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The Eastern Cape health system is reeling as health workers fearing for their own safety refuse to treat Covid-19 patients, putting added pressure on state and private hospitals scrambling to meet requirements ahead of an expected spike in coronavirus cases. On Friday, Frere Hospital in East London was ordered to immediately shut down over concerns that measures for stopping Covid-19 — including access control — were inadequate, and the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) believes this situation is only the “tip of the iceberg”. The health crisis has been brought into focus by the death of five health workers in the province, including the wife of Amathole district municipality mayor Khanyile Maneli, a nurse at Victoria Hospital in Alice, which has created a culture of fear among their colleagues, many of whom have tested positive for the virus themselves.
The World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund today convened African leaders, bilateral partners, and multilateral institutions to spur faster action on COVID-19 response in African countries. H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Director General of the WHO Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Africa Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, and officials of individual countries outlined their policy plans for effective use of resources, multilateral organizations including the United Nations pledged their continued support, and bilateral partners reemphasized their commitment to a debt standstill beginning May 1, 2020. This comes in response to calls from the World Bank Group President Malpass, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Georgieva, and other partners for creditors to suspend debt repayments in order to provide much-needed support to the poorest countries.
A shadow hangs over the struggle to understand the COVID-19 pandemic’s different problems – a shadow of necropolitics that puts some people and risks in the obscure background, while others are highlighted, in the foreground. Social activists and primary care professionals are working hard to help people stay safe and providing basic necessities like food, water or soap. Meanwhile, far-right protesters, some from the better-off classes who protest from the safety of their cars, but also daily workers, Uber drivers and street traders are out against the lockdown, in protests described as nearing a military coup. They want workers to get back to work, contrary to public health recommendations. The elites want the economy to be re-opened, so they can go back to profiting, while the precariously-employed are torn between the need to stay safe and the need to return to work in the absence of alternative means of survival. The question of survival marks the ‘edges’ of the pandemic. ‘Edges’ or borders (Bhattarcharya 2018) are where rights and freedoms are differentiated for different groups of people. Bordering is not only about the control of migration, or about the differences between the ‘global north’ and the ‘global south’. Bordering takes place within states, within public institutions and even within the public sphere. Brazil is rapidly becoming a front-runner in the horrible reversal of the ideal of justice playing out across the world – the last are coming first in experiencing the brunt of mass ill-being, fear, insecurity, and death. Necropolitical assumptions run through current ‘scientific’ models and conceptions of society, especially those that model society as synonymous with ‘economy’. The aggregated statistics of pandemic monitoring offer an impersonal universalizing language of a single ‘population’ or ‘economy’. Science, law and ethics are complicit when they universalize in ways that disguise
The social legitimacy of the ‘COVID-19 lockdown’, government’s regulations imposed to contain the spread of the virus, is most likely to run aground unless an urgent plan can be made to ensure that everyone in the country has access to sufficient food. And it’s not looking good. Based on interviews, statements by various organisations and our own experience, here is our summary of the already-evident impacts of the lockdown on poor people’s access to food, and on the informal food economy – from small farmers to street vendors and spaza shops – that is so important in meeting people’s daily food needs. What’s happened already and what’s coming soon What are the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, and the lockdown imposed from 27 March 2020? How is the lockdown being interpreted and enforced, and which parts of the food system are being closed down while others are able to continue operations? Here we discuss the immediate scenario of shortages and surpluses – where poor people as producers and traders are unable to continue to produce and sell, while at the same time poor people are unable to access sufficient nutritious food.
During the 20 years that Alejandro Carrillo has worked in the United States, he has always sent money home. Earnings from his time with construction crews in Florida were enough to provide food and an education to each of his seven children and to build his wife a house in which to raise them. It was also enough to later help his 33-year-old son, José Carrillo, purchase a small, green car to start a taxi business. Funds sent back to Central America from migrants who work in economically developed countries are a lifeline to families like the Carrillos. Remittances represent a steady cash flow which keeps receivers out of poverty and provides a safety net in times of crisis.
Before coronavirus began to spread across the globe, health systems in Yemen were already burdened and at a breaking point after five years of relentless war. By December 2019, more than half of all health facilities had closed or were only partially functional, leaving 19.7 million people, including 10.2 million children, without adequate access to healthcare. With no doctors to be found in nearly 20% of the 333 districts in Yemen,[i] children were dying at the hands of preventable diseases, including diarrhea, malnutrition and respiratory tract infections.[ii] Despite the enormous challenges, Save the Children reaches the most vulnerable children across Yemen, making sure they have enough food to eat, can access healthcare, can continue their education, and are protected from violence. Since the beginning of the crisis, we’ve reached more than three million children with crucial support.
The Great Plague hit London in the spring of 1665 and scythed away full a quarter of its population. In the built-up area between the City, Westminster and Southwark, 100,000 died. It was the last gasp of a fatally persistent pandemic that had first struck the timbered medieval metropolis in 1348. What follows are some extracts from my book London: A Travel Guide through Time, in which I bring — hopefully in an uncomfortably vivid way — to life what it was like to live in, or at least visit, the capital at the height of the Plague, when buboes were sprouting on people’s necks, armpits and groins like there was no tomorrow.
I’ve been a matron at University College Hospital (UCH) in London since 2011 but had actually been on secondment for six months at The Lister Hospital before COVID. I returned to work at UCH on Monday 2 March, the day we received the letter to intensive care hospitals from Italy saying ‘start preparing now’ – we haven’t stopped since. We expanded massively within a very short space of time, going first from 35 to 86 critical care beds then creating a further 22 up on one of the wards. I’m responsible for the ‘3rd floor’ as we call it, which is the critical care area and the theatre area. On our busiest days so far, we’ve seen up to eight new COVID patients, with around 62 critically ill patients.

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