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LatinNews Daily - 28 January 2021

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In brief: Mexico faces calls to increase emergency spending

* Alicia Bárcena, the executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Eclac), has called on the Mexican government to implement “public policies that are more robust and effective”, and to provide “urgent” support for vulnerable sectors of the population, in light of the recent surge in numbers of coronavirus (Covid-19) cases and deaths in the country. Bárcena was one of a number of domestic and international civil society representatives to speak at a virtual forum offering recommendations on Mexico’s pandemic response, with the country’s deputy health minister Hugo López-Gatell also in attendance. Bárcena emphasised the need to promote employment while still respecting labour rights, and to provide funding for a “robust and integrated public health system”, while Cristian Morales, the representative of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Mexico, similarly called for health spending to be increased to at least 6% of GDP, emphasising the need not only to improve the treatment of Covid-19 patients, but also to ensure that other essential healthcare services are sustained through the pandemic.