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New Delhi: The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate several countries across the world — the latest count is 5,920,231 cases and more than 362,365 deaths.

In a cheer for cricket fans across the globe, a domestic T20 tournament is set to start next week in Australia, which would be streamed from Darwin. And in other news, a study has shown that one out of 10 Indonesians tested showed presence of coronavirus antibodies. While the Donald Trump government has made it easier for addicts to receive opioid substitutes, can filmmaker Christopher Nolan save a gloomy summer?

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

Cricket to make a return in Australia

The Covid-19 pandemic has halted sporting events across the world, but now the return of a domestic T20 cricket tournament in Australia is bringing cheer to fans across the globe, reports The Financial Times.

Australia’s officials are planning to live stream the matches from Darwin starting next week. “The T20 competition will feature up-and-coming players rather than established professionals and host crowds of up to 500 spectators, which are allowed in the Northern Territory — a tropical region with no active coronavirus cases,” notes the report.

Surge in Covid-19 cases in Indonesia 

A random sampling of thousands in Indonesia have shown that one out of 10 citizens have antibodies for the coronavirus, presenting an alarming situation to the country’s government, reports The New York Times.

Indonesia, which is an archipelago, now features Covid-19 cases even on the islands far away from the center of the country. It has so far seen 24,538 cases and 1,496 deaths from the illness.

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“With thousands of islands straddling a section of the Equator wider than the continental United States, Indonesia has counted on its sprawling archipelago and youthful population to slow the deadly spread of the virus,” notes the report.

“But with sharp caseload increases in far-flung regions like the Malukus and full-blown outbreaks on more populated islands like Java, Indonesia’s luck may be running out,” it adds.

US relaxes rules for opioid substitutes

The coronavirus-led lockdowns have prompted the Donald Trump-led government to relax rules governing “addiction treatments such as methadone, in what campaigners say has been a policy revolution in dealing with the US opioid crisis,” reports The Financial Times.

“In the past few months, US agencies have temporarily eased restrictions governing how doctors can prescribe drugs meant to help addicts wean themselves off heroin and other opioids. Addicts can now begin treatment online instead of in person, receive home deliveries of drugs used as treatments and keep weeks’ worth of supplies at home,” says the report.

The opioid crisis was believed to be the greatest public health emergency in the US before the coronavirus pandemic arrived, accounting for the death of 47,600 people, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why was Lombardy hit harder than other regions in Italy?

Italy’s Lombardy region had several Covid-19 cases even before the first one was detected, according to reports.

“Coronavirus has killed almost 16,000 people in Lombardy and infected more than 87,000 – the highest number per capita in Italy. By comparison, just next door in Piedmont and Veneto, the disease has killed 3,838 and 1,898 people, respectively, as of Thursday,” said the report.

“But the question of why the virus has been so lethal in Italy’s richest region while leaving others relatively unscathed is yet to yield any concrete answers…theories include Lombardy’s close trade ties with China and the rest of the world, population density (the region has the largest number of residents in Italy), and high levels of pollution,” it adds.

Covid-19 reveals Asian governments’ addiction to remittances

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed several Asian government’s dependence on remittances made by overseas workers, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.

“In the past 20 years, there has been an explosion of economic growth in Asia driven by remittances, the cash workers abroad send home. From Manila to New Delhi, officials have come to rely on millions of people working abroad to send money back to their families. It is a key source of hard currency to plug holes in government balance sheets and drive domestic consumption,” notes the report.

Lockdowns had meant a drastic fall in these remittances. “Globally, remittances hit a record $554 billion in 2019, trumping foreign direct investment for many low to middle income countries. Now, the World Bank predicts a $109 billion, or 20%, plunge in 2020 to $445 billion,” adds the report.

These remittances also revealed how several Asian governments shied from genuine economic reforms due to this easy flow of foreign cash.

In Mexico, it’s not just virus, hospitals have become killers too

Covid-19 is not the only killer in Mexico. Several hospitals in the country have become sites of transmission and cause of death, reports The New York Times.

“Years of neglect have hobbled many Mexican hospitals. Now, as the pandemic strikes, some patients are dying from neglect or from mistakes that are easily prevented, doctors and nurses say,” notes the report.

“…the pandemic is making matters much worse, sickening more than 11,000 Mexican health workers — one of the highest rates in the world — and depleting the already thin ranks in hospitals. Some hospitals have lost half their staff to illness and absenteeism. Others are running low on basic equipment, like heart monitors,” it adds.

Researchers wonder why Covid-19 appears deadlier in US and Europe than in Asia

One of the greatest mysteries of the ongoing pandemic has been why the novel coronavirus seems more deadly in Europe and North America than in Asia. Now, researchers across the world have initiated a drive to explain this variation, reports The Washington Post.

“Even allowing for different testing policies and counting methods, and questions over full disclosure of cases, stark differences in mortality across the world have caught the attention of researchers trying to crack the coronavirus code,” notes the report.

“Parts of Asia reacted quickly to the threat and largely started social distancing earlier on. But researchers are also examining other factors, including differences in genetics and immune system responses, separate virus strains and regional contrasts in obesity levels and general health,” it adds.

How one French town made going to the beach safe again

The coronavirus pandemic brought a complete halt to France’s beach life, which has had over 28,000 Covid-19-related deaths. Now, one French resort town near Montpellier, ‘La Grade-Motte’, has opened its doors and experimenting with “social distancing-compliant sunbathing”, reports The New York Times.

“The spots must be booked two days in advance on municipality’s website. Each time slot lasts only three hours – the static beach closes at lunch time for a safe turnover. Security guards man the entrance,” notes the report.

Can Christopher Nolan save the summer?

Amidst a raging pandemic, maverick filmmaker Christopher Nolan has decided to stick to the 17 July release date of his new film Tenet. In a grim summer, can Nolan deliver a masterpiece which can raise the spirits of cinema lovers across the world, asks The New Yorker.

“While we all wait for ‘Tenet’ to offer us our first glimpse of the post-pandemic entertainment world, some theatres plan to lure patrons back in late June and early July with screenings of blockbusters past — the ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Hunger Games’ movies, ‘Back to the Future’, Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ and, yes, ‘Jaws’ — charging as little as two dollars per ticket.

These are prices not seen since Jimmy Carter was President. Is history rolling backward or stuck on fast-forward? Maybe Nolan’s film will be able to tell us,” says the piece.

What else we are reading:

The end of life as we know it? Get real: The Washington Post

China rounds up Wuhan’s citizen journalists for ‘provoking quarrels’: The Financial Times

Trump is courting a landslide defeat: The Financial Times

Coronavirus Epidemics Began Later Than Believed, Study Concludes: The New York Times

Also read: Boris Johnson’s 20% drop in approval ratings, Wuhan’s testing miracle and other Covid news


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