Oxfam at Davos: Pandemic wealth uplift for 10 richest men could 'vaccinate everyone'

By contrast millions of people have lost jobs, livelihoods, a roof over their heads

<p><span style="font-size:14px">Heba Shalan, 40, is the mother of five children and a nurse. She lives in Jabalia refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip. Since the Covid-19 outbreak in Gaza, Heba has been living with a constant worry that she will pass the virus onto her family or the community where she lives.</span></p>


<p><span style="font-size:14px">Gaza&rsquo;s desperately underfunded healthcare organisations are struggling to cope with the rapidly increasing demand as a result of COVID-19 and many can&rsquo;t afford to provide their staff with adequate personal protective equipment: Heba only has a basic mask and gloves to protect her while at work. Despite working long hours and putting her life on the line everyday, Heba is paid very little -just 1,100 shekels ($338) a month -and she is regularly paid late or receives less than her full salary.</span></p>


<p><span style="font-size:14px">The work doesn&rsquo;t stop when Heba gets home&nbsp;where she is responsible for most of the housework and childcare including home-schooling her children when schools closed as a result of the pandemic. Heba says, &quot;the living conditions in Gaza are difficult because of the long-standing occupation and blockade. The pandemic made things only worse. My workload increased, which already reflected in my life and on my family.&quot;</span></p>


<p><span style="font-size:14px">&quot;As I am a nurse, I am also a mother, I had to do most of the house and children care duties. Making food, laundry, cleaning, and teaching the children. Often, I can&#39;t keep up with all my children&#39;s lessons and assignments.&quot;</span></p>


<p style="margin-left:0cm; margin-right:0cm"><span style="font-size:14px">Heba, like all Palestinians in Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza, is likely to face a long wait for a COVID-19 vaccine despite Israel having rolled out a record-setting vaccination drive.&nbsp;&nbsp; As of 21 January 2021
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Income inequality is being exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic as billionaires bounce back and the world's poorest struggle disproportionately, Oxfam has found.
The charity said the planet's richest people recouped their Covid-19 losses inside nine months but it could take more than a decade for the world's poorest to recover.
The ten wealthiest men have seen their combined wealth increase by $540 billion (£400 billion) during the pandemic, Oxfam's report, The Inequality Virus, found.
That is enough to both pay for a Covid-19 vaccine for everyone on the planet and reverse the rise in poverty caused by the pandemic, Oxfam said.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - SEPTEMBER 03: A Health agent of the City of Rio de Janeiro performs a COVID-19 rapid test on Roberta Cruz, 42, at Morro da Mangueira (favela) on September 3, 2020 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Roberta reports that her husband was hospitalized during the pandemic and her uncle who also lives in the house in addition to two children tested positive. Her test result was positive. The Municipal Secreaatary of Health began the fourth stage of rapid testing for COVID-19 in Rio de Janeiro communities. According to the city of Rio de Janeiro, more than 9.000 favela residents have already been tested. The objective is to test 20.000 people, to serve as a basis for the municipality to identify the percentage of infected people inside the communities and plan the return of economic activities and services in general. (Photo by Bruna Prado/Getty Images)
Covid testing in the slum favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Getty Images

Women are being hardest hit and the pandemic is widening long-standing economic, racial and gender divides, the report revealed, as it was published on the opening day of the World Economic Forum's Davos Agenda.
"During the pandemic 10 billionaires made half a trillion dollars in that period which would be enough to prevent anyone from across the world from being pushed into poverty and would be enough to pay for a vaccine for everyone," said Gabriela Bucher, executive director of Oxfam International.

"At the other end of the spectrum we know millions of people have lost jobs, livelihoods, a roof over their heads, so the contrast is enormous and we know that this year inequality is set to rise in almost every country in the world and [to be] the greatest rise since records began."
The report supports an analysis by the World Bank, which has warned that the economic crisis is sending a new generation into poverty and debt turmoil. The International Monetary Fund has warned that developing nations may be set back by a decade.

Oxfam is urging governments to do more to address inequality, including making tax policies more equitable and cancelling developing countries' debts.
Advances in women's equality that have taken decades to achieve are now at risk of being wiped out, Oxfam added. 
It reported an extra 112 million women are at risk of losing their jobs, many of them low paid and in health or social care.

For its part, the WEF has urged governments to make society more resilient, inclusive and sustainable.