deep cleaning of workspaces. …

Nurses, doctors and other workers for the October 1 Hospital in Mexico City, carrying homemade signs and chanting, protested and blocked an avenue on April 13. They held the action to demand the provision of protective equipment and supplies as the number of COVID-19 cases rises. …

People in Honduras who are unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic have had to risk contagion to demand promised food aid. Faced with food insecurity and poverty, residents of poor neighborhoods in the capital Tegucigalpa and its twin city Comayagüela have protested and blocked highways. At least 2,000 people complained of not having food. …

At the same time, doctors, nurses and other workers in the health sector nationwide continue protests to demand protective gear to treat patients.

Dominican Republic: Protests against reopening free trade zone

Residents of Santiago, the Dominican Republic’s second-largest city, protested April 14 and 15 against the reopening of the zona franca or free trade zone. The protesters gathered in front of the customs office to request the intervention of the government to maintain the quarantine.

Thousands of workers in the zona franca are employed in the manufacture of tobacco products. The protesters fear that conditions at the factories will not be safe enough to resume operations.

Colombian health workers protest lack of protective equipment and supplies

Health workers at the Kennedy Hospital in Bogotá, Colombia carried out a day of protest on April 13 over the lack of protection from COVID-19. The hospital workers have sent a plea to the national government of right-wing president Iván Duque asking him to guarantee safe and dignified working conditions for themselves as well as for ambulance drivers, paramedics and support staff.

Protesting workers complained not only of poor working conditions and lack of protection, but since in 80 percent of cases they are subcontracted workers, they are underpaid and often late in receiving their wages. Nonetheless, they said that they would continue to serve the population despite the conditions under which they have been working.

Barrio residents in Colombia block roads to demand aid

Residents of various working-class neighborhoods in Bogotá, including Usme, Suba, Potosí, La Colombianita and others, blocked highways and protested by banging pots and pans several days last week. The protesters are working people who have complied with the government’s social distancing and quarantine decrees, but who have not received any aid as their food supplies have run out.

Neighbors threw tires, trash cans and boards on the streets, impeding traffic, and carried out rolling blockades of bus stations. At the same time, they set up community kitchens in order to feed children and seniors, though the amount of available food is insufficient. They also placed guards on shifts.

Residents denounced the negligence of the government. One protester told, “We’re already tired … we don’t know what else we can do. We’ve been four days here and nobody has come. It isn’t fair; we can’t work and after the fact they neglect us.”

As of April 17, Colombia had 3,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 100 fatalities. The government set up a program called Ingreso Solidario (Solidarity Income) that was supposed to provide food for over 80,000 of the poorest families in Bogotá who do not have access to other programs, but that help has been delayed for many families.

Protests break out in Colombia over failure to distribute aid amid COVID-19 quarantine. By Cesar Uco and Bill Van Auken, 21 April 2020. The right-wing Duque government has called for reopening “productive life without social life” to meet the needs of Colombian and foreign capital.

Australia: Workers call out unsafe conditions at Tasmanian hospitals. By Martin Scott, 21 April 2020. Two more patients have died as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in the northwest of the state.

Australian governments refuse to assist international students amid pandemic. By John Harris, 20 April 2020.

International students in Australia speak out: “Governments have done nothing to help us”. By our reporters, 20 April 2020.

New Zealand government moves to end lockdown. By Tom Peters, 21 April 2020. There is opposition among teachers, in particular, to the decision to lift restrictions on businesses and reopen schools while there is still community transmission of coronavirus.

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