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In the US, more than 450 public health, human rights & legal experts & organizations have signed this open letter, "Achieving A Fair and Effective #COVID19 Response":…
It is addressed to Vice-President Mike Pence, & other Federal, State & Local Leaders. Clearly the letter is shaped by the particular political & policy context of the US. BUT it does raise many issues important for Australia as well. #Coronavirus #COVID19
How DO we ensure proper care & respect for the rights of those most vulnerable, inc those in prisons & other institutions, aged care facilities etc. Those with limited resources/capacity for preparing & dealing with what is to come. #Coronavirus #COVID19
Some extracts from the letter: "Special attention must be paid to the needs of people in long-term care or confinement, who are particularly vulnerable.... #coronavirus #COVID19
"People in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, as well as those who are incarcerated or homeless, are at special risk of infection, given their living situations. #coronavirus #COVID19
"These individuals may also be less able to participate in proactive measures to keep themselves safe, and infection control is challenging in these settings.
"Arrest and short-term incarceration can help amplify epidemics, and broader criminal justice policies should take into account the impact that policing and arrest policies have on health." #Coronavirus #COVID19 cc @MegBastard @MarkRagg
@MegBastard @MarkRagg The letter also critiques the use of mandatory quarantine, regional lockdowns, travel bans: "they are difficult to implement, can undermine public trust, have large societal costs and, importantly, disproportionately affect the most vulnerable segments in our communities..."
@MegBastard @MarkRagg "Such measures can be effective only under specific circumstances. All such measures must be guided by science, with appropriate protection of the rights of those impacted.... #coronavirus #COVID19
@MegBastard @MarkRagg "Infringements on liberties need to be proportional to the risk presented by those affected, scientifically sound, transparent to the public, least restrictive means to protect public health, and regularly revisited to ensure that they are still needed as the epidemic evolves...
@MegBastard @MarkRagg "Voluntary self-isolation measures are more likely to induce cooperation and protect public trust than coercive measures, and are more likely to prevent attempts to avoid contact with the healthcare system." #coronavirus #COVID19
@MegBastard @MarkRagg The letter also says "safe and humane conditions" must be provided for people who are isolated or quarantined whether in homes, facilities, or communities. #coronavirus #COVID19
@MegBastard @MarkRagg "Government must ensure that anyone isolated or quarantined has access to the basic necessities, including food, water, medicine, and sanitation supplies. Assistance should be provided to individuals who are in need of support to maintain daily living...
@MegBastard @MarkRagg "failure to do so will undermine trust, adherence to the intervention, and the overall effectiveness of quarantine." #coronavirus #COVID19
@MegBastard @MarkRagg "It will also be imperative not to impose inhumane or discriminatory conditions, as occurred on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, where passengers were quarantined to protect the population on land but were isolated in a high transmission setting.... #coronavirus #COVID19
@MegBastard @MarkRagg "safe and humane conditions need to be provided to all quarantined individuals and do not differentiate between social or economic strata, or in the case of the Princess Diamond, between passengers and workers.
@MegBastard @MarkRagg "Where mandatory measures are used, steps must be taken to ensure that people are protected from job loss, economic hardship & undue burden.
@MegBastard @MarkRagg "Govt & employers must recognize that low-wage, gig-economy, and non-salaried workers who are unable to work because of quarantine or movement restrictions or other disruptions to the economy & public life face extraordinary challenges. #coronavirus #COVID19
@MegBastard @MarkRagg "They may find it impossible to meet their basic needs, or those of their family."
@MegBastard @MarkRagg Some final, truly impt points: "Individuals must be empowered to understand and act upon their rights. Information should be provided on the justification of any mandatory restrictions as well as how and where to appeal such decisions. #coronavirus #COVID19
@MegBastard @MarkRagg "They should be afforded procedural due process, including universal access to legal counsel, to ensure their claims of discrimination or of hazardous conditions associated with their confinement are adjudicated." #coronavirus #COVID19
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