International news: Iran, Kuwait, Singapore, Qatar, Ecuador, New York

Submitted by AWL on 21 April, 2020 - 7:59

Iran’s official figures show new Covid-19 cases peaking there about 30 March and deaths peaking about 4 April, and 5,118 deaths so far. An Iranian activist told Solidarity: “The official figures are rubbish! What the true number is nobody can tell. Some people are saying there is going to be a second wave. Lots of workers have died.”

Mohammad-Hossein Sepehri, a teacher jailed in Mashhad’s Vakilabad prison, has contracted coronavirus. He has been denied medical care.

There are many teachers and hundreds of other labour and social rights activists languishing in the Iranian regime’s prisons and now exposed to a high risk of contracting Covid-19.

In Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, even official figures say that nearly all Covid-19 cases have been among migrant workers, many of whom live in crowded and squalid labour camps.

Some labour camps have been locked down, as in Singapore. And Covid-19 has also been used as an excuse to deport migrant workers.

According to Amnesty International, “Qatari authorities rounded up and expelled dozens of migrant workers after telling them they were being taken to be tested for Covid-19… They were taken to detention centres and held in appalling conditions for several days, before being sent to Nepal…”

Ecuador’s official figures show 474 Covid-19 deaths. But overall death figures there show an excess of 5,700 deaths over usual rates in the first two weeks of April for Guayas province alone, the area round Guayaquil.

Even in New York City, where healthcare provision is much ampler, Mark Levine, chair of the NYC health committee, has said (5 April): “Normally in NYC 20-25 people die at home each day. We are now at 200-215. Every day.” But most don’t get tested for Covid-19.

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