ON FRIDAY £60 billion was wiped off the UK’s leading companies. The FTSE 100 plunged by 3.62%. In the US a rate cut saw shares crash and a rush into gold, as the world economy drowned in a vast indebtedness.
In Europe, Italy has quarantined up to 16 million people as the Conte government battled to contain the spread of coronavirus, and save the Italian capitalist economy – both industrial and tourist – from complete destruction.
Italian citizens living in Lombardy and 14 other central and northern Italian provinces, including Milan and Venice, will now need special permission to travel. PM Conte also announced the closure of schools, gyms, museums, nightclubs and other venues across the whole country.
The measures will last until 3 April, by which time the Italian economy will have been destroyed, and the EU economy itself will be tottering.
The Italian death toll has already passed 230, with officials reporting more than 36 deaths in 24 hours. The number of confirmed cases jumped by more than 1,200 to 5,883 on Saturday.
The health system is now under immense strain, with people being treated in hospital corridors. ‘We want to guarantee the health of our citizens. We understand that these measures will impose sacrifices, sometimes small and sometimes very big,’ Prime Minister Conte said early on Sunday.
Under the new measures, people will not be able to enter or leave Milan or Venice. The same restrictions apply to 14 provinces: Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro and Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano Cusio Ossola, Vercelli, Padua, Treviso and Venice.
‘There will be no movement in or out of these areas, or within them, unless for proven, work-related reasons emergencies or health reasons,’ Conte told reporters.
The government has now given the police the power to stop people leaving the quarantine areas and to take action to prevent them from leaving.
Those who break the quarantine will face three months in jail. The Italian working class is being threatened with imprisonment! These measures will also be imposed on the UK, after the forthcoming budget as the crisis deepens.
Meanwhile, in the USA, Trump when asked if he was worried about the first case of the coronavirus near the White House said: ‘No, I’m not concerned at all.’
Meanwhile, over half of all US states have reported cases of coronavirus, with the number of Americans tested positive standing at around 425. So far, nineteen people have succumbed to the virus nationwide after two more died in Washington state. A state of emergency was declared in New York on Saturday after the number of confirmed cases there rose to 89.
A leaked document published in the US media has revealed US hospitals were preparing for a major coronavirus outbreak with unprecedented scale. The document estimates a death toll of 480,000 from 96 million coronavirus infections in the US.
In the UK, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said ahead of his budget on Wednesday that the NHS will get ‘whatever resources it needs’ to cope with a coronavirus epidemic.’ However, the NHS has experienced massive bed cuts!
The Chancellor also said he was looking at extra financial help for individuals and businesses if measures against the virus meant they were out of pocket.
The government’s medical advisers say the UK is still in the ‘containment’ phase, but they expect to move to a ‘delay’ phase soon, in which the focus is on trying to slow down the spread. This phase could see the introduction of ‘social distancing’ measures such as closing schools and urging people to work from home.
However, it will not be long before the UK motor car industry closes, after the steel industry and air transport. The working class will be told that it will have to accept shattered living standards, and shattered healthcare for the good of the country, that is the bosses, and the capitalist system.
The virus has in fact accelerated the crisis of capitalism by shutting down the ‘Just In Time’ massive profit-making world system. Capitalism has run out of time and must be removed by a socialist revolution.
Workers in the motor car and other industries must not accept closures or wage cuts and must occupy their workplaces to keep them open. The trade unions must set up Councils of Action to mobilise the working class to overthrow the bosses’ and the bankers’ capitalism with a socialist revolution that will transfer the wealth to the working class that creates it, and massively improve the NHS!