8 october 2020

— United Nations Secretary‑General António Guterres announced the policy brief “COVID and Universal Health Coverage” on Wednesday, saying, “COVID-19 has shown that universal health coverage, strong public health systems and emergency preparedness are essential to communities, to economies, to everyone. … At least half the world’s people do not have access to the health services they need. Some 100 million people are driven into poverty each year by catastrophic healthcare costs. This huge gap in health coverage is one reason why COVID‑19 has caused so much pain and suffering.”

Joanne Lu writes at UN Dispatch, “The report, which is the latest in a series of policy briefs the Secretary-General has published since spring in response to the pandemic, defines universal health coverage as ‘a situation where all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without undue financial hardship.’ It is a critical tool for guaranteeing that everyone’s fundamental human right to health is being respected.”

— Judith Sunderland of Human Rights Watch writes that there is “finally some good news for asylum seekers in Italy.” The council of ministers has adopted a decree “that reverses many of the worst policies imposed by the previous interior minister and current leader of the anti-immigrant League Party, Matteo Salvini.” The decree “essentially re-establishes in Italian law the residency permit on humanitarian grounds that Salvini abolished in 2018.” Sunderland says it “isn’t perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

— Oreva Olakpe writes at OpenDemocracy that “countries like China and India have significant internal migration” and the coronavirus pandemic “has impacted migrant workers who are losing jobs in both formal and informal sectors due to the public transport service and movement disruptions. In India like in several Latin American countries, migrant workers were forced to travel large distances en masse and on foot in order to return home.” Olakpe says governments must “take steps to begin to protect migrants, as well as to adopt a health-focused migration policy and law.”

— Members of the European Parliament have approved a “reshuffle” at the European Commission, with Mairead McGuinness of Ireland becoming Commissioner in Charge of Financial Services, Financial Stability and Capital Markets, and Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis of Latvia becoming Trade Commissioner.

— The Carnegie Council has released the first episode of its podcast “The United Nations At 75: Looking Back To Look Forward”. A transcript is available online.

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