Medical workers remove a body from a refrigerator truck outside of the Brooklyn Hospital in New York on March 31. Photo | Bloomberg
Medical workers remove a body from a refrigerator truck outside of the Brooklyn Hospital in New York in April 2020 | Bloomberg
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New Delhi: The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate several countries across the world with over 33,08,901 cases and more than 2,34,139 deaths.

However, some countries are still not taking the threat seriously. Despite more than 6,000 deaths, Brazilians are following President Jair Bolosnaro’s lead and are ignoring social distancing norms. While in New York, the new epicentre of the pandemic, bodies are piling as the city runs out of burial space.

ThePrint brings you the most important global stories on the coronavirus pandemic and why they matter.

Encouraged by Bolsonaro, Brazilians ignore social distancing and isolation 

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has long scoffed at the idea of social distancing and isolation norms to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Now, his rhetoric is being adopted by the country’s citizenry to defy those norms, reports the Globe and Mail.

“Egged on by Mr. Bolsonaro, who has routinely scoffed at both the virus and stay-at-home policies, Brazilians are heeding his call for revolt. Support for isolation is faltering, particularly among the wealthy,” the report says.

“More people are milling and mixing. From the sun-worshipers to the Instagram influencers and pro-Bolsonaro protesters, denial is spreading and quarantine is coming apart. But, unlike other countries looking to ease restrictions, Latin America’s largest country is still weeks from the peak in its viral curve,” it adds. Brazil currently has over 87,000 cases and 6,000 deaths.


Also read: Covid brings back single-use plastics as environmental concerns take a backseat


US cases rise at slowest pace this month 

According to Covid-19 data compiled by Bloomberg and Johns Hopkins University, the number of new coronavirus cases in the US rose at just 1.02 per cent on Thursday, which is much lower than 3 per cent over the past week and 2.7 per cent Wednesday.

The US with 1.04 million cases has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the world, and a reducing rate of growth is a welcome change.

However, the reduction in rate of growth is not uniform. For instance, the data notes that California’s cases rose by 5.3 per cent to 48,917 — registering its single biggest one-day jump. Nebraska also recorded its single biggest day jump, its new cases went up by 9.1 per cent to 3,851.

Trump contradicts his intelligence service on the origins of the virus 

During his daily press briefing, US President Donald Trump seems to have undercut the claims of his own intelligence agencies, when he said that he has proof that the novel coronavirus originated from a Chinese laboratory, reports BBC.

This comes just a day after US’ national intelligence director’s office said that they were still investigating the origins of the virus. However, the intelligence director’s office clearly stated that the virus was neither “manmade” nor “genetically modified”.

During the press briefing, the president was asked by a reporter, “”Have you seen anything at this point that gives you a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the origin of this virus?”

To which, Trump responded by saying, “Yes, I have. Yes, I have.”

“And I think the World Health Organization should be ashamed of themselves because they’re like the public relations agency for China,” he added later. 


Also readCoronavirus is likely to generate tell-tale signs of infection, top US scientist Fauci says


Russian PM tests positive for coronavirus 

Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has been admitted to a hospital after he tested positive for Covid-19, reportBBC.

The news of Russia’s first high-ranking politician testing positive comes on the same day as the country’s total number of cases crossed 1 lakh after registering a record number of 7,099 cases in a single day.

“Mr Mishustin was given the role of prime minister in January and has been actively involved in Russia’s handling of the epidemic,” notes the report. “Mr Mishustin suggested that First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov should take his place and Mr Putin agreed. Mr Mishustin will now go into self-isolation.” 

Bodies pile up as New York has no space to bury the dead

After New York became the epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic, the city does not have enough space to bury its dead, reports The New York Times.

“At the height of the outbreak in April, a New Yorker was dying almost every two minutes — more than 800 per day, or four times the city’s normal death rate. And though the daily toll has recently slowed, hundreds of bodies are still emerging each day from private homes and hospitals,” notes the report.

While hospitals bore the initial brunt of the crisis as sick people flooded emergency rooms, the sheer volume of human remains has pushed the system for caring for the dead to its limits, too: Hospital morgues, funeral homes, cemeteries and crematories are all overflowing and backed up,” adds NYT.


Also read: Remdesivir maker Gilead is caught between making a profit and treating the world


Australia and New Zealand consider reopening border 

The governments of Australia and New Zealand are mulling over reopening travel between the two countries — even as the rest of the world continues to impose lockdown restrictions, reports the Straits Times.

Both the countries have been extremely successful in responding to the coronavirus pandemic and have been the front-runners in flattening the curve. Australia with a population of over 25 million has 6,752 cases, and New Zealand with about five million residents has just 1,476 cases.

“This is allowing their governments to explore the possibility of allowing travel between the two neighbours, even while they both remain cut off from the rest of the world. The creation of a ‘Trans-Tasman bubble’ could boost tourism, trade and business ties,” notes the report.

Japan’s GDP set to contract by 22 per cent – largest post-war drop

According to new estimates released by the Nikkei — Japan’s key stock market index — the Japanese economy is set to contract by an annualised 21.7 per cent during the April-June quarter, reports Nikkei Asian Review.

This fall would mark the single-largest drop in Japan’s GDP since the end of the second world war in 1945.

“The forecast for real gross domestic product, an average of projections from 16 private-sector economists, shows Japan faring worse than during the global financial crisis of 2008-09, when GDP sank 17.8% in the worst quarter,” notes the report.

“The largest contributor to the projected second-quarter decline is an anticipated 6.9% drop in consumer spending, which accounts for more than half of GDP,” it adds.


Also read: Trump says polls no referendum, Bangladesh worst-hit S Asian nation & other global Covid news


Europeans asked to eat fries, steak and cheese 

Given that most supply chains have been disrupted and there is an excess of food supplies, Belgians are being urged to eat fries, while the British and French have been asked to increase their intake of steak and cheese respectively, the Financial Times reports.

“The unusual pleas come not because people need comfort food as the coronavirus pandemic rages, but to help clear a glut of produce languishing in storage as the crisis shuts restaurants, hotels and workplace eateries across Europe,” states the report.

Thus, the Belgian, British, and French governments have been urging their citizens to consume the key products their respective countries produce — in order to help the local economy in times of a crisis.

These kind of food gluts are not only limited to fries, cheese, and steak. For instance, Italy is increasingly facing pressure to sell off its wines, and the UK is having a serious crisis to store the surplus milk produced everyday.

What else we are reading: 

China’s expensive bet on Africa has failed: Nikkei Asian Review

Running Nowhere in Beirut Under Coronavirus Lockdown: New Yorker

Iran Is Hauling Gold Bars Out of Venezuela’s Almost-Empty Vaults: Bloomberg

Czechs to allow cultural and sports events with up to 100 people in next reopening wave: Reuters

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