CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Look at the priorities – shame on Johnson, Trump, Bolsonaro

03 April, 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

• IT was reported in The Guardian that Kayla Williams, a mother of three, died of suspected COVID-19 a day after being told by emergency services that she was “not a priority”.

How are these decisions made? Three children have been left motherless, a catastrophe for them and the family. Mothers are clearly not a priority, even less so if a woman of colour.

Nor are NHS workers, of whom almost 20 per cent of nurses and 36 per cent of doctors come from Black and immigrant backgrounds.

Despite never being more needed, they don’t have life-saving protective equipment weeks into the crisis. The first three front-line doctors to die of COVID-19 were people of colour.

Low-paid women generally are more likely to be in key jobs involving contact with the public: social and home care, nursing, shops, pharmacies, etc, and therefore at greater risk of exposure to coronavirus.

People of colour are a quarter of all care home workers, the majority are women. On top of low-waged jobs, we usually do invisible, unwaged work at home and in the community, caring for children, the elderly, sick and disabled people.

The coronavirus crisis has tripled women’s unseen workload as millions of people are sent home. But we are not even in the queue when it comes to raising benefits, wages, protection, and other resources from governments.

Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro went into last week’s G20 summit warning they wouldn’t allow their economies to shut down to protect those most vulnerable. Boris Johnson said we should “expect” loved ones to die in the outbreak, after delaying action for weeks.

For them profits from oil, war and other polluting industries are more important than human life. What brutes!

CRISSIE WARREN
SARA CALLAWAY
Women of Colour GWS Crossroads Women’s Centre

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