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INSTRUMENTS FOR PANDEMIC GOVERNANCE

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Solidarity, sacrifice, and voluntary cooperation by citizens Widespread compliance with lockdown rules reflects the strength and significance of individual and collective acts of social solidarity, which rely upon the trust of citizens in their governors and in each other, and which governments must actively seek to nurture and sustain if social interventions are to be effective. The price citizens have paid (and continue to pay) in their voluntary self-restraint are revealed in countless stories of love, loss, and separation as individuals everywhere make painful sacrifices, forgoing opportunities to be physically present with loved ones at critical moments. These personal sacrifices are acutely and devastatingly reflected in the experience of many thousands of individuals who have suffered and died alone without loved ones by their side because their families chose, with great sorrow and reluctance, to comply with lockdown orders. In the UK, the extent of those sacrifices was vividly illustrated by the extraordinary level of public fury directed at the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor, Dominic Cummings, for his unapologetic violation of the spirit (if not the strict letter) of the lockdown rules during the height of the crisis. Although digital communication technologies have been essential lifelines during lockdown, the pandemic has exposed them as vastly inferior substitutes for embodied human interaction, reminding us that human relationships are nurtured and sustained by physical touch and the warming presence of those we love. By asking citizens to forgo these interactions, governments have determined that the need to minimise human contact in order to reduce the spread of the virus exceeds the value of those human interactions that have been ruled impermissible. These kinds of normative trade-offs cannot be determined by scientific evidence alone. To this end, the bluntness and stringency of UK lockdown rules have been questioned— expressed succinctly by individuals responding to a blogpost by the Director of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics reflecting on the importance of trust and transparency in the management of the crisis, who variously commented: “Notwithstanding the correctly much vaunted ‘science’ held as justifying not allowing loved-ones the chance to accompany the dying process, I have been concerned at COMMENTARIES

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Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives  

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through c...

Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives  

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through c...

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