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(en) France, UCL AL #315 = Full lights, In debate: Around the " Zero Covid " strategy (ca, de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

Date Mon, 17 May 2021 12:40:24 +0300

The strategies for managing the pandemic are very political, and here too there are alternatives: the call for " Zero Covid " from the German left is one of them. ---- Launched in January following an article published in the British medical journal The Lancet , the " Zero Covid " call is an initiative carried by various political groups of the German left. It proposes a virus eradication strategy, based on a European-wide re-containment in order to break the contagion chains globally, making it possible to arrive at an epidemic level where each case could be followed and traced individually, as in the countries which have best managed the crisis.

Make common health
This strategy contrasts with the deadly lethargy of the government and develops a global vision by proposing in particular the establishment of strong solidarity initiatives aimed at all those who need them, the strengthening of European health systems and the abrogation of their privatizations. The call proposes to finance these measures by setting up a " European solidarity-Covid contribution " levied on great fortunes, high incomes, the profits of large companies and financial transactions.

The appeal ends with this statement: " Democracy without health protection is cynical nonsense. Health protection without democracy leads to an authoritarian state. It is by unifying the two that we will achieve a united ZeroCovid strategy. " A statement that has a particular resonance in France where the State has chosen a strategy that manages to be neither democratic nor protective, while we have stagnated for several months at nearly 400 daily deaths despite severe restrictions on public freedoms.

While this Zero Covid strategy has the merit of presenting a concrete, coherent and effective political alternative and that of proposing a point of view that goes beyond national frameworks, it could go further on a number of measures. Indeed, if the need for social solidarity and financing of the health system is more apparent in times of health crisis, these measures should not be limited to this crisis, but extended beyond.

The appeal evokes " solidarity financing of care " : we believe that it is necessary to aim for total free access to care, without limit of nationality or income. This measure would make it possible, on the one hand, to prevent the non-recourse to healthcare for part of the population, with the risk of subsequently developing more serious pathologies, but also to prevent the development of future pandemics.

The problem of distance education
In addition, the appeal evokes the use of online courses for children during the period of confinement, by detailing too little the material measures that would be necessary so that their implementation does not take place to the detriment of the working classes: provision of equipment and a quality internet connection to children, students, teachers, etc. as well as vacation time allowing lessons to be adapted to this new format. Beyond the material measures, this temporary measure must be accompanied by demands concerning the conditions of education, on the basis of the unions' findings (training of smaller classes, massive recruitment of teachers, revaluation of their salaries, etc.).

Finally, it must be said that a reconfinement proposal cannot be made without a radical criticism of the State and its tools of authority, starting with the police. It is essential to rid these measures of their authoritarian and infantilizing implementation: the use of certificates, the limitation of the perimeter or the duration of the exit have no proven effect on the respect of confinement, but reinforce racist police practices. (abusive controls, violence, etc.), while accentuating the effects of housing inequalities.

N. Bartosek (UCL Haute-Savoie)

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