World health leaders urge green recovery from coronavirus crisis
Doctors and medical professionals from around the globe have called on world leaders to ensure a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis that takes account of air pollution and climate breakdown.
More than 200 organisations representing at least 40 million health workers – making up about half of the global medical workforce – have signed an open letter to the G20 leaders and their chief medical advisers, pointing to the 7 million premature deaths to which air pollution contributes each year around the world.
Chief medical officers and chief scientific advisers must be directly involved in designing the stimulus packages now under way, the letter urges, in order to ensure they include considerations of public health and environmental concerns. They say public health systems should be strengthened, and they warn of how environmental degradation could help to unleash future diseases.
The signatories also want reforms to fossil fuel subsidies, with public support shifted towards renewable energy, which they say would make for cleaner air, cut greenhouse gas emissions and help to spur economic growth of nearly $100tn in the next three decades.
Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar denies picnic with friends was Covid-19 rule breach
Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s taoiseach, has defended having a picnic with friends in a Dublin park in defiance of a recommendation from a senior government official.
A spokesperson for Varadkar issued a statement on Monday night saying he “broke no laws, breached no regulations and observed public health guidance” while picnicking in the Phoenix Park on Sunday.
The comment came after images appeared on social media showing the taoiseach with his partner, Matthew Barrett, and two friends near the park’s Wellington monument. Varadkar was in shorts and shirtless.
The outing appeared to contradict advice given in a media briefing last week by Liz Canavan, assistant secretary of the Department of the Taoiseach. She said: “If you’re visiting a public amenity try not to stay too long at the site or have picnics. Please do your exercise and then go home.”
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