New Delhi: The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate countries across the world — the latest count being over 3.6 crore cases and more than 10 lakh deaths.
A packed funeral in Israel has led to tensions between secular and ultra-orthodox sides. Indonesia’s government and its citizens are at loggerheads over the surge in Covid-19 cases. And the Orthodox-Jewish community is at the centre of new, tougher restrictions in New York state.
ThePrint brings you the most important global stories on the coronavirus pandemic and why they matter.
Packed funeral for ultra-Orthodox rabbi inflames Covid tensions in Israel
Tensions have risen between the secular and ultra-orthodox sides in Israel as the latter refused to halt mass religious events despite a “punishing second lockdown”, reports The Guardian.
The report notes two contradictory pictures: “While most of the country remained at home in the hope of curbing a raging infection rate… thousands of men gathered shoulder-to-shoulder this week at a funeral for Rabbi Mordechai Leifer, 64, who died of Covid-19 complications.”
“The pandemic has blown open deeply entrenched grievances between secular and religious elements within Israel that have festered for decades,” the report explains.
A secular, far-right politician, Avigdor Liberman, had, on Facebook, called the images of the event “a spit in the face”. In another astonishing detail, the report said that the ultra-Orthodox community accounts for up to 40 per cent of new virus cases.
Israel has recorded 2,77,026 cases and 1,797 deaths.
Blame game as Covid-19 cases surge in Indonesia
In Indonesia, a blame game has ensued between the government and residents over the surge in Covid-19 cases, reports The Straits Times.
“The government has blamed it on the failure of people to comply with safety protocols but critics say the government has prioritised resuscitating the economy rather than dealing with the pandemic,” the report notes.
Around 40,000 Indonesians have signed an online petition calling for the resignation of Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto for “failing” to curb the rise.
The report quotes the petition, which said, “From the beginning, Health Minister Terawan has taken this outbreak lightly. His handling (of the pandemic) is not serious.”
Indonesia has recorded 3,11,176 cases and 11,374 deaths.
‘Catastrophic’: Iran reports record rise in Covid-19 cases
Iran has been put on red alert after it reported a record number of more than 4,000 new Covid-19 cases, reports Al Jazeera.
The report says it is the worst-hit country of the region, and “the majority of Iran’s 32 provinces are currently being classified as red”.
“The situation in the capital Tehran has worsened, with provincial authorities indicating it will be compulsory to wear masks in all public places in the capital from Saturday in a bid to halt the spread,” the report notes.
The report quotes its journalist, Assed Baig, who blamed “coronavirus fatigue” in the country, “with adherence to health protocols dropping to about 40 percent from 80 percent”.
Iran has reported 4,79,825 cases and 27,419 deaths.
Governor Cuomo imposes tight virus rules on areas hit by spikes across New York state
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday imposed tough restrictions in Orthodox Jewish areas of the city that have witnessed a spike in cases, reports The New York Times.
The new restrictions would have an “especially pronounced impact on synagogues and other houses of worship”, the report notes. Cuomo’s decision came as he disagreed with Mayor de Blasio’s proposal to only close down schools and non-essential businesses in nine ZIP codes in the city.
The report quotes him as saying, “This is about mass gatherings…And one of the prime places of mass gatherings are houses of worship”.
While those in de Blasio’s office said that the new restrictions are being reviewed, the report notes the reactions from those in the Jewish community, quoting Rabbi Motti Seligson, who said, “All of this seems very poorly executed, the decision and the communication, all of it.”
The US has recorded 77,19,402 cases and 2,15,780 deaths.
Mexico reports record daily increase in coronavirus cases, deaths
Mexico reported a sharp increase in daily Covid-19 figures following a change in methodology, reports Reuters.
While the number of deaths jumped by 2,789, another 28,115 cases were added “outstripping the prior daily records of 1,092 and 9,556 cases”.
“The Health Ministry said the record jump includes additional cases and deaths that date back to June,” the report notes.
It also highlighted Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell’s remark who called it a “one-off event”. Critics in Mexico have consistently been pointing that the Covid-19 figures have been significantly undercounted, given the limited testing.
Mexico has recorded 7,89,780 cases and 81,877 deaths.
Manchester universities move teaching online amid rising Covid cases
Two of Manchester’s major universities were forced to move classes online after 1,700 students were told to self-isolate on 26 September, reports the BBC.
More than 1,000 students and 20 staff members of the University of Manchester had tested positive while more than 500 people had been infected at Manchester Metropolitan University.
“Manchester has the highest rate of infections in England with 561 cases per 100,000 of the population,” the report notes.
It quotes the director of public health for Manchester, David Regan, who said, “Clearly we need to introduce a contain approach with the universities just to manage transmission over the next three weeks.”
The UK has recorded 5,30,113 cases and 42,445 deaths.
What else we are reading:
As coronavirus kills indigenous elders in Brazil, endangered languages face extinction: The Washington Post
More than 5.2 million Spaniards are now under coronavirus mobility restrictions: El País