COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Outbreak

Woman wearing face mask on public transport

Since late 2019, an outbreak of the viral disease COVID-19 (commonly referred to as Coronavirus) - first identified in Wuhan, China - has spread across the globe, impacting hundreds of thousands of people. On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak had reached the level of a global pandemic.

Besides the health implications of the disease, which has a mortality rate in excess of 3% according to the World Health Organization, the outbreak has also been accompanied by waves of misinformation, fears regarding increased government surveillance, factory shutdowns as disruption ripples back up supply chains and fears for the protection of gig economy workers. The International Labour Organization estimates that up to 25 million jobs could be lost worldwide due to the pandemic, pushing millions of people into unemployment, underemployment and working poverty. 

This In Depth Area will be updated with the latest news on the implications of the outbreak for business and human rights. Based on emerging themes of the crisis, we will also update the below sub-sections of this In Depth Area as the situation continues to unfold.

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Article
6 April 2020

Cambodia: Ministry of Labour reports that 91 garment factories suspend their operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic affecting 61,500 workers

Author: Chanthol Prak, Reuters

"Cambodia says 91 garment factories suspend work due to coronavirus, 61,500 workers affected", 1 April 2020...

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5 April 2020

300 Myanmar migrant wokers in Thailand were detained after attempting to return home despite the COVID-19 travel ban

Author: Kyaw Lwin Oo, Khet Mar & Roseanne Gerin, Radio Free Asia

"Myanmar Migrant Workers Risk Fines And Jail to Get Home Amid COVID-19 Exodus", 2 April 2020...

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4 April 2020

Commentary: Cleaners as prime candidates to become economic victims of COVID-19 pandemic

Author: Poonam Datar, Cleaning Accountability Framework

"Cleaners are our frontline defence", 1 April 2020...

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Article
4 April 2020

Myanmar: EU order cancellations force garment factories to shut down leaving thousands unemployed

Author: Chan Mya Htwe, Myanmar Times

"More woes for Myanmar garment industry as EU cancels orders", 29 March 2020...

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Article
4 April 2020

Commentary: Farmworkers are among groups most at risk for COVID-19 & need access to health care, incl. fully staffed field hospitals

Author: Greg Asbed, New York Times

"What happens if America's 2.5 million farmworkers get sick?" 3 April 2020...

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Article
3 April 2020

Australia: Insurance giant moves to exclude holders who die from COVID-19; co. clarifies all existing customers are covered

Author: Pat McGrath, ABC News

"Insurance giant TAL moves to exclude people who die from COVID-19, leaked policy reveals", 27 March 2020...

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3 April 2020

Australia: Migrant workers on temporary visas are not eligible for COVID-19 crisis wage subsidy

Author: Ben Doherty, Josh Taylo & Paul Karp, The Guardian

"'Left with nothing': Australia's migrant workforce face destitution without coronavirus safety net", 1  April 2020...

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Article
3 April 2020

Air New Zealand accused of borderline legal treatment of workers for allegedly telling crew to take leave due to COVID-19 lockdown

Author: Phil Pennington, Radio New Zealand

"Covid-19: Airline crew 'very anxious, worried' as redundancies loom", 26 March 2020...

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3 April 2020

Argentina: Grain farmers and exporters face challenges due to COVID-19

Author: Business Live

“Argentine grain farmers fear for their future amid Covid-19”, 2nd April 2020...

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Article
3 April 2020

Cambodia & Southeast Asia: ICJ concerns over govts' crackdown on online expression & calls for respect and protection of human rights online & offline

Author: International Commission of Jurists

"Southeast Asia: States must respect and protect rights in combating misinformation online relating to COVID-19", 1 April 2020...

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