Italian actress Lucia Bosè (1931-2020), Rome 11:00 and the social dimensions of a tragedy. By Hiram Lee, 9 June 2020. Italian actress Lucia Bosè died March 23 from complications related to COVID-19. She was 89 and living in Segovia, Spain at the time of her death. Bosè got her start in the Italian neorealist movement, known for its dramatizations of the lives of the poor and working class.
A reality check on the ongoing spread of the coronavirus pandemic. 9 June 2020. More than 400,000 men, women and children have lost their lives from COVID-19 and the lives of countless millions more remain in danger as the number of cases continues to grow: here.
The World Health Organization comes under new US attack for its relationship to China. By Benjamin Mateus, 9 June 2020. China and the WHO are useful scapegoats for the systematic neglect of the health and lives of millions of people on the part of the Trump administration and other imperialist governments.
UK: Postal workers at Bridgewater walk out as six COVID-19 cases confirmed at Wellingborough. By Paul Lee, 9 June 2020. Workers have faced threats of disciplinary action such as “willful delay of the mail”, which can lead to instant dismissal.
UK: Virus infection rate increases as Johnson government continues ending lockdown. By Robert Stevens, 9 June 2020. Since imposing a lockdown on March 23, Johnson and government ministers have proclaimed keeping the “R” rate below 1 as the precondition for ending the lockdown. But ending the lockdown continues.
Greece, like Suriname, Israel and Germany, used to be one of the countries where the COVID-19 pandemic did not cause such big disasters as in Donald Trump‘s USA, Jair Bolsonaro‘s Brazil and Boris Johnson‘s Britain.
Today, similar news from Greece; translated from Dutch NOS radio:
As of Thursday, 97 new confirmed coronavirus cases have been added in Greece. Thirty cases are people who have traveled to Greece from abroad, 29 are new cases in the Xanthi region, in the northeast of the country. Several villages there have already been placed in isolation several times in recent months. It cannot be excluded that such a quarantine measure may be needed again.
Greek virologists are also concerned about gatherings and parties at and in bars, including on the island of Mykonos and Athens. Since May 25, the terraces were open again, and since June 6, the catering industry can also receive people. For a popular beach bar on Mykonos, the reopening didn’t take long. An inspection found that visitors did not comply with the coronavirus rules. The owner had to close his bar for sixty days, and was fined 20,000 euros.
The Ministry of Health has decided to provide daily information about the number of confirmed infections and deaths again. This happened only several times a week since the beginning of this month. The number of deaths in Greece is 182 (2 died since last Thursday), ten patients are still in intensive care.
DEVELOPING COUNTRIES THAT HAVE HANDLED COVID-19 BETTER THAN THE U.S. The United States, Italy, Spain, France and the United Kingdom contain just 7.5% of the world’s population — and two-thirds of its coronavirus death toll. The successes of the global south — comprising newly industrialized or developing countries — have gone mostly unnoticed. Last month, the World Bank reported that developing countries make up 85% of the global population but account for just 21% of COVID-19 deaths. In late May, the entire region of West Africa had recorded just 654 COVID-19 deaths, a figure some Western countries were racking up every day. [HuffPost]
From the World Socialist Web Site, 9 June 2020:
Panamanian workers protest reopening of economy
Workers belonging to various Panamanian trade unions held street protests June 2 to protest the government’s plans to reopen the economy. The decision, beginning with the June 1 reopening of the construction industry, was taken despite the fact that Panama has had 13,000 infections and 350 deaths, the worst record of any Central American nation.
The government decreed a shutdown in mid-April, and the weeks that followed were rife with complaints that the promised aid and food distribution were irregular and insufficient. The unions called for a more gradual easing of restrictions to ward off a spike in new infections.
The protest included a march through Panama City in which members of the Suntracs construction union carried a mock coffin. The march ended at the Labor Ministry, where Suntracs Secretary General Saúl Méndez denounced the decision, saying, “It’s like throwing everything the people have suffered into the trash.” The unions also accused the government of working with employers to weaken labor laws. …
Costa Rican banana workers strike over COVID-19 concerns
Workers for Finca 3, a banana plantation in Carari, a district in Costa Rica’s Pococí canton, went on strike June 5, the day before four workers were found to have contracted COVID-19 and were removed from the premises. The workers also complained that management had not placed adequate sanitary supplies and lavatories at all sites.
The workers had asked the Labor Ministry to intervene, but apart from a promise, it has done nothing so far. …
Colombian teachers hold sit-ins to demand health resources, basic income, change in plans to reopen schools
Groups of no more than 50 teachers in Bogotá, Cali, Medellin and Bucaramanga held sit-ins on the streets to dramatize their demands June 4. The teachers’ union federation, Fecode, organized the actions in line with biosafety protocols including social distancing and the wearing of gloves and masks, stating that other teachers were staying at home but in virtual support of the protests.
The teachers protested the model—known as “alternation and gradualness”—drawn up by the Education Ministry for the restarting of face-to-face instruction. Classes have been suspended since mid-March, and the ministry is aiming to restart them on August 1. Fecode rejects the scheme “because there are no biosafety conditions and teachers, students and parents are at risk,” stated a Fecode spokesman.
Other issues were highlighted at the sit-ins. Fecode restated its support for a proposal in the Senate to provide a monthly minimum wage of 877,803 pesos (US$245) to unemployed and self-employed workers who have been thrown out of work by the pandemic. It also demanded that the distribution of health resources be better managed. …
Frontline workers fight for COVID-19 compensation
Despite the occasional fine words about heroic frontline workers spouted by government officials across Canada, essential workers in health care and retail sectors continue to fight for adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) and compensation that has been promised but seldom delivered.
Hospital and long-term care employees in British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario report, five months since the global pandemic was declared, that they are still forced to re-use masks and other PPE when supplies run short.
In Manitoba, only about one-half of grocery store workers are eligible for the C$1,000 bonuses promised for workers regularly attending their jobs and are demanding inclusion. In British Columbia, the New Democratic Party government has refused to include retail workers in a recently announced plan to compensate frontline workers.
In Saskatchewan, 12,000 health care workers in the Service Employees International Union have been without a new contract for three years and have been stonewalled by the right-wing Scott Moe government. The workers have now threatened job action.
Employees in the government workers’ union and CUPE have called for a wage top-up program in that province. In an insult to low-wage workers across Saskatchewan, the Moe government announced a 13-cent-per-hour October increase in the minimum wage, which already is the lowest in Canada.
In Quebec, the country’s pandemic epicenter, 1,300 Montreal-area government speech therapists, physiotherapists, social workers and psychologists have been involuntarily reassigned to work as aides to patient attendants in the drastically understaffed long-term care facilities. The workers, who have been scheduled into 2021 for the dangerous assignments, are demanding that the government fill the placements with attractive wages so they can return to their fields of expertise.