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How economic sanctions negatively affect the health sector in Syria: a case study of the pharmaceutical industry

Although the health sector in Syria is not directly targeted by economic sanctions, it is indirectly affected by the sanctions imposed on by other sectors, which added to other accumulated damages to this sector during the last decade. This article attempts to highlight the most significant strains on the health sector resulting from sanctions, as well as how the recent global COVID-19 crisis made a bad situation worse. 

Western sanctions on Syria are currently entering their tenth year. Amidst rising geopolitical tensions, three options present themselves; the first is for the total, unconditional lifting of these sanctions, with the aim of helping the Syrian government deal with challenges facing its health care sector, including the growing threat posed by the current coronavirus pandemic. The second option is for these sanctions to remain in full operation; with the United States’ Caesar Act, legislation which tightens the sanctions on Syria, expecting to come into force in June, this option would give rise to the start of a new phase of economic strangulation in the country. The third option, which is currently being deliberated, lies in the partial and conditional lifting of certain sanctions, in a way which guarantees, first and foremost, a humanitarian benefit for the Syrian people.
Whatever direction is taken in the coming period, there is growing consensus that people living inside Syria have borne the brunt of the majority of these sanctions, even if particular individuals or institutions have been the direct target. The Syrian government maintains they are unilateral, unlawful measures, while western governments consider them a way to punish the government and apply political and popular pressure.

Syrian government allocates SYP 1.5 billion to support agricultural sector amid the spread of Covid-19

The cabinet has approved Agriculture Ministry's plan to protect agricultural production in the light of measures adopted to fight Coronavirus. 
 
It allocated 1.5 billion Syrian pound (SYP) to expand the projects of developing rural woman and to provide local markets with agricultural products. 

ILO: COVID-19 causes devastating losses in working hours and employment

 The COVID-19 pandemic is having a catastrophic effect on working hours and earnings, globally. A new ILO report highlights some of the worst affected sectors and regions, and outlines policies to mitigate the crisis.

GENEVA – The COVID-19 crisis  is expected to wipe out 6.7 per cent of working hours globally in the second quarter of 2020 – equivalent to 195 million full-time workers.

Large reductions are foreseen in the Arab States (8.1 per cent, equivalent to 5 million full-time workers), Europe (7.8 per cent, or 12 million full-time workers) and Asia and the Pacific (7.2 per cent, 125 million full-time workers).

Huge losses are expected across different income groups but especially in upper-middle income countries (7.0 per cent, 100 million full-time workers). This far exceeds the effects of the 2008-9 financial crisis.

The sectors most at risk include accommodation and food services, manufacturing, retail, and business and administrative activities.

General Commission of Taxes and Fees to facilitate measures of import ensuring staple diet products in local market

The General Commission of Taxes and Fees will offer facilities to importers with the aim of ensuring staple diet products in local market. 
 
According to the Syrian News Agency ( SANA), the commission  has urged financial departments in all governorates to offer all possible facilities to importers under the supervision of the Commission's Central Administration. 

Up to 75 million jobs around the world are expected to be lost, says the World Travel and Tourism Council

The negative impacts of coronavirus pandemic outbreak in the world has affected the world tourism sector threatening the loss of 75 million jobs globally and a $2.1 trillion loss in the Gross Global Product this year.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the number of the jobs which are at risk may witness a 50% rise from the previous statistics.

The council also said that Asia-Pacific is expected to be heavily affected with the loss of up to 49 million jobs while the European tourism and travel sector is expected to witness the loss of 10 million jobs, causing nearly $552 billion loss in the GDP of Europe.