How to Confront the Coronavirus Catastrophe: The Global Public Health Plan and Emergency Response needed now

Publication date

30 Mar 2020

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The Coronavirus is impacting everyone across the globe. People fear for their own health and for that of their loved ones. The virus exposes extreme inequalities, affecting the most vulnerable people and those living in poverty, at home and around the world. It threatens to take many millions of lives and push billions more into poverty. 

Oxfam is proposing two things that the G20 and other leaders can do now: develop a Global Public Health Plan and Emergency Response to tackle the disease head on; and create an economic rescue plan to pay for the huge increase in public health and to help ordinary people cope with the huge economic costs precipitated by this virus. 

Oxfam is calling for Immediate action to shore up public health systems now and for the long-term, making them fair and accessible to all and saving millions of lives:

1.  Prevention. Huge investments must be made in public health promotion and communication, community engagement and education, access to water and sanitation, and free testing for all. 

2.  Ten million new paid and protected health workers should be recruited to help slow the spread of this virus and to be there to treat and care for those affected.

3.  Free healthcare. Governments must remove all financial barriers to people accessing healthcare and deliver free testing and treatment to all who need it. 

4.  Private must work for public. Governments must find means to utilize all private healthcare facilities to increase capacity to treat and care for infected patients and to meet ongoing essential health needs. 

5.  Vaccines and treatment for all. Global agreement that new vaccines and treatments will be a global public good, available to all who need it for free. Rich countries should provide enough funding to make it available rapidly to everyone.