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World Greece's undeclared workers hit hard by virus lockdown

08:05  02 december  2020
08:05  02 december  2020 Source:   msn.com

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(23 Mar 2020) Greece entered its first day of lockdown on Monday in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. The lockdown started at 0400GMT and

That is, until the deadly COVID-19 virus hit the country. State Of Emergency. As of 13 April, Thailand has recorded more than 2,500 This has prompted governments around the world to impose drastic measures to curb the virus from spreading such as citywide lockdowns and travel restrictions.

Every time Elisa drives to a client's house for a hairdressing job, she makes sure to pack a bag of groceries in the car in case she is stopped by Greek police.

a person walking in front of a building: Greece went into a second nationwide lockdown on November 7 after a dangerous spike in infections accompanied by scores of daily fatalities © LOUISA GOULIAMAKI Greece went into a second nationwide lockdown on November 7 after a dangerous spike in infections accompanied by scores of daily fatalities a large brick building: According to estimates the mobility rate, how many people are going out to work, rose by 35 percent during the second lockdown compared to the first © LOUISA GOULIAMAKI According to estimates the mobility rate, how many people are going out to work, rose by 35 percent during the second lockdown compared to the first

Skirting the country's strict lockdown rules to put food on the table, she is among thousands of undeclared Greek workers facing additional hardship during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The workers who built India’ s cities and run its factories used to speak highly of the prime minister. The lockdown has largely failed to stem the virus in major cities like Mumbai and Delhi, and prolonged unemployment is starting to boost tensions.

But some daily wage workers who are out of job after the announcement of a 21-day lockdown have started to go back home on foot since public Rickshaw drivers, itinerant produce peddlers, maids, day labourers and other informal workers form the backbone of the Indian economy, comprising around

"I write out a declaration that I'm going shopping, and I mainly work in my neighbourhood," says the 32-year-old.

"The city centre is more risky as police checks are more frequent," she told AFP.

Greece went into a second nationwide lockdown on November 7 after a dangerous spike in infections accompanied by scores of daily fatalities.

Anybody found by police venturing outdoors without a valid reason faces a 300-euro ($359) fine.

Company workers may commute with a written declaration from their employer. But that's not an option for the self-employed -- mainly native Greeks and long-established immigrants -- and especially those hiding their full income from tax authorities.

a person standing in front of a building: As in many countries, the lockdown has mainly hit tourism, Greece's main money earner © LOUISA GOULIAMAKI As in many countries, the lockdown has mainly hit tourism, Greece's main money earner

Greece's black economy has historically been one of the biggest in Europe, accounting for over a quarter of the country's output.

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Until the lockdown , he used to send his family as much as he could from the US daily wage he earned in a factory making aluminium foil. The fear of going hungry sparked an exodus by hundreds of thousands of migrant workers and their families back to their villages last month, many on foot.

175,000 #dailywagers from the transport sector in Karachi have been facing a hard time in surviving during the # lockdown . They have urged the provincial

Now, after a decade-long economic crisis that wiped out a quarter of the country's wealth and sent unemployment soaring, many Greeks facing job precarity say they cannot afford to keep up with taxes and living costs.

The hairdressing salon that employed Elisa was among thousands of small businesses that did not survive the 2010-2018 crisis.

- 'We're not stealing' -

"I'm forced to break the law. It's a matter of survival," says Vangelis, a plumber in his 40s who takes jobs in his neighbourhood and declined to give his real name.

"I can't stay at home and earn nothing... I'd rather take the risk. This way, I can at least make 50 euros a day and pay my rent and supermarket bills," he adds.

Vangelis says his earnings fell by half during the first six-week Covid-19 lockdown in the spring.

But thankfully, police are more tolerant now, he says.

"It's not like we're stealing."

Vangelis insists that "everybody knows how the economy works in Greece, the money must circulate; the majority of delivery men have no social security and the police turn a blind eye".

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" Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer," he said. Dr Nabarro' s main criticism of lockdowns involved the global impact, explaining how poorer economies that had been indirectly affected.

While " lockdown " isn't a technical term used by public-health officials, it can refer to anything from mandatory geographic quarantines to non-mandatory recommendations to stay at home, closures of certain types of businesses, or bans on events and gatherings, Lindsay Wiley, a health law professor

According to estimates the mobility rate -- how many people are going out to work -- rose by 35 percent during the second lockdown compared to the first, says Panagiotis Petrakis, a professor of economics at the University of Athens.

The mobility rate is one of the indirect indices used to track the underground economy.

The overall losses to the economy as a result of the first lockdown totalled nearly 2.5 billion euros ($3 billion), according to official figures, but the real amount is probably double that according to Petrakis.

- 'Living in anguish' -

Greece's jobless rate is expected to reach 18.9 percent this year according to the government. 

And national output is set to fall by 10.5 percent before recovering by over four percent next year.

As in many countries, the lockdown has mainly hit tourism, Greece's main money earner, but also personal and entertainment services, sectors where moonlighting is common.

The crunch is expected to hit hardest those outside the official fabric of the economy who are not entitled to state benefits during the pandemic -- low income, unemployed or undocumented workers.

Anna, a housekeeper from Georgia, says she lives "in anguish of being arrested."

Though she has lived in Greece for more than ten years, she still has no residency papers.

"I have a certificate saying that I am helping a vulnerable person. But I have lost a lot of clients, especially among the elderly, who are afraid of bringing in someone like me who uses public transport," she laments.

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