In the face of a global coronavirus pandemic, Heinz Bierbaum, the President of European Left, comments:
“With the number of cases worldwide from the novel coronavirus surpassing 150,000, with some 6,000 deaths, governments across the globe continued their struggle to contain the pandemic. The spread of the new COVID-19 virus is straining health care systems across Europe, and the EU is completely missing on a common and solidary policy as well as on coordination during corona emergency. Indeed, the danger is that the lack of common measures will impact the public health and economics and even lead to a serious crisis. We need to ensure that national actions are coordinated with global actions and that a strong solidarity system for managing the coronavirus crisis is put in place.
A real tragedy is the situation of the refugees. Some 20,000 refugees are trapped in the tiny Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesvos without de facto no functioning health care in the camps. We need to prevent further escalations as coronavirus hits islands. Though not only in Greece but across whole Europe the healthcare system is in deep crisis. We are missing the medical personal and equipment. Huge investments in healthcare are required. The working conditions are exhausting and wages way too low. We need to fight for better working conditions in the healthcare sector and assure that the health of the nurses and patients is protected under any conditions.
In view of the crisis caused by the corona virus millions of workers are exposed to harmful working conditions. The virus hits the weakest the hardest. While governments across Europe are calling on employees to work from home, it’s not true for everyone. Workers, who are working in essential production lines and can’t reduce or stop working, need guaranteed protection from the spread of the virus. Many people fear for their health – and for their professional existence. They have to be protected. In the case of income losses financial compensation is necessary. We need emergency action that pushes aside the priorities of big business and profit and puts people first.
We need to draw political lessons for the future from the corona pandemic and must develop a common European and solidarity-based approach to challenge disaster like this hereafter.”