Special Issue "Global Health in the Time of COVID-19: Law, Policy and Governance"

A special issue of Healthcare (ISSN 2227-9032). This special issue belongs to the section "Coronaviruses (CoV) and COVID-19 Pandemic".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 November 2022 | Viewed by 4371

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Chao Wang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Guanghua Law School, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
Interests: international and comparative law; global governance; interdisciplinary research of law; human rights and global health
Prof. Dr. Chunyan Ding
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
School of Law, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong
Interests: medical law; comparative health law; artificial intelligence in healthcare and medical negligence litigation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will focus on the law, policy and governance of global health in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which exposed fundamental weaknesses in the public health order from both national and international aspects.

From the institutional level, for instance, the operations of the World Health Organization (WHO) need to be reappraised in terms of its mandate, structure and governance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though its International Health Regulations (IHR) provides a reporting mechanism to determine a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), the lack of effective enforcement and limited access to information have urged implementation of the IHR per se. Other international organizations, including the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the larger UN system, shall also be reviewed for the future reform of global health governance. 

In the meantime, from geopolitical or rule-making perspectives, some countries attempted to reshape existing international health orders in the time of COVID-19. The Health Silk Road initiated by China, for example, is alleged to provide a foreign medical aid system in regional and global health governance. Furthermore, competition over vaccine R&D attracts attention on vaccine nationalism and multiple vaccine supply and distribution challenges, which further bring about issues such as equal access to medical treatment and the vaccine, emerging use of a patented medicine/vaccine, etc. In addition, digital applications are widely used for controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, while new technologies such as e-health solutions, digital contact-tracing applications and artificial intelligence in medicine arouse issues concerning privacy protection, data security, public health information transparency and sharing, etc. 

Therefore, in this Special Issue of Healthcare, we welcome commentaries, short reports, reviews and original research articles that provide new insights into the above-related issues. The studies may be quantitative, qualitative or mixed-method, and interdisciplinary approaches are welcomed.

Prof. Dr. Chao Wang
Prof. Dr. Chunyan Ding
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Healthcare is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • global health
  • good governance
  • health in foreign policy
  • World Health Organization
  • global health justice
  • international health law
  • international health development

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Article
Decoding China’s COVID-19 Health Code Apps: The Legal Challenges
Healthcare 2022, 10(8), 1479; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10081479 - 05 Aug 2022
Viewed by 329
Abstract
Heath code apps, along with robust testing, isolation, and the care of cases, are a vital strategy for containing the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in China. They have remained stable and consistent, allowing China to extensively restore its social and economic development. [...] Read more.
Heath code apps, along with robust testing, isolation, and the care of cases, are a vital strategy for containing the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in China. They have remained stable and consistent, allowing China to extensively restore its social and economic development. However, the ethical and legal boundaries of deploying health code apps for disease surveillance and control purposes are unclear, and a rapidly evolving debate has emerged around the promises and risks of their fast promotion. The article outlines the legal challenges by applying the core values of the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), the fundamental law for personal information protection in China, into the context of the nationwide use of health code apps. It elaborates on the balance between the demands for upholding individuals’ rights to the security of their personal information and those for public access to such information to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. It identifies the current gaps in addressing personal information harms during the use of the apps, particularly with regard to user consent, transparency, necessity, storage duration, and security safeguards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Health in the Time of COVID-19: Law, Policy and Governance)
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Article
Association between the Human Development Index and Confirmed COVID-19 Cases by Country
Healthcare 2022, 10(8), 1417; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10081417 - 29 Jul 2022
Viewed by 176
Abstract
It is important to understand the ultimate control of COVID-19 in all countries around the world in relation to the characteristics of developed countries, LDCs, and the variety of transmission characteristics of COVID-19. Therefore, this study aimed to identify factors associated with confirmed [...] Read more.
It is important to understand the ultimate control of COVID-19 in all countries around the world in relation to the characteristics of developed countries, LDCs, and the variety of transmission characteristics of COVID-19. Therefore, this study aimed to identify factors associated with confirmed cases of COVID-19 with a focus on the Human Development Index (HDI). The units of analysis used for the current study were countries, and dataset were aggregated from multiple sources. This study used COVID-19 data from Our World in Data, the Global Health Security Index, and the WORLD BANK. A total of 171 countries were included in the analysis. A multi-variable linear regression with a hierarchical framework was employed to investigate whether the HDI is associated with confirmed COVID-19 cases after controlling for the demographic and healthcare system characteristics of the study countries. For Model 2, which controlled for demographic and healthcare system characteristics, HDI (β = 0.46, p < 0.001, 95% CI = 2.64–10.87) and the number of physicians per 1000 people (β = 0.34, p < 0.01, 95% CI = 0.21–0.75) had significant associations with the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people. Countries with a high HDI level are able to conduct higher per capita testing, resulting in higher numbers of confirmed cases than in countries with lower HDI levels. This study has shown evidence that could be used by governments and international organizations to identify national characteristics and provide the international cooperation necessary to develop effective prevention and intervention methods to deal with the global pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Health in the Time of COVID-19: Law, Policy and Governance)
Article
Physician Engagement before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Thailand
Healthcare 2022, 10(8), 1394; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10081394 - 26 Jul 2022
Viewed by 358
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected not only the quality of care and patient safety but also physician engagement. The aim of this study was to investigate physician engagement before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify the areas to improve regarding physician [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected not only the quality of care and patient safety but also physician engagement. The aim of this study was to investigate physician engagement before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify the areas to improve regarding physician engagement. An online survey was conducted from April 2019 to September 2020 among the physicians of 44 hospitals under the Bangkok Dusit Medical Services Public Company Limited (BDMS) before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results were analyzed using an independent T-test and one-way ANOVA to compare the continuous variables across groups. Multiple linear regression was used to identify and adjust the variables to determine the areas for improvement. Among the 10,746 respondents, physician engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic was significantly higher than in the pre-COVID-19 period (4.12 vs. 4.06, p-value < 0.001). The top three recommendations to promote physician engagement during the COVID-19 situation comprised (1) marketing (70%), (2) intra-and inter-organizational communication (69%), and (3) the competency of clinical staff (67%). During the COVID-19 pandemic, the positive outcomes toward physician engagement focused on infra-organizational development. These results can be considered in a strategy to optimize physician engagement, which affects the quality of care and patient safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Health in the Time of COVID-19: Law, Policy and Governance)
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Article
United by Contagion: How Can China Improve Its Capabilities of Port Infectious Disease Prevention and Control?
Healthcare 2022, 10(8), 1359; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10081359 - 22 Jul 2022
Viewed by 348
Abstract
The rapid development of the social economy and science and technology has led to more frequent transnational movements of people, goods and vehicles. At the same time, various cross-border risks have significantly increased. The rapid global spread and continuous mutation of Coronavirus Disease [...] Read more.
The rapid development of the social economy and science and technology has led to more frequent transnational movements of people, goods and vehicles. At the same time, various cross-border risks have significantly increased. The rapid global spread and continuous mutation of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) have again exposed the international community’s extreme vulnerability to major transnational public health emergencies. China started a “war against the epidemic” with tight quarantine regulations and border restrictions on people, vehicles and international goods. However, it also revealed the weaknesses in and incapacity for disease prevention and control at ports in terms of obstructed performance of the whole chain of public agencies, incompatible laws and regulations, lack of key technologies, and difficulties in international cooperation. Combined with persuasive data, this paper systematically illustrates how transnational infectious diseases lead humans to be “united by contagion”. On this basis, this paper makes a targeted analysis of the deficiencies of port epidemic prevention and control in China’s fight against COVID-19 and suggests corresponding countermeasures and reflections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Health in the Time of COVID-19: Law, Policy and Governance)
Article
China’s Vaccine Diplomacy and Its Implications for Global Health Governance
Healthcare 2022, 10(7), 1276; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10071276 - 10 Jul 2022
Viewed by 330
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on global economy and human communities. Promoting the accessibility and affordability of vaccine via diplomacy is the key to mitigating the pandemic crisis. China has been accused of seeking geopolitical objectives by launching vaccine diplomacy. The definition [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on global economy and human communities. Promoting the accessibility and affordability of vaccine via diplomacy is the key to mitigating the pandemic crisis. China has been accused of seeking geopolitical objectives by launching vaccine diplomacy. The definition of vaccine diplomacy is neutral by nature. China’s vaccine diplomacy is based on its holistic approach to national security and the importance China attaches to the “Belt and Road” Initiative. With a whole-of-government approach on both the bilateral and multilateral levels and marketization of vaccines, China’s vaccine diplomacy has immense implications for global health governance, in that it helps to narrow the global immunization vaccination gap and to promote human-right-based approach to global health governance. However, the sustainability of China’s vaccine diplomacy is questionable because of the Sino-American geopolitical competition and doubts over the efficacy of China’s vaccines. The escalation of power rivalry between China and the U.S. and the concerns over the efficacy of China’s vaccines forebode the gloomy future of China’s vaccine diplomacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Health in the Time of COVID-19: Law, Policy and Governance)
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Article
Cluster Analysis of US COVID-19 Infected States for Vaccine Distribution
Healthcare 2022, 10(7), 1235; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10071235 - 02 Jul 2022
Viewed by 396
Abstract
Since December 2019, COVID-19 has been raging worldwide. To prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection, many countries have proposed epidemic prevention policies and quickly administered vaccines, However, under facing a shortage of vaccines, the United States did not put forward effective epidemic prevention [...] Read more.
Since December 2019, COVID-19 has been raging worldwide. To prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection, many countries have proposed epidemic prevention policies and quickly administered vaccines, However, under facing a shortage of vaccines, the United States did not put forward effective epidemic prevention policies in time to prevent the infection from expanding, resulting in the epidemic in the United States becoming more and more serious. Through “The COVID Tracking Project”, this study collects medical indicators for each state in the United States from 2020 to 2021, and through feature selection, each state is clustered according to the epidemic’s severity. Furthermore, through the confusion matrix of the classifier to verify the accuracy of the cluster analysis, the study results show that the Cascade K-means cluster analysis has the highest accuracy. This study also labeled the three clusters of the cluster analysis results as high, medium, and low infection levels. Policymakers could more objectively decide which states should prioritize vaccine allocation in a vaccine shortage to prevent the epidemic from continuing to expand. It is hoped that if there is a similar epidemic in the future, relevant policymakers can use the analysis procedure of this study to determine the allocation of relevant medical resources for epidemic prevention according to the severity of infection in each state to prevent the spread of infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Health in the Time of COVID-19: Law, Policy and Governance)
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Article
Employment Management Policies for College Graduates under COVID-19 in China: Diffusion Characteristics and Core Issues
Healthcare 2022, 10(5), 955; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10050955 - 22 May 2022
Viewed by 571
Abstract
The outbreak of COVID-19 epidemic has been having a great impact on the job market, so that graduates from all over the world are facing a more complex employment environment. Unemployment of the educated labor force often results in a waste of human [...] Read more.
The outbreak of COVID-19 epidemic has been having a great impact on the job market, so that graduates from all over the world are facing a more complex employment environment. Unemployment of the educated labor force often results in a waste of human capital and leads to serious economic and social problems. In the face of the impact of COVID-19, the Chinese government quickly introduced a series of employment policies for college graduates to relieve their employment pressure and create opportunities of career development. How did these employment policies for college graduates spread rapidly under the unconventional state of the COVID-19 epidemic? What are the diffusion characteristics? What are the core issues and measures? What are the differences between governments at all levels? These problems with rich connotation and research value needed to be further clarified. Based on the 72 employment support policies collected from the Chinese government network, this paper conducted a text analysis of the policies and found that in the process dimension, the employment policies of college graduates accumulated and exploded from bottom to top in the short term, and the policies diffusion followed the gradual model of “east–middle–west”. In the content dimension, there were five core issues: financial subsidies, innovation and entrepreneurship to drive employment, public institutions to absorb, optimizing public services, and lowering the support threshold. Meanwhile, there were obvious differences in the choice of policy tools, policy intensity, and implementation ideas in each region. The findings are of important significance for developed and developing countries to better respond to the impact of various emergency situations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Health in the Time of COVID-19: Law, Policy and Governance)
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Article
An Effective Strategy and Mathematical Model to Predict the Sustainable Evolution of the Impact of the Pandemic Lockdown
Healthcare 2022, 10(5), 759; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10050759 - 19 Apr 2022
Viewed by 542
Abstract
There have been considerable losses in terms of human and economic resources due to the current coronavirus pandemic. This work, which contributes to the prevention and control of COVID-19, proposes a novel modified epidemiological model that predicts the epidemic’s evolution over time in [...] Read more.
There have been considerable losses in terms of human and economic resources due to the current coronavirus pandemic. This work, which contributes to the prevention and control of COVID-19, proposes a novel modified epidemiological model that predicts the epidemic’s evolution over time in India. A mathematical model was proposed to analyze the spread of COVID-19 in India during the lockdowns implemented by the government of India during the first and second waves. What makes this study unique, however, is that it develops a conceptual model with time-dependent characteristics, which is peculiar to India’s diverse and homogeneous societies. The results demonstrate that governmental control policies and suitable public perception of risk in terms of social distancing and public health safety measures are required to control the spread of COVID-19 in India. The results also show that India’s two strict consecutive lockdowns (21 days and 19 days, respectively) successfully helped delay the spread of the disease, buying time to pump up healthcare capacities and management skills during the first wave of COVID-19 in India. In addition, the second wave’s severe lockdown put a lot of pressure on the sustainability of many Indian cities. Therefore, the data show that timely implementation of government control laws combined with a high risk perception among the Indian population will help to ensure sustainability. The proposed model is an effective strategy for constructing healthy cities and sustainable societies in India, which will help prevent such a crisis in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Health in the Time of COVID-19: Law, Policy and Governance)
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Article
A Network Dynamics Model for the Transmission of COVID-19 in Diamond Princess and a Response to Reopen Large-Scale Public Facilities
Healthcare 2022, 10(1), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10010139 - 12 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 446
Abstract
Background: The current epidemic of COVID-19 has become the new normal. However, the novel coronavirus is constantly mutating. In public transportation or large entertainment venues, it can spread more quickly once an infected person is introduced. This study aims to discuss whether [...] Read more.
Background: The current epidemic of COVID-19 has become the new normal. However, the novel coronavirus is constantly mutating. In public transportation or large entertainment venues, it can spread more quickly once an infected person is introduced. This study aims to discuss whether large public facilities can be opened and operated under the current epidemic situation. Methods: The dual Barabási–Albert (DBA) model was used to build a contact network. A dynamics compartmental modeling framework was used to simulate the COVID-19 epidemic with different interventions on the Diamond Princess. Results: The effect of isolation only was minor. Regardless of the transmission rate of the virus, joint interventions can prevent 96.95% (95% CI: 96.70–97.15%) of infections. Compared with evacuating only passengers, evacuating the crew and passengers can avoid about 11.90% (95% CI: 11.83–12.06%) of infections; Conclusions: It is feasible to restore public transportation services and reopen large-scale public facilities if monitoring and testing can be in place. Evacuating all people as soon as possible is the most effective way to contain the outbreak in large-scale public facilities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Health in the Time of COVID-19: Law, Policy and Governance)
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