COVID-19 pandemic plunges working world into crisis – ILO

By Reuters 8 July 2020

epa08514431 Hairdressers wearing protective gear give haircuts to customers with face masks on at the Enrich Salon in Mumbai, India, 28 June 2020. Barbershops and hair salons have reopened their doors for business following around three months of lockdown imposed in a bid to slow down the spread of the pandemic COVID-19 disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The state authorities of Maharashtra have begun relaxing restrictions for many key sectors, as has India's national government in New Delhi, though the latter has said that certain lockdown measures will continue until at least 30 June in so-called 'containment zones' where the virus is more prevalent. According to the latest figures, India has already surpassed the 500,000 mark in terms of confirmed coronavirus cases. EPA-EFE/DIVYAKANT SOLANKI

GENEVA, July 8 (Reuters) - Global leaders called for a comprehensive approach to counter the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which International Labour Organization chief Guy Ryder said on Wednesday had plunged the world of work into "unprecedented crisis".

“Let’s be clear: it’s not a choice between health or jobs and the economy. They are interlinked: we will either win on all fronts or fail on all fronts,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told an ILO summit that will be addressed by dozens of heads of state and government via recorded messages.

World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the summit the world had a special duty to protect the millions of healthcare workers at the front line of the crisis and suffering increasing cases of infection and death.

“Together we have a duty to protect those who protect us,” he said.

The outlook for the global labour market in the second half of 2020 is “highly uncertain” and the forecast recovery will not be enough for employment to return to pre-pandemic levels this year, the ILO said last week.

The U.N. agency said the fall in global working hours was “significantly worse than previously estimated” in the first half of the year. (Reporting by Emma Farge and Michael Shields; Editing by Andrew Heavens)


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