Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Migrant workers in Quanzhou City on Jan. 15. Photo: He Canling/Xinhua via Getty Images

Migrant workers will be most negatively affected by the travel limits that China’s local governments have imposed to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus, Eli Friedman of Cornell University tells Axios.

What's happening: After travel restrictions were put in place over the Lunar New Year holiday, migrant workers with jobs in cities under lockdown can’t get back to work.

  • These laborers often have no safety net or savings, so the loss of what might be weeks of income could plunge them into dire financial straits.
  • Many industries, particularly manufacturing, rely on cheap migrant worker labor. (There are an estimated 288 million migrant workers in China.) Without employees, companies based in quarantined cities may be forced to shut down operations.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government is taking some measures to help workers by requiring employers to continue to cover basic living expenses.

  • Yes, but: Officially, China has only one labor union, which is controlled by the Communist Party. That means it largely fails to challenge true power imbalances in the system.
  • “Employees don't have any mechanism for expressing their interests,” Friedman said.

Another concern: There's a lack of access to affordable medical care.

  • “For migrant workers specifically, there is a lot of data that shows their medical insurance coverage is abysmal,” Friedman said.
  • That means it’s harder for migrant workers with the coronavirus to receive timely treatment, and they may be “staying at home for longer periods of time potentially infecting others.”

The bottom line: Migrant workers are among China’s most vulnerable, and much of China’s manufacturing industry depends on them. If they can’t get back to their jobs soon, both they and the companies they work for will suffer.

Go deeper

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Over 3,000 detained in protests across Russia demanding Navalny's release

Russian police officers beat protestesters at a rally against of jailing of oppositon leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on Saturday. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.