Security tape covers a closed children's playground in Hong Kong, China during coronavirus lockdown | Photographer: Justin Chin | Bloomberg
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New Delhi: The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate several countries across the world — the latest count is over 1.34 crore cases and more than 5.81 lakh deaths.

As the number of Covid-19 cases increases, most of them are now coming from the developing world and the US. Meanwhile, South Africa’s healthcare system is breaking down and the pandemic is exposing society’s dysfunctions.

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

Global surge in coronavirus cases due to the developing world — and the US

Most of the new cases in the world are coming from developing countries and the US, reports the Washington Post. “So far this week, the planet has added an average of more than 200,000 cases every day,” mentions the report.

“Poorer nations throughout Latin America, the Middle East, South Asia and Africa are bearing a growing share of the caseload, even as wealthier countries in Western Europe and East Asia enjoy a relative respite after having beaten back the worst effects through rigorously enforced lockdowns,” explains the report. The US, however, still leads the world in the number of daily new infections.

“Nearly all the countries struggling with a surge share something in common: After weeks or months of trying to suppress the virus, they reopened their economies, only to find that the virus came roaring back. Now they are using a more limited arsenal to contain the spread, with little success,” it adds. 


Also read: Trump turns Biden into top target at White House event on China

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Cities worldwide reimpose lockdowns as Covid-19 cases surge

Cities such as Bihar in India, Hong Kong, Lleida in Catalonia and several US states are reinforcing lockdowns as the number of infections continue to surge worldwide, reports The Guardian.

While India’s Bihar has imposed a 15-day lockdown, Catalonia also imposed a similar 15-day lockdown in the city of Lleida and several other towns. Meanwhile in the US, several states such as California have postponed their plans to reopen the economies and are re-imposing restrictions.

In France, wearing of masks is now mandatory and Hong Kong is implementing rules of strict social distancing starting Tuesday night. 

‘US might need a comprehensive shutdown before the pandemic gets much much worse’

In an opinion piece for the New York Times, John M. Barry, a professor at Tulane University and author of The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, argues that the pandemic could get much worse in the US, and a comprehensive shutdown is the need of the hour.

“When you mix science and politics, you get politics. With the coronavirus, the United States has proved politics hasn’t worked. If we are to fully reopen both the economy and schools safely — which can be done — we have to return to science,” writes Barry.

He was referring to US President Donald Trump’s decision to prioritise reopening the economy even as the number of cases in the US continue to surge.

“This is our second chance. We won’t get a third. If we don’t get the growth of this pandemic under control now, in a few months, when the weather turns cold and forces people to spend more time indoors, we could face a disaster that dwarfs the situation today,” he adds.


Also read: Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro bitten by emu-like bird during Covid isolation in Brasilia


Brits remain reluctant to wear face masks despite highest Covid death toll in Europe

The UK has the highest Covid-19 death rate in all of Europe and yet its citizens are refraining from wearing masks, reports the Washington Times.

“Britons are uniquely reluctant to wear face masks, given the level of fear around Covid-19 and the number of cases in the country,” notes a report produced by Imperial College London.

“The latest data shows that 38 percent of Brits report wearing masks outside their homes, according to the covid-19 behavior tracker run by Imperial College and YouGov. That’s compared with 73 percent in the United States, where resistance to face coverings has taken on partisan dimensions,” notes the report.

Inside South Africa’s ‘hospitals of horrors’

As Covid-19 numbers surge in South Africa — the country’s hospitals are filthy, and the overworked doctors and nurses are getting overwhelmed by the case load, reports the BBC, following its week-long investigation.

“With key staff on strike or sick with coronavirus in the Eastern Cape province, nurses are forced to act as cleaners, surgeons are washing their own hospital laundry and there are alarming reports of unborn babies dying in over-crowded and understaffed maternity wards,” states the report.

One senior doctor quoted in the report describes the current situation as an “epic failure of a deeply corrupt system”, and another doctor talked about “institutional burn-out… a sense of chronic exploitation, the department of health essentially bankrupt, and a system on its knees with no strategic management”.

With the country now touching 3 lakh cases and over 4,300 deaths, President Cyril Ramaphosa said, “The storm is upon us.” 


Also read: Not just India, Tibet — China has 17 territorial disputes with its neighbours, on land & sea


Offshore investors dump Chinese stocks after epic rally

After Chinese stock markets’ epic 5.7 per cent rally — unlike any seen in China since 2015 — several offshore investors have decided to sell these stocks Tuesday and amass massive profits, reports the Financial Times.

“Funds based outside the mainland sold a net Rmb17.4bn ($2.6bn) through trading link-ups between Hong Kong and the two main bourses in Shanghai and Shenzhen, according to Financial Times calculations based on Bloomberg data,” notes the report.

Following this selling, the key Chinese index CSI 300 closed its session Tuesday, down just 1 per cent. However, regardless of these outflows, analysts expect the market to continue performing well.

ASEAN becomes China’s top trade partner as supply chain evolves

For the global economy, the disruption of supply chains was one of the most detrimental consequences of the pandemic. Now, as these supply chains are beginning to revive, ASEAN countries are emerging as China’s top trading partner, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.

“China’s total imports and exports with the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations increased 2% on the year to $297.8 billion, the country’s custom agency said Tuesday. The bloc accounted for 14.7% of China’s overall trade for the period, up from 14% in 2019,” notes the report.

Meanwhile, the share of Chinese trade with EU and the US fell by 5 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively.

“China is rapidly building a new supply chain in Southeast Asia as the conflict with Washington shuts access to U.S. technology. China-based manufactures are also shifting production to the region to avoid the import tariffs the U.S. imposed on Chinese-produced goods,” adds the report. 


Also read: Robots deployed to kill viruses at Heathrow Airport at night


Covid-19 has exposed society’s dysfunctions: Martin Wolf

In an opinion piece Financial Times’ Martin Wolf argues that even before the pandemic struck, several countries and international relations at-large were reeling with deep chronic ailments, but Covid-19 has exacerbated all of them.

“We are living in an era of multiple crises: Covid-19; a crisis of economic disappointment; a crisis of democratic legitimacy; a crisis of the global commons; a crisis of international relations; and a crisis of global governance. We do not know how to deal with all of these. This is partly because it is hard to develop the needed ideas for reform. Yet it is far more because politics cannot deliver the necessary changes,” writes Wolf.

Wolf argues that while it is necessary to think of ideas that can fix these crises, perhaps what is more important is forming political consensus that can allow those changes to be implemented.

What else we are reading:

Doubts cloud China’s post-coronavirus recovery: Financial Times

Misinformation and Conspiracies Spread While Kazakhstan Reimposes Lockdown: The Diplomat

The coronavirus effect on Pakistan’s digital divide: BBC

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