COVID-19 Pandemic

World Health Assembly defuses investigation demand, focuses on cooperation to contain COVID-19 pandemic

May 19, 2020: Agenda Item 3 at World Health Assembly, taking place virtually over May 18-19, 2020, firmly endorses the role of the World Health Organisation, calls for maximum cooperation to develop treatments and vaccines for the new corona virus, and sets up two investigation processes into the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australia’s COVID-19 tracing app has privacy rules that Australia rejected in the draft Digital Economy Agreement with Singapore

April 30, 2020: Australia’s Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has issued a directive about the new COVID-19 tracing app to reassure users that their privacy will be protected, and their data will not be abused.

The government claims that the Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) Determination 2020, Section 7 states that the data must be stored in Australia.

Corporations prepare to sue governments over actions to save lives as pandemic reveals other trade policy flaws and need for alternatives

April 23.2020 Dr Patricia Ranald’s article in The Conversation shows how legal firm are already advising global companies on how to use clauses in trade agreements which allow them to claim millions in compensation for government regulation during the pandemic which may harm their profits.

More generally, she argues that the realities of the pandemic have forced governments to act in ways which show the flaws in the current trade deals that are negotiated in secret. 

Three simple things Australia should do to secure access to treatments, vaccines, tests and devices during the coronavirus crisis

April 22, 2020:  Deborah Gleeson and David Legge argue in The Conversation that patents and related intellectual property rights can present formidable barriers to procuring medicines, vaccines, diagnostic tests and medical devices.

They can cost lives, particularly during a public health emergency. the Australian government can do three things to tackle these barriers.

293 community Groups Call on World Trade Organization to stop other negotiations and focus on access to life-saving medical supplies

Media Release April 20, 2020:  “AFTINET is among 293 organizations, including global and national union federations, development advocates, women’s groups, consumer and environmental groups from more than 150 countries that have endorsed a letter to government members of the WTO.  The letter urges members of the WTO to stop all trade negotiations during the COVID-19 outbreak and refocus on ensuring access to medical supplies and saving lives,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.

Centre Alliance calls on federal government to use its purchasing power to support local jobs in corona virus response

April 17, 2020: Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick today called on the federal government to give greater weighting to the criteria of Economic Benefit to Australia in existing Commonwealth Procurement Rules so that the benefits of local employment can be fully valued and used to improve opportunities for local firms.

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