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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 May 2021

What's needed to stop more Covid outbreaks?

Full pay, nationalisation and more

Novel coronavirus Covid-19, photo NIH/CC

Novel coronavirus Covid-19, photo NIH/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Jon Dale, Unite Nottinghamshire health secretary (personal capacity)

Meeting friends in a pub... a family restaurant meal... going to the match - is life about to return to normal? Covid-19 infection rates have fallen to their lowest since last summer.

But as restrictions on meeting indoors are lifted, a dark cloud is growing. Will the new Covid-19 variant, first identified in India, have a similar devastating effect to the so-called 'Kent' variant last autumn?

Without full pay and other support for everyone needing to isolate, another wave of infection is probable as many workers with insecure jobs have no choice but to remain at work.

Even if less severe, it will be the government's responsibility should this occur, again putting business interests before public health. Good quarantine facilities for travellers from India should have been provided on 2 April.

The requirement was delayed three weeks, and some travellers used public transport to get to their quarantine, possibly infecting others. Boris Johnson had a trade trip to India planned for 23 April, cancelling at the last minute under pressure.

Horrifying scenes at Indian hospitals shows the race to vaccinate the world's population is a long way from success. 3% of Indians have been vaccinated. Poor countries, with even fewer vaccinated, are at risk of similar overwhelming outbreaks.

Vaccination should not be dependent on profit-making pharmaceutical corporations. Before the pandemic there should have been a global network of factories ready to produce vaccines for the world's population.

Corporations weren't interested without profits. But Covid-19 suddenly made vaccines big business.

Astra-Zeneca is supposedly selling at cost price 'while the pandemic lasts'. Its chief executive, Pascale Soriot, has had a pay rise this year. Last year's £15.4million was clearly not enough!

In 2018, he said he found it annoying to be the lowest-paid CEO in the industry. He's moved up the league, but still lags behind Johnson & Johnson's Alex Gorsky's £21million. Johnson & Johnson is currently trying to offload short shelf-life unfrozen vaccines to Latin America.

Meanwhile, Stéphane Bancel, Moderna chief executive, is now 'worth' almost $5 billion after its shares soared 500% over the past year. Adar Poonawalla, Serum Institute of India chief executive, rents a London flat for £50,000 a week.

Just how many vaccines could be provided to the world's poorest from their wealth alone? Only nationalisation of the global industry under democratic workers' control would allow its vast resources to be planned to meet urgent need.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 19 May 2021:


Israel/Palestine

Build a mass movement to end Israeli state terror

Tens of thousands march against Israeli state terror


What we think

Johnson's Tories and Starmer's Labour have nothing to offer workers

Starmer moves against Unite - No to the attack on Beckett


Covid

What's needed to stop more Covid outbreaks?

Capitalism responsible for stark global Covid vaccine inequality


Workplace news

NHS: Scottish vote shows unions must fight for 15%

Unison: Elect reps who will back strike action

PCS elections - incumbents win, but solid vote for Broad Left Network

DVLA workers suspend strike for talks

Huge victory at Go North West as Unite defeats 'fire and rehire'

London Metroline strike against 'remote sign-on' goes ahead

CWU members' resolve to strike still firm as union enters talks

Strikes round-up


Campaigns news

Glasgow mass action defeats Home Office deportation attempt

Students and unions must resist misnamed 'free speech' bill

Mulivaikkal Remembrance Day 2021

Socialist Party black and Asian members discuss history

Help fund our bold socialist presence

We will not pay the cost of Covid! Defend the right to protest

Brighton marches to defend Moulsecoomb Primary School


News

Spycops inquiry continues to expose historic attacks on democratic rights

New voter ID laws: Electoral fraud - Tory style

News in brief


Readers' opinion

Readers' opinion


 

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Related links:

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India:

triangleIndia's health system in meltdown under Modi's misrule

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