Updated 19 January 2021: JCWI: “We also want to be safe” – undocumented migrants facing COVID in a Hostile Environment
This report explores undocumented migrants’ experiences of the COVID pandemic. It focuses on financial security, work, housing and access to healthcare, and highlights how in all these areas, the Government’s Hostile Environment policies have exacerbated the effects of the COVID crisis for undocumented people. Download the report
Take action to make sure the COVID inquiry includes migrants
Read more here: https://www.jcwi.org.uk/we-also-want-to-be-safe-report
You can sign the JCWI letter: ‘We also want to be safe’ – Sign our open letter
Faced with COVID, the Government should have done everything in its power to ensure everyone had support. Everyone needs a way to earn a living, access to the public safety net if they need it, safe accommodation, and access to vaccines and the NHS.
But Hostile Environment policies cut undocumented migrants off from these basic rights. Because they don’t have the right piece of paper in their passport, people without status have been left destitute, homeless, and afraid or unable to get help during the pandemic.
We need accountability, and change. The public inquiry into the Government handling of COVID is getting underway now. We are calling on the Chair to make sure the experiences of all migrants, including those without status, are part of her investigation.
Scroll down to add your name to our open letter today, to be part of the movement calling for change.
Read more and sign here: https://www.jcwi.org.uk/migrants-covid-inquiry
Update 17 December 2021: Rethinking Security: Playing the Pools: Omicron and Common Security
With the ultra-infectious Omicron variant looking set to sweep the world, Paul Rogers argues that the greatest global security challenge facing us is to heed WHO advice and ensure rapid world-wide vaccination against COVID to reduce the risk of new, more lethal variants of the virus emerging in future.
Omicron fits in ominously with the repeated WHO warnings about the need to expand global vaccinations, not just for current sufferers but to avoid the long-term existence of pools of new variants alongside partially vaccinated populations. The fear has long been that new variants would emerge with dangerously enhanced characteristics in any of three areas – rate of spread, vaccine resistance or lethality. Omicron has a very fast rate of spread and some resistance to vaccines but does not appear to be more lethal. If it was, then we would already be facing an unprecedented global health crisis.
Radically reducing that risk by rapid world-wide vaccination is crucial and transcends even the more immediate, if substantial, problems of handling Omicron. In terms of human and common security it is the greatest global security challenge facing us.
Read more: https://rethinkingsecurity.org.uk/2021/12/17/omicron-and-common-security/
COVID-19 pandemic disrupts health services worldwide
A joint WHO/World Bank study published on 12 December 2021 shows that the pandemic is likely to halt two decades of progress towards Universal Health Coverage
TheIndependentPanel: Main Report
In May 2021, the Independent Panel presented its findings and recommendations for action to curb the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure that any future infectious disease outbreak does not become another catastrophic pandemic.
This is the culmination of eight months of work. Beginning in September 2020, the Independent Panel systematically, rigorously and comprehensively examined why COVID-19 became a global health and socio-economic crisis.
On this page you will find the main report, a summary and a companion evidence-based narrative report, video presentations of the report and news conference, and a sample of global reactions to the Panel’s report.
The main report and many links are here: https://theindependentpanel.org/mainreport/
The Panel’s key findings are here: https://theindependentpanel.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Summary_COVID-19-Make-it-the-Last-Pandemic_final.pdf
The initial outbreak became a pandemic as a result of gaps and failings at every critical juncture of preparedness for, and response to, COVID-19:
• Years of warnings of an inevitable pandemic threat were not acted on and there was inadequate funding and stress testing of preparedness, despite the increasing rate at which zoonotic diseases are emerging.
• Clinicians in Wuhan, China, were quick to spot unusual clusters of pneumonia of unknown origin in late December 2019. The formal notification and emergency declaration procedures under the International Health Regulations, however, were much too slow to
generate the rapid and precautionary response required to counter a fast-moving new respiratory pathogen. Valuable time was lost.
• Then, for the month following the declaration of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 30 January 2020, too many countries took a ‘wait and see’ approach rather than enacting an aggressive containment strategy that could have forestalled the global pandemic. As COVID-19 spread into more countries, neither national nor international systems managed to meet the initial and urgent demands for supplies. Countries with delayed responses were also characterized by a lack of coordination, inconsistent or non-existent strategies, and the devaluing of science in guiding decision-making.
• Coordinated, global leadership was absent. Global tensions undermined multilateral institutions and cooperative action.
• Preparedness was under-funded and response funding was too slow. Dedicated financing at the scale required was not available to supply medical equipment, kick-start the search for diagnostics and therapeutics, or ensure vaccines would be available to all. International
financing was too little, too late.
• WHO staff worked extremely hard to provide advice and guidance, and support to countries, but Member States had underpowered the agency to do the job demanded of it.
• The lack of planning and gaps in social protection have resulted in the pandemic widening inequalities with a disproportionate socioeconomic impact on women and vulnerable and marginalized populations, including migrants and workers in the informal sector.
Health impacts have been compounded for people with underlying health conditions. Education for millions of the most disadvantaged children has been terminated early by the pandemic.
The Panel calls for these immediate actions to end the COVID-19 pandemic:
High income countries with a vaccine pipeline for adequate coverage should, alongside their own scale up, commit to provide to the 92 low- and middle income countries of the COVAX Gavi Advance Market Commitment at least one billion vaccine doses no later than 1 September 2021 and more than two billion doses by mid-2022.
• The World Trade Organization (WTO) and WHO should convene major vaccine-producing countries and manufacturers to agree to voluntary licensing and technology transfer for COVID-19 vaccines. If actions do not occur within three months, a waiver of intellectual property rights under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights should come into force immediately.
• G7 countries should immediately commit to provide 60% of the US$19 billion required for ACT-A in 2021 for vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics, and strengthening of health systems, with the remainder being mobilised by others in the G20 and other high-income countries, and a formula based on ability to pay should be adopted to fund such global public goods on an ongoing basis.
• Every country should apply non-pharmaceutical public health measures systematically and rigorously at the scale the epidemiological situation requires, with an explicit evidence-based strategy agreed at the highest level of government to curb COVID-19 transmission.
• WHO to immediately develop a roadmap with clear goals, targets, and milestones to guide and monitor the implementation of country and global efforts towards ending the pandemic.