This is the News in Brief from the United Nations.
‘Lockdown generation’ of young workers will need extra help after COVID-19, urges UN labour chief
Further evidence of the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on jobs has emerged in a new study by the UN labour agency, which on Wednesday said that more than one in six young people have stopped working since the pandemic began.
Those young people who still have a job have seen their working hours cut by 23 per cent, said the head of the International Labour Organization (ILO), Guy Ryder, who also urged Governments to conduct widespread coronavirus testing and tracing of populations to help get economies back on their feet.
Countries such as the Republic of Korea and Iceland had invested in effective virus-hunting techniques which had cost less than one per cent of their economic output; developing countries where most people worked in the informal sector should be helped to do the same, the ILO Director-General insisted:
“We have to be very concerned about this coincidence of a strongly youthful population, high informal economies, limited capacities of testing and tracing. I don’t want to call it a perfect storm but it’s a combination of circumstances which I think combine to lead us to this concern that labour market outcomes could be particularly damaging and long-lasting.”
According to the ILO, workers in the Americas have suffered most from the economic fallout of the pandemic in terms of working hours lost since April, at 13.1 per cent, followed closely by Europe and Central Asia.
COVID-19: temporary halt announced on use of key anti-viral hydroxychloroquine
The decision has been taken to temporarily halt the use of hydroxychloroquine as a trial treatment for people suffering from COVID-19, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) has announced.
The development follows scientific reviews on the safety and efficacy of the anti-viral against the new coronavirus.
Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are accepted as generally safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases or malaria, WHO noted.
One study published in the Lancet medical journal last week found that, among 100 000 patients, the drug was linked to higher mortality and more irregular heartbeats.
A final decision on the use of hydroxychloroquine is expected in mid-June, WHO said in a statement.
Experts will base their thinking on evidence from the WHO’s international Solidarity Trial that involves dozens of countries and thousands of patients, along with other ongoing trials around the world.
In a statement, WHO noted that patients already enrolled in the hydroxychloroquine arm of the Solidarity Trial will continue taking the drug until they finish their course of treatment.
In addition to hydroxychloroquine, three other anti-viral drugs have been selected as possible treatments for COVID-19.
They include Remdesivir, Lopinavir/Ritonavir and Lopinavir/Ritonavir with Interferon beta-1a.
Rights experts appeal over abortion obstacles linked to COVID measures in US states
Finally to the UN Working Group on discrimination against women and girls, whose independent rights experts said on Wednesday that some US states appear to be manipulating the COVID-19 crisis to curb access to abortion.
In a statement, the panel said that emergency coronavirus orders suspending procedures not deemed immediately medically necessary had been used in Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Iowa, Ohio, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee.
It was to be regretted that these states, which had a long history of restrictive practices against abortion, “appear to be manipulating the crisis to severely restrict women’s reproductive rights”, said Elizabeth Broderick, working group Vice-Chair.
The Working Group – which was established by the Human Rights Council in September 2010 - insisted that access to abortion services was crucial during the pandemic, as women grappled with new restrictions on their mobility, owing to quarantines and lockdowns.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.