Faith in the central government fractures over France’s coronavirus response.

A couple of baguettes tucked under her arm, Maha Rambousek fiddled with a face mask that kept sliding off her nose. After a local decree made masks mandatory in public, she had quickly stitched it together, but was left confused when the policy was overturned two days later by the central government.

“I don’t know who’s wrong or who’s right,” Ms. Rambousek said. “And I can’t turn to anybody for certainties.”

The city of Perpignan lodged contagious patients in a hotel after the central government told people to self-isolate at home. Officials in the city of Marseille carried out widespread testing of both the sick and healthy even as the government ordered that only the seriously ill be tested.

While France’s vaunted health care system has staved off disaster, France has suffered the world’s fourth-biggest death toll — now at 23,293 official deaths, behind the United States, Italy and Spain — a consequence, critics say, of the central government’s failure to anticipate the onslaught of the contagion.

That failure and a critical shortage of masks and testing kits — also resulting from gaps in state policies — led to the virus’s rapid early spread, prompting France to impose one of the word’s strictest nationwide lockdowns, now in its seventh week.

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced a tentative plan on Monday to gradually reopen the country starting on May 11. Schools and businesses would start reopening, though not restaurants or cafes. He urged companies to keep their employees working at home. And he promised that masks and testing would be made sufficiently available.

But it was not clear that those steps would halt what polls show is declining confidence in the government’s handling of the epidemic.

As companies across Europe struggle to stay in business, it’s no surprise that employees are suffering, too. But some workers are suffering more than others, and they are often the ones who earned the least to begin with.

Faced with collapsing sales, the German airline Lufthansa agreed to take full advantage of a government subsidy program that, combined with money from the company, provides furloughed workers with 90 percent of their normal net pay.

But at SunExpress, a budget airline jointly owned by Lufthansa and Turkish Airways, employees will get a lower percentage of their pay — which was less than Lufthansa salaries to begin with.

Lufthansa is an example of how corporate cost-cutting in Europe is falling hardest on people at the low end of the pay scale, despite strong unions and strict labor laws. Airlines, retailers and many other businesses are drastically cutting costs after lockdowns brought much of the global economy to a standstill.

At many companies, that means targeting the workers who can be laid off with the least fuss — low-wage and nonunion workers, freelancers, part-timers, new hires and trainees. Some of these inequalities will disappear when lockdowns ease, as is already happening in Germany and other places, but some of the damage is long-term.

Lufthansa initially agreed to pay 1,100 furloughed employees of Germanwings, another budget subsidiary, 90 percent of their pay — the same amount as workers at the parent company. But then Lufthansa decided instead to fold the unit, which has long had financial trouble, eliminating the jobs.

Reports are also increasing of employers abusing subsidized furlough programs, pocketing the government money for furloughed workers, while pressuring employees to continue working.

Nearly 500 Covid-19 deaths were reported in Brazil on Tuesday, the most in a single day so far. When asked about the milestone, President Jair Bolsonaro said: “So what? I’m sorry. What do you want me to do?”

Mr. Bolsonaro is one of several Latin American presidents who have repeatedly denied the severity of the crisis, done little to contain it, or both. With more than 5,100 known deaths and more than 74,000 confirmed infections — and both numbers climbing fast — Brazil has emerged as a major hot spot in the pandemic.

And specialists fear the data vastly underestimate the real scope of the crisis, as Brazil has one of the lowest testing rates in the world. Reports of hospitals with hallways packed with bodies are mounting in a growing number of states.

Seven weeks into the pandemic, Nicaraguan Vice President Rosario Murillo, the wife of President Daniel Ortega, finally called for social distancing measures and acknowledged that some people should wear masks.

The Nicaraguan government has been widely criticized for keeping schools and businesses open and organizing festivals and food fairs. The government officially acknowledges only 13 coronavirus cases, although local media report that hospitals are seeing many more.

The government recently installed disinfecting equipment at the entrance of some government buildings and launched a major campaign to sterilize food markets. International flights were quietly canceled, although the government is still promoting local tourism.

In Mexico, where leaders were slow to announce lockdown orders, there have been 16,752 confirmed cases and 1,569 deaths.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the U.S. government’s leading epidemiologist, and President Trump on Wednesday hailed early trial results on the drug remdesivir, holding out hope that it can be effective against the new coronavirus.

The drug’s maker, Gilead Sciences, said on Wednesday that it “is aware of positive data” from the trial, sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — even as a new study reported that the drug offered no benefit to severely ill patients in China.

Neither Gilead nor the N.I.A.I.D. provided further details. In a statement, the company cautioned that remdesivir “has not yet been demonstrated to be safe or effective for the treatment of Covid-19.”

Stocks rallied on the news, as investors pinned their hopes on the gradual reopening of the world’s major economies. The S&P 500 gained nearly 3 percent, while shares in Europe were also sharply higher.

Meeting with reporters at the White House, Mr. Trump and Dr. Fauci, who heads the N.I.A.I.D., called the study encouraging. Dr. Fauci said the trial suggested that the drug could shorten the time to recovery by about a third, but he cautioned that it still needs to be properly peer reviewed.

“Although a 31 percent improvement doesn’t seem like a knockout 100 percent, it is a very important proof of concept because what it has proven is that a drug can block this virus,” Dr. Fauci said.

The president was expected to discuss the findings at a White House briefing later in the day.

The other study, conducted in China and published in The Lancet, questioned the value of the drug for severely ill patients but left open the possibility that it might be useful for others. The research was incomplete, however, because not enough participants could be enrolled.

The Food and Drug Administration acknowledged that officials were discussing approval of remdesivir for treatment of Covid-19 patients, presumably under emergency use provisions.

The N.I.A.I.D. trial enrolled 1,063 patients who were given remdesivir or a placebo, according to the agency. The time to recovery averaged 11 days among those who got the drug, compared with 15 days for those who got the placebo.

As flights remain grounded worldwide, the aerospace industry is facing the gravest crisis it has ever known, Guillaume Faury, the chief executive of Airbus, the European aircraft giant, said on Wednesday.

The company reported on Wednesday a net loss of 481 million euros — more than $520 million — for the first quarter, a dramatic reversal from last year. In that period, it could not deliver 60 planes, partly because airlines are seeking to put off payment.

Mr. Faury recently sent a memo to employees warning that Airbus, with a work force of 134,000, was “bleeding cash at an unprecedented speed, which may threaten the very existence of our company.”

A meltdown at Airbus would have geopolitical ripples. With German, French and Spanish ownership and plants strung across the continent, it is a largely successful pan-European project that has created a powerful rival to Boeing and the American aerospace industry.

(Boeing also reported grim news on Wednesday; its revenue tumbled by 26 percent in the first three months of the year, and it will slash about 16,000 jobs.)

Beyond its own employees, Airbus supports hundreds of thousands of other mostly well-paid and technologically sophisticated jobs across Europe and North America.

“This is the sort of employment that national governments everywhere have been trying to grow,” said Sandy Morris, an analyst at Jefferies, an investment bank.

If Airbus suffers a steep downturn, he added, “I really don’t like the implications for employment across Europe.”

In Yemen, already mired in a devastating civil war, widespread hunger and a cholera outbreak, another threat was reported on Wednesday: the first confirmed expansion of the coronavirus in the country.

The authorities in the port city of Aden announced a cluster of five cases and immediately imposed a two-week lockdown that included the closing of shops and mosques.

Last month, the United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, appealed to Yemen’s warring parties to adopt an immediate humanitarian cease-fire to help stave off the threat from Covid-19.

Since then, the fighting has gotten worse.

A coronavirus outbreak, combined with a surge in fighting, could push the country to “the brink of a catastrophe,” warned Tamuna Sabadze, the Yemen director at the International Rescue Committee.

The virus has already worsened conflicts around the world. In Libya, for example, it has left some people wondering which fate might be worse: death by missile or death by pneumonia.

In the United States, concerns over the pandemic have forced the Defense Department to juggle two competing instincts: protecting troops from the virus and continuing its decades-old mission of patrolling the globe.

And in Yemen, the woes are only multiplying as the threat of a pandemic looms. A recent spate of torrential rains has exacerbated the cholera outbreak there, and flash floods in the south of the country last week washed away the homes of hundreds of people.

Those we’ve lost: Ricardo Brennand, a Brazilian entrepreneur, amassed a vast trove of art.

Ricardo Brennand’s life as a collector started at age 12 with the gift of a pocketknife from his father. He went on to amass thousands of antique weapons, pieces of armor, clocks, keys, and a trove of art and artifacts from Brazil’s colonial era.

The pocketknife was still in the collection at his death, 80 years later. Mr. Brennand died on April 25 at the Hospital Portugues in Recife, the capital of Pernambuco State. The cause was complications of Covid-19, a family spokeswoman, Sonia Lopes, said. He was 92.

An engineer by training, Mr. Brennand at one point owned more than 20 factories. They produced steel, glass, cement, ceramics and sugar, making him one of the richest men in Brazil’s poor northeast.

He designed and oversaw construction of the factories almost from scratch. He often traveled abroad to learn the latest manufacturing techniques and brought in foreign talent to help transform the region — whose economy for centuries relied on cheap labor and sugar cane — into an industrial hub.

Ricardo Coimbra de Almeida Brennand was born in Cabo Santo Agostinho, in Pernambuco State, on May 27, 1927, to Antonio Luiz Brennand, an industrial engineer, and Dulce Padilha Coimbra. He is survived by his wife, Graca Maria; eight children; and a number of grandchildren.

He sold off many of his business interests in 1999 to build the Ricardo Brennand Institute, a giant castle-like structure on the outskirts of Recife designed to house his collection.

The sprawling institute contains Brazil’s largest gathering of artifacts relating to the period when northern Brazil belonged to the Dutch, who were expelled by the Portuguese in 1654.

The institute houses a large collection of work by Frans Post, the 17th-century Dutch painter whose vivid canvases provided European audiences with some of the first glimpses of the newly discovered lands across the sea.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands attended the inauguration of the institute’s permanent exhibition, “Frans Post and Dutch Brazil,” in 2003. The museum has since become a popular tourist destination, receiving more than three million visitors since opening, according to the institute.

Russia’s newest black market is in ventilators.

The hunt for ventilators to keep alive people severely stricken by Covid-19 has taken a violent turn in Russia.

Russian law enforcement officers exchanged gunfire with a gang suspected of trafficking in the devices during a raid near Moscow, a Russian news outlet with close ties to the security services reported on Wednesday.

Life, an online journal, said that eight people had been detained, accused of trying to sell 100 ventilators for 70 million rubles, around $96,000. The official state news agency, Tass, also reported the raid but said the devices were all fake.

The Moscow Times reported last month that wealthy Russians, wary of the health care offered by state hospitals, were buying ventilators for their own homes just in case family members fell ill with Covid-19.

Mr. Putin, seeking to calm fears of shortages, said in a televised address on Tuesday that Russia had ramped up domestic production of artificial breathing devices and now produces more than 800 a month. That is up from just 60 to 70 at the start of the year.

Deepanker Khosla, the chef at Haoma, a high-end restaurant in Bangkok, normally cooks up inventive dishes with flourishes of molecular gastronomy.

But as the pandemic devastated the economy, he pivoted to a new calling.

Now, he and his kitchen staff, largely migrants from Myanmar, are churning out hundreds of banana-leaf packets of rice and vegetables to local residents who are out of work and, sometimes, out of food.

“This isn’t the time for caviar and champagne,” he said. “People are struggling to survive.”

As the pandemic spurred layoffs and closures at restaurants around the world, some chefs have been able to capitalize on their reputations to provide food to those in need. Perhaps the most famous of them, José Andrés, is helping to sustain American children who depended on school lunches.

Mr. Khosla set up an online campaign, called No One Hungry, and solicited donations as he transitioned to an aid operation. Today, his restaurant, in a leafy warren of lanes in residential Bangkok, looks more like a food distribution station at a refugee camp. Chilies dry on a tabletop, while bags of rice are stacked up near the entrance to the urban farm where Mr. Khosla nourishes herbs and salad greenery with recycled rainwater.

“Food is food,” said Vishvas Sidana, the director of food and beverage at Haoma, who trained as a sommelier. “We cook what’s needed.”

As borders shut and much of the world entered a lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic, economic activity stalled, travel halted and some cross-border trade took a hit.

“Security is too heavy at the border. Products can’t go out,” said a person in Vietnam involved in the trade. That person spoke to an undercover investigator who was involved in a new report on the state of the illegal wildlife trade.

The pandemic has prevented organized criminal gangs in Southeast Asian countries from moving large quantities of ivory and pangolin scales into China. But any limits on the illegal wildlife trade are likely to be temporary.

“There’s too much money to be made from these products, and there’s too many people involved for this to have a significant long term impact,” said Sarah Stoner, a co-author of the report and director of intelligence at the Wildlife Justice Commission, an international foundation based in The Hague, Netherlands, that works to dismantle illegal wildlife trade.

She and other experts say that while the coronavirus’s limits on travel and business could be an opportunity for law enforcement to disrupt criminal networks, the pandemic’s economic toll could attract more people to the trade.

“We are tracking significant amounts of new trafficking activity in multiple countries, which seems to indicate that traffickers are both still very much in operation and also actively seeking ways to adapt and thrive in the new normal,” said Tim Wittig, the head of intelligence for United for Wildlife, a nonprofit led by Prince William to fight wildlife trafficking.

In a report published earlier this month, Dr. Wittig also found that temporary disruptions to the trade would be fleeting. “Traders have incentive to move product as soon as is feasible,” he said.

The coronavirus pandemic will disrupt immunization efforts across the world and increase deaths from other preventable diseases in Africa, public health officials say, shining a light on how the virus is setting the stage for another looming health crisis.

The World Health Organization now estimates that 41 countries in sub-Saharan Africa will miss out on malaria services this year, potentially doubling the number of malaria deaths in the region. Vaccinations for up to 12 million children in Africa to curb the spread of polio have also been put on hold, pushing higher the number of countries on the continent reporting new outbreaks of the disease.

Travel restrictions have interrupted vaccine supply chains and governments have scaled back or shut down health services that do not comply with distancing guidelines.

The coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve rapidly in Africa, with 33,273 cases and 1,467 deaths reported so far, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the virus was slow to arrive, a few African countries are beginning to experience widespread community transmission, leading to partial or nationwide lockdowns.

While African countries have made incredible improvements in immunizing children, the continent still lags behind when it comes to meeting global vaccination targets. The causes include the difficulty for health workers to access some areas, inadequate public campaigns and lack of trust of vaccines from some.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, said the organization was working closely with governments to ensure that malaria vaccination efforts would continue even as the coronavirus pandemic raged on.

Disruptions in immunizations have also been reported in South Asia, where 4.5 million children have already missed out on routine vaccinations targeting diseases like measles, polio and diphtheria.

European countries are examining how to save the summer vacation, with many borders closed and international flights suspended or arrivals restricted to those who can prove a pressing need to enter.

The German government, for example, has extended a worldwide travel warning until June 14, forcing residents itching to travel abroad over the coming holidays at the end of May to remain home.

The move comes as many countries in Europe are struggling to tentatively reopen their economies while preventing the coronavirus from spreading. Restrictions put in place this year are being extended across the continent, even amid concerns about the fate of the summer vacation season, especially in countries whose economies depend heavily on income from tourists, like Greece.

Austria, a popular destination for German vacationers, said on Monday that it would allow restaurants and bars to reopen under certain restrictions starting mid-May and hotels by the end of that month. The Croatian authorities have suggested they would allow in summer tourists from countries with a lower number of coronavirus infections than in Croatia who can prove they are healthy upon entry.

Poland, which was one of the first nations in Europe to introduce a coronavirus lockdown, plans to reopen hotels, shopping malls and some museums and art galleries on May 4, and the country’s ban on international travel is scheduled to expire on May 9.

Sweden has advised its citizens against nonessential travel abroad through June 15, although the country’s more relaxed approach to containing the virus has many Germans hoping that a summer vacation there will be possible.

But the country’s health minister, Lena Hallengren, poured cold water on that idea on Tuesday, telling the German tabloid Bild, “My advice to everyone: Stay in your own country.”

When the government of Sweden defied conventional wisdom and refused to order a wholesale lockdown to “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus epidemic, public health officials pointed to trust as a central justification.

But on one warm spring day in Stockholm last week, there was little evidence that people were observing the protocols. Young Swedes thronged bars, restaurants and parks, drinking in the sun.

While other countries were slamming on the brakes, Sweden kept its borders open, left schools in session and placed no limits on public transport. Hairdressers, gyms and some cinemas have remained open.

Gatherings of more than 50 people were prohibited, and nursing homes visits were banned. But there are almost no fines, and pedestrians wearing masks are generally stared at as if they have just landed from Mars.

Throughout the crisis, Sweden has had enough intensive care units to deal with Covid-19 patients, said the minister of health and social affairs, Lena Hallengren. “We have 250 empty beds right now.”

This is not to say that Sweden has escaped Covid-19’s deadly consequences. The Swedish Public Health Authority has admitted that the country’s seniors have been hit hard.

The country’s state epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, acknowledged Sweden’s broad failing with people over age 70, who have accounted for 86 percent of the country’s 2,194 fatalities.

The public health authority announced last week that more than 26 percent of the 2 million inhabitants of Stockholm will have been infected by May 1.

But even that figure was presented as something of a win: a number of infections that might limit future outbreaks, reached without suffering an inordinate number of deaths.

Peru and Sierra Leone have joined a growing list of countries where fatal prison riots have erupted amid fears of the coronavirus rampaging through institutions that are often overcrowded.

But the pandemic has sparked outbursts of violence in many prisons around the world, and riots in Colombian, Brazilian and Venezuelan prisons have led to deaths and mass escapes.

On Wednesday, people were killed and a building was set on fire at the badly overcrowded Pademba Road Correctional Center in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. The government information minister said he did not know how many deaths there were.

The government attributed the unrest to an attempted prison break, but did not say if the attempted escape, like those in other countries, was prompted by pandemic fears.

Sierra Leone’s chief justice on Monday confirmed the first known infection in the prison, in a prisoner who had escaped from a quarantine center before his arrest.

On Tuesday, officials from Peru’s National Penitentiary Institute said that a day earlier, nine inmates had died following “acts of violence” in a prison called Miguel Castro Castro, outside the capital, Lima, a day earlier.

Sixty-five prison and police officers were injured, as were two inmates. In a news release, the institute said that it “understands the concern the penitentiary population has about possibly contracting coronavirus,” but added that the prison was in the process of distributing “biosecurity material” and rapid tests to prevent the spread of the virus.

The United Nations has called for prisoners, particularly those detained for political reasons, to be released worldwide to prevent catastrophic rates of infection.

In Germany, players are already on the practice field. Spain has devised a hygiene plan for players and staff. In England and Italy, tentative moves are being made for a return, too. The South Korean F.A. Cup, originally set to start in March, will now begin on May 9, and for at least the early rounds, games will have no fans.

But France scrapped its soccer season on Tuesday, in an announcement by the prime minister, Édouard Philippe. The plan now is to begin a new season in September. Mr. Philippe said no major team sporting events of any kind, or events with crowds of more than 5,000, would take place in France until September.

In Argentina, the soccer season was also called off.

France is the first of Europe’s big five soccer leagues to declare the season over. Not paused like the others, but over.

It’s unclear whether France will crown a league champion this year — Paris Saint-Germain led the standings by 12 points when the season was stopped with 11 games to go — or whether teams will be promoted or relegated between the top two divisions.

The government’s decision to call an end to the season has also led to confusion and surprise. Now, its clubs are facing the financial consequences. League officials across Europe are warning about bankruptcies and financial carnage caused by the pandemic.

The German league, however, is on course to be the first top division league to start playing again.

Adding to growing evidence that the novel coronavirus can spread through air, scientists have identified genetic markers of the virus in airborne droplets, many with diameters smaller than one-ten-thousandth of an inch.

That had been previously demonstrated in laboratory experiments, but now Chinese scientists studying real-world conditions report that they captured tiny droplets containing the genetic markers of the virus from the air in two hospitals in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak started.

Their findings were published Monday in the journal Nature.

It remains unknown if the virus in the samples they collected was infectious, but droplets that small, which are expelled by breathing and talking, can remain aloft and be inhaled by others.

“Those are going to stay in the air floating around for at least two hours,” said Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech who was not involved with the Nature paper. “It strongly suggests that there is potential for airborne transmission.”

Dr. Marr and many other scientists say evidence is mounting that the coronavirus is being spread by tiny droplets known as aerosols. The World Health Organization has so far downplayed the possibility, saying that the disease is mostly transmitted through larger droplets that do not remain airborne for long, or through the touching of contaminated surfaces.

Instead, the four-minute video, released last week by the Chinese embassy in Manila to promote China’s efforts to help the Philippines fight the coronavirus, has unleashed widespread anger and derision at China. The video, titled “One Sea,” has resurfaced longtime concerns in Southeast Asia about China’s efforts to expand influence in the region, including in the hotly contested South China Sea.

“The words are nothing but a mirage, full of good images but deceitful,” said one of the most popular comments on Facebook.

The backlash highlights the challenges China faces as it tries to repair its global image amid growing criticism of its early efforts to cover up the coronavirus outbreak, which began in December in the central city of Wuhan. The Chinese government has dispatched medical supplies and experts overseas as it tries to win good will.

But in many places, Beijing still faces skepticism and deep anger.

The music video was supposed to help shore up support. Its lyrics were written by the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines, Huang Xilian. The video shows Chinese medical teams delivering aid in the Philippines, and it features a clip of the Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte, thanking China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, for his support during the crisis.

The video was panned almost immediately, with internet users in the Philippines, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries denouncing it as out of touch.

“No problem with helping one another,” wrote a Facebook user with the name Marjan Nur Salonga Salandanan, “but get out of our seas, please.”

China is itself emerging from the worst of the outbreak, and after more than two months of delay because of the coronavirus pandemic, China’s legislature will finally hold its annual full session starting on May 22, official media announced Wednesday morning.

The scheduling of the National People’s Congress session, a ritualized event held in the Great Hall of the People next to Tiananmen Square, is the latest sign of confidence in China that the virus is under control. Although China is still reporting some cases among people returning from overseas, including 21 more announced on Wednesday, cases of domestic transmission have slowed to a trickle.

Iran is not only awash in unsold oil because of American sanctions and the global glut caused by the coronavirus. A precipitous drop in demand because of the pandemic has also hit the country with another immediate problem and a new scandal: millions of unsold chickens and the mass slaughter of baby chicks buried alive to reduce the supply.

It was not supposed to be this way at this time of year for Iran’s poultry industry, one of the largest in the Middle East. Ordinarily chicken sales peak over the month of Ramadan for the iftar banquets at homes and in restaurants, when Iranians break their fasts by dining on grilled saffron chicken and other staple specialties of the holiday.

But now the livelihoods of chicken breeders and poulterers have been upended by the pandemic. Restaurants, hotels and event spaces catering to weddings and funerals have remained closed since the middle of March even as Iran has gradually reopened many businesses. Chicken sales have plunged by at least 35 percent.

As supply rapidly outpaced demand, poultry factories killed 15 million one-day-old chicks this month. A truck dumped hoards of tiny fluffy birds into a ditch where they were buried alive, according to videos that went viral on Iranian media.

The chick mass grave created an uproar among Iranians, and many blamed it on what they called the government’s lack of oversight. Iranians created a Twitter hashtag for the chicks, with many wondering if they could have been donated and grown to feed low-income families.

The parliament has said it would investigate. But poultry industry leaders warned this week that they would soon have to slaughter millions of adult chickens if the government did not step in with financial assistance.

“The chickens are fully grown but there is no place to keep them, no feed and no vaccines for them and no buyers,” Nasser Nabipour, the head of Iran’s poultry union, was quoted as saying Monday in Iranian media.

Iran’s poultry industry produces about 2 billion chickens annually on 20,000 farms, according to Iranian media. It exports 100,000 tons of chicken to the region and beyond in Asia.

Singapore has seen a surge of coronavirus cases among migrant workers, after months of successfully controlling the outbreak. As of Tuesday, coronavirus cases linked to migrant worker dormitories accounted for 88 percent of Singapore’s 14,446 cases, including more than 1,400 new cases in a single day.

Many migrant workers live on the outskirts of the city in dormitories that can house up to 20 people per room, making it almost impossible to follow social distancing guidelines.

Singapore has traced the contacts of people infected with the coronavirus and released detailed information about clusters of cases. An analysis of the data shows how the virus has spread rapidly among migrant worker dormitories.

The government has directed all laborers living in dormitories to stop working until May 4, imposing a stay-at-home order for 180,000 foreign workers in the construction sector. The government has also declared 25 dormitories as isolation areas, where workers are confined to their rooms.

Transient Workers Count Too, an advocacy group for migrant workers in Singapore, criticized the plan to quarantine such a large population together, comparing the lockdown to situations on cruise ships in which cases multiplied uncontrollably even when passengers were kept to their rooms.

More than 20 percent of Singapore’s population of 5.7 million are foreign workers. Many come from Bangladesh and India, and they work in construction, shipping, manufacturing and domestic service sectors.

The breakdown of nationalities among the confirmed cases shows that workers from these countries have been disproportionately affected.

Reporting was contributed by Frances Robles, Manuela Andreoni, Stanley Reed, Niraj Chokshi, Tariq Panja, Victor Mather, Peter Baker, Gina Kolata, Jack Ewing, Richard Pérez-Peña, Karen Zraick, Lauretta Charlton, Hannah Beech, Julie Turkewitz, Ruth Maclean, Joanna Berendt, Melissa Eddy, Abdi Latif Dahir, Norimitsu Onishi, Constant Méheut, Javier C. Hernández, Megan Specia, Kenneth Chang, Thomas Erdbrink, Michael Astor, Farnaz Fassihi, Christina Anderson, Iliana Magra, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Keith Bradsher, Adam Skolnick, Andrew Higgins, Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Natasha Singer, Aaron Krol, Weiyi Cai and K.K. Rebecca Lai.

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