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 Full text 
Tuesday, 10 March 2020 - Brussels Provisional edition

Coronavirus outbreak, state of play and ensuring a coordinated European response to the health, economic and social impact (debate)

  Clare Daly (GUE/NGL), in writing. – The Commissioner stated that our response can’t be ‘business as usual.’ The irony is that it is precisely ‘business as usual’ which has hampered our ability to respond. The marketisation of health care, spearheaded by the Commission – slashing health budgets, aggressive restructuring, layoffs of health workers, and medical research concentrated in the hands of multinational pharmaceutical companies for profit – have all led to a chaotic response from the EU. We should follow the advice of the WHO regarding travel and large public gatherings to contain the spread of the virus. Listen to science and factual information, not exaggeration. If people are not well or need to self-isolate they should stay at home. But for workers to do that, they have to be paid. Isn’t it an indictment of our society and a reflection of the level of casualisation of labour that has taken place in recent years that the idea of workers going into work sick has become a social norm? We need to learn the lessons from this crisis: the market is incapable of responding to the health needs of European citizens and we really need to change how society is organised, putting universal health care centre-stage.

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