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UN says 1.6 billion people could lose their livelihood

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Nearly half the global workforce could lose their livelihoods due to the pandemic

Nearly half the global workforce – more than 1.6 billion people – could lose their livelihoods due to coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns, according to a UN International Labour Organization report. These include many informal workers, such as domestic workers, agricultural workers and street vendors, who may not have worker benefits or social protection.

“For millions of workers, no income means no food, no security and no future,” said the organisation’s director general Guy Ryder. “As the pandemic and the jobs crisis evolve, the need to protect the most vulnerable becomes even more urgent,” he said.

Other coronavirus developments

A new coronavirus antibody test has been certified as compliant with European Union safety standards. The company which developed the antibody test, Abbott, claims it is highly sensitive when used 14 days after a person first developed symptoms. It is still not clear whether people with antibodies are protected from reinfection and how long such protection might last.

US GDP fell 4.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, the largest quarterly fall since the 2008 financial crisis and exceeding economists’ forecasts of a 4 per cent decline. 

US president Donald Trump signed an executive order yesterday to compel meat-processing plants to stay open during the pandemic, despite hundreds of workers falling ill. Unions and worker advocates argue that closures are necessary to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The US now has more than 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases, making up about a third of confirmed cases worldwide. More than 58,000 people have died from covid-19 in the US, more than the number of US citizens killed during the Vietnam war.

Millions of women will be unable to access contraceptives and face unwanted pregnancies, gender-based violence and other harmful practices over the next few months due to the pandemic, according to new projections from the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency.

The UK has expanded the list of people eligible for coronavirus testing to include care home residents and staff. People over 65 and those who have to leave home for work will also be eligible for testing if they develop covid-19 symptoms. The UK government says it is still aiming to hit its target of 100,000 daily coronavirus tests by tomorrow. About 43,000 people were tested in the 24 hours up to 09.00 on 28 April.

Germany has extended its ban on international travel until 14 June. It was originally due to end on 3 May.

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