Sanwar Ali: Coronavirus update for UK, US, Europe and migrants

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By Sanwar Ali

There continues to be some relaxation of restrictions on travel and “lockdowns” around the World as the number of deaths due to coronavirus COVID-19 continues to fall.  We cover some changes for the UK, US and Europe.  It remains the case that migrants around the World are more likely to be in occupations that puts them at greater risk of catching coronavirus.

UK Confusion over return to work

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has changed the advice to people about returning to work.  On Sunday 10th May 2020 he had the following to say:

 “should go to work if you can’t work from home,”

Then in a televised broadcast on the evening of 11th May Mr Johnson had the following to say:

“should now think about going back to work providing your workplace is Covid-secure and providing you can travel to work safely.”

There has been criticism that some people are being pressured to return to work when it may not be safe to do so.  An analysis by the Office for National Statistics found that nearly two-thirds of the 2,500 coronavirus fatalities were men.  It found that builders, security guards, taxi drivers and chauffeurs, bus drivers and chefs were most at risk.  These are also occupations that have a higher percentage of migrant workers.

John Phillips, Acting General Secretary of the GMB union had the following to say:

“If you are low paid and working through the Covid-19 crisis you are more likely to die -- that’s how stark these figures are”.

Small UK protests against lockdown

Piers Corbyn the brother of former Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn and astrophysicist, weather forecaster and businessman, was arrested during an anti-lockdown protest in London.   So far UK protests against the “lockdown” have been small. 

Piers Corbyn seems to believe in some strange conspiracy theories and had the following to say:

“vaccination is not necessary”

Mr Corbyn seems to support the bizarre 5G conspiracy theory:

“5G towers will be installed everywhere”, adding: “5G enhances anyone who’s got illness from Covid, so they work together.”


US daily death toll lowest in five days:

The total number of deaths due to coronavirus exceeded 83,000.  The good news is that it seems that the rate of infections is being brought under control with a lower death toll.  Like in other Countries migrants are at greater risk of catching coronavirus.  Migrants are more likely to work in healthcare work in the frontline and work in other occupations that put them in touch with the public.

There is currently pressure for a non-immigrant work visa 60 day ban from four Republican senators.  This may happen later this month.  Perhaps coronavirus is being used as an excuse to restrict immigration.

Italy decides to relax border restrictions from 3rd June

Italy had one of the highest number of deaths due to coronavirus in Europe.  The current number of deaths in Italy due to coronavirus is about 32,000.

Describing the crisis as “a shock without precedent since the Great Depression” Italian economic affairs commissioner Paolo Gentili insisted:

”We will have a tourist season this summer, even if it’s with security measures and limitations.”

Italy recently announced that from 3 June entry will be allowed from EU Countries and for Schengen Area tourists. Also the 14-day quarantine requirement will be removed for all new international arrivals.

Italy was the first European country to impose a lockdown on its citizens.  The tourist industry represents about 13 percent of GDP. 

European Commission recommends phased approach to reopening borders:

European countries are being advised to open borders to countries with similar coronavirus risk profiles.  Many Countries are keen to reopen the borders and reduce other restrictions, as coronavirus has caused enormous problems for the tourism industry and great economic hardship in Europe.

“Restrictions on travel should first be lifted in areas with a comparable epidemiological situation and where sufficient capabilities are in place in terms of hospitals, testing, surveillance and contact tracing capacities,”

Tourism represents about ten percent of GDP in the European Union.  Many EU Countries have announced that restrictions will be relaxed in the next few days and weeks.

Latest coronavirus updates, visa and immigration restrictions

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