Coronavirus / COVID-19 outbreak

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Update 14 October 2020

information about EPSU meetings:

EPSU statements

Open letter

Joint statements

Developments at national level

Statement made by of the Nordic Municipal Workers Unions on the Corona Crisis to ministers in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. No austerity; Investment in public services; negotiations and social dialogue as instruments.

Article on the safety and staffing challenges facing health and social services (18 March)

Article on Fighting covid19 in prisons and detention centres in Europe: Protected prison workers – protected inmates (15 April)

Article on Health workers bear brunt of COVID-19 infections (3 July)

For an overview of the measures governments take in countries of Central and Eastern Europe, please consult the page of the Pan-European Council (PERC) of ITUC.

PERC Statement on COVID-19

Testing and Tracing Apps

Many countries are discussing the use of tracing apps to assist  in monitoring the spread of the virus. It would allow the public health authorities to react quickly to a new outbreak. There are concerns about privacy but also about the use and ownership of the data. Please find here briefing of Unison on some of these issues. Unions are warning against the free access to data of millions by the private technology companies. In the UK rules to ensure accountability and transparency have been relaxed and suspended. For the briefing

Keeping informed

There is a number of websites that provide useful information and guidance on responses to the COVID-19 coronavirus. These include the World Health Organisation (WHO), European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and various web pages of the European Commission. Below we provide links to the most relevant sections.

HEALTH AND SAFETY FOR HEALTH WORKERS This section of the WHO website contains resources relating to the protection of health workers and emergency responders. It includes links to key occupational safety and health recommendations in healthcare in light of the outbreak as well as specific recommendations on the responsible use of personal protective equipment and risk assessment and management for health workers. For more practical recommendations concerning the prevention of infection for healthcare staff caring for patients with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, see the Q&A section

Hospital readiness checklist for COVID-19

The WHO also provides regular updates about the development of the situation as well as practical instructions to prevent the spread of the virus. The ILO has provided guidance on the relevant standards in times of crisis like the Corona virus (Covid-19) pandemic (And in FR and in ES) . Moreover, together with UNICEF, the ILO has issued recommendations to support working families, in particular those with low income, during the pandemic. This technical guidance by the WHO identifies 10 policy objectives to prevent and manage the COVID pandemic in LTC settings, including the mobilization of additional funds.

Health and Safety for all workers
A new ILO guide on health and safety (24 July 2020) details what employers are expected to do and what safety reps, unions, labour inspectorates can do to deal with COVID19.

ENSURING HEALTH SYSTEMS ARE PREPARED This section of the ECDC website focuses on public health emergency preparedness. It provides useful guidance on contingency planning for healthcare services as well as infection prevention and control in healthcare facilities. The ECDC also provides links to the relevant sections of national ministry websites.

THE RESPONSE AT EU LEVEL The website of the European Commission lays out the key response mechanisms of the EU, such as the Early Warning and Response System (EWRS), the Health Security Committee (HSC) and the HSC Communicators' network (ComNet). The focus lies on cooperation, rapid exchange of information, swift monitoring and coordination of preparedness and response measures to COVID-19, but also joint procurement of personal protective equipment.

DEALING WITH THE ECONOMIC IMPACT The European Commission also website focuses on the economic repercussions of this health emergency, such as the Corona Response Investment Initiative, but also specific measures aimed at transport and tourism. In a similar vein, the European Central Bank lays out the economic relief measures centred on the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) amounting to 750 billion euro.

The European Foundation for Living and working conditions (Dublin) has made available its data base of policy and agreements regarding COVID. Eurofound’s COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch aims to map measures introduced to cushion the social and economic effects on businesses, workers and citizens. It also includes information on the role played by social partners in the design and implementation of the measures.

Health and Safety Guide for Black and Asian ethnic minority people

Data indicate that the COVID-19 virus has a significant impact on black and Asian ethnic minority people. One of the UK unions UNITE, put together a short briefing on health and safety guidance that might be of interest.

For PSI Campaign Safe Workers Save Lives


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