More than 1,000 people queued up in Geneva to get free food parcels. The anti-coronavirus measures that have been in place since mid-March have taken a heavy toll on the country’s poor.
Hundreds of people turned out to get free food from charities in one of the world’s leading financial centres, typically associated with wealth, on Saturday. As those gathered had to follow the social distancing rules, the procession stretched for more than 1.5km (a mile).
Those most eager to receive food assistance began lining up in a file starting as early as at 5:00 am, according to the Caravane de Solidarite association, the main organizer of the event. It’s the sixth time the group has been doling out food since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, head of the organization, Silvana Mastromatteo, told AFP.
She noted that the number of those seeking assistance has grown with each time.
“At the end of the month, my pockets are empty. We have to pay the bills, the insurance, everything,” said Ingrid Berala, a Geneva resident from Nicaragua told Reuters.
This is great, because there is food for a week, a week of relief…I don’t know for next week
While the Covid-19 situation in Switzerland has been slowling improving and the restrictions have been partially lifted, many businesses remain closed. The lockdown took an especially heavy toll on the undocumented migrants working part-time jobs.
“The restaurants have received assistance, but not me. I have nothing to eat.” Miguel Martinez, an undocumented restaurant worker from Colombia told AFP, adding that “the virus has upended everything. There is no work. Nothing.”
Switzerland, the nation of some 8.6 million, has reported over 30,000 coronavirus cases, including more than 1,800 deaths. Now, the virus seems to be retreating, with the Alpine country currently having less than 2,300 infected.
Globally, the disease has killed more than 270,000 people, while over 4 million have tested positive.
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