New Delhi: The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate countries across the world — the latest count being over 12 crore cases and more than 27 lakh deaths.
Hong Kong’s strict quarantine rules become a cause for concern for the financial sector, a lockdown imposed in Paris over a surge in cases because of contagious variants. And the US sent millions of vaccine doses to Mexico and Canada.
ThePrint brings you the most important global stories on the coronavirus pandemic and why they matter.
Hong Kong rattles bankers with strict Covid-19 quarantine
Hong Kong’s strict coronavirus containment protocol has become a cause for concern for the city’s financial sector as outbreaks of Covid-19 have forced several firms to shut offices, reports The Straits Times.
According to the report, the quarantine policies have “left some employees and their children stuck in spartan government quarantine facilities”.
It also notes that strict protocols mean Hong Kong might find it difficult to attract overseas talent.
Tara Joseph, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, is quoted as saying, “For the US business community, the quarantine has been a great frustration, and we hope the procedures will be changed when the government feels it is safe.”
Hong Kong has reported 11,351 Covid cases and 203 deaths so far.
Paris goes into lockdown as Covid variant rampages
France has imposed a month-long lockdown in Paris after a surge in the number of cases because of “highly contagious coronavirus variants”, reports Reuters.
The report quotes Prime Minister Jean Castex as saying, “The epidemic is getting worse. Our responsibility now is to not let it escape our control.”
The lockdown will start Friday at midnight. While barbershops, clothing stores and furniture will be closed, those selling essential goods and schools will remain open.
France has reported 41,81,607 cases and 91,679 deaths.
US to send millions of vaccine doses to Mexico and Canada
The US is planning to send millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Mexico and Canada, reports The New York Times.
The report describes this as “a notable step into vaccine diplomacy” by the Biden administration.
The US is planning to share 2.5 million doses of the vaccine with Mexico and 1.5 million doses with Canada.
White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said the shipments will be a loan to the two countries in exchange for doses of the same vaccine in the future. Psaki was quoted as saying, “…I wouldn’t read into it more than our ability to provide — to lend — vaccine doses.”
Meanwhile, the US government has also been pressuring Mexico to stop a stream of migrants from coming in.
The US has reported 3,03,58,880 cases and 5,52,470 deaths so far.
Concerns about fourth Covid wave as Iranians travel for Nowruz
With the Iranian New Year around the corner, concerns are being raised about a fourth Covid-19 wave in the country, reports Al Jazeera.
“Millions of Iranians usually travel locally, mostly to lush provinces to the north of the country, and visit family and loved ones during Nowruz – on Saturday – and the holidays after,” the report notes.
This year, however, authorities have urged the people to limit travel and in-person visits.
On Tuesday, several videos on social media showed people engaged in the Charshanbe Suri celebrations without following Covid-19 protocols.
Iran has reported 17,78,645 cases and 61,581 deaths.
Covid outbreak at British Columbia long-term care home includes vaccinated residents
A surge in cases in a long-term care home in Canada’s British Columbia has underscored how the vaccines can’t eliminate outbreaks, reports The Globe and Mail.
According to the report, the virus entered the Cottonwoods Care Centre through a wing meant for short stays by people recovering from surgery. It then went on to infect 23 people, which included eight who had been inoculated.
Isobel Mackenzie, BC’s Seniors Advocate, an independent watchdog who reports to the Health Ministry is, however, quoted as saying, “Clearly the vaccine has been effective because the dramatic drop in long-term care outbreaks – and cases – is not matched by a dramatic decrease of cases in the community.”
Canada has reported 9,22,848 cases and 22,590 deaths.
What else we are reading:
Brazil vaccine drive faces challenges in remote communities: The Associated Press
Covid-19 drove hundreds of Africans out of Guangzhou. A generation of mixed-race children is their legacy: CNN