Foreign Desk Report
GENEVA: Brazil now has the world’s third-highest death toll from the virus, but President Jair Bolsonaro has threatened to leave the World Health Organization (WHO) over “ideological bias”
The global death toll from the coronavirus neared 400,000 on Sunday with fatalities accelerating in Latin America, as oil-producing countries agreed to extend output cuts to offset a collapse in prices caused by the pandemic.
Brazil now has the world’s third-highest death toll from the virus, but President Jair Bolsonaro has threatened to leave the World Health Organization (WHO) over “ideological bias”, following the example of the United States. He is among those arguing that the economic damage lockdowns are causing is worse than the virus itself and the oil industry has been hit particularly hard.
OPEC agreed on Saturday to extend an April deal to cut production through July, aiming to foster a recovery in oil prices after they were pummelled by slumps in demand caused by virus restrictions.
Governments are also increasingly focused on repairing the economic damage, and even hard-hit European countries are now opening their borders and allowing people to return to work. But gloomy data from Asia’s two largest economies highlighted the long road to recovery. China reported a plunge in foreign trade on the back of subdued consumer demand and weakness in key overseas markets. In Mexico people rallied to protest against the death of a construction worker while in police custody after he had been arrested for allegedly failing to comply with measures against the coronavirus
Analysts say a deeper downturn in exports is looming for the world’s manufacturing powerhouse, where the virus first emerged late last year.
Factories in India are also struggling to restart because of labour shortages, as the country slowly emerges from a strict nationwide lockdown that sent millions of migrant labourers back to their far-flung home villages.