We also need to begin to address and come to terms with what life is going to be like after we get past the lockdowns and other ‘inconveniences’ imposed by the virus and its consequences.
This time, it is different, really different. And we will not be able to simply revert to ‘business as usual’ after we get over this crisis.
By beginning to think about the desirable, we must also consider the realm of the possible, and address the probable or the likely to strive to ensure that post-COVID-19 life will also be more secure, equitable, inclusive and sustainable.
If you have any kind of sympathy with classical liberalism then, like The Economist, you hate the current pandemic.
Not because you hate the death toll and the confinement that serves to reduce it. So does everyone else. But because you hate the ideas it is giving rise to. And not simply because they happen to clash with your personal preferences, and perhaps with your interests. More profoundly, because you believe them to be both misguided and dangerous.
So which ideas are emerging from the crisis, and why would a classical liberal be particularly uncomfortable with them? For the purposes of this article, I’d like to focus on three.
In response to the difficult ethical issues raised in our global efforts combating the COVID-19 pandemic, UNESCO’s International Bioethics Committee (IBC) and World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) have jointly issued a Statement on COVID-19: Ethical Considerations from a Global Perspective (available in English and in French).
The Afghan Girls Robotics Team made headlines when they were denied entry to the US in 2017 – now they’re supporting the pandemic fight. Five girls in Afghanistan, aged between 14 and 17, have joined the fight against the coronavirus, designing a cheap ventilator that runs off the motor of a Toyota Corolla. The all-female robotics team, aptly named the Afghan Dreamers, has long been more accomplished than average teenagers.
From a WhatsApp chatbot to a self-diagnosis tool, Africans are devising mobile tech solutions to contain the spread of the coronavirus amid fears it could have disastrous effects for the continent’s most vulnerable. Africa has not been as badly hit by coronavirus as other continents so far, but experts fear the respiratory disease could have a catastrophic impact on a continent with shaky healthcare systems and where soap and clean water for hand washing are out of reach for many.
UNESCO on 30 March hosted an online meeting of representatives of ministries in charge of science all over the world. Participants included 77 ministers, including governmental secretaries representing a total of 122 countries. The objective of the meeting was to exchange views on the role of international cooperation in science and increased investment in the context of COVID-19.
The scale and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic clearly rises to the level of a public health threat that could justify restrictions on certain rights, such as those that result from the imposition of quarantine or isolation limiting freedom of movement. At the same time, careful attention to human rights such as non-discrimination and human rights principles such as transparency and respect for human dignity can foster an effective response.
This document provides an overview of human rights concerns posed by the coronavirus outbreak, drawing on examples of government responses to date, and recommends ways governments and other actors can respect human rights in their response