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How Ethiopia is beating virus without lockdown, Twitter fact-checks Trump & other Covid news

As the Covid-19 pandemic shows no signs of letting up, ThePrint highlights the most important stories on the crisis from across the globe.

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New Delhi: The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate several countries across the world — the latest count is 5,792,907 cases and more than 357,480 deaths.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to the revival of trade unions in UK but there’s chaos and devastation in care homes in Russia, that account for a large number of Covid-19 deaths. Meanwhile, how has Ethiopia managed to beat the pandemic without a lockdown and ventilators and why did Twitter finally fact check Trump.

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

Pandemic provokes revival of trade unions

As the coronavirus pandemic has heightened anxiety over job security among workers, trade unions are witnessing a revival in countries like the UK, reports the Financial Times.

“UK trade unions are reporting a stream of new members since the start of the coronavirus lockdown, reflecting increased anxiety over workplace safety and the risk of redundancies,” notes the report.

“The heightened imperative to ensure safety at work provoked by the pandemic — after years in which ministers have viewed health and safety inspections as a burden to be minimised — has given unions a new-found influence in talks with the government over the reopening of schools and other key sectors of the economy,” it adds.

Also read: India, China should avoid any action that would increase tensions: UN spokesperson

Nightmare spreads through Russia’s care homes

A new report in the BBC looks at the horrific condition of care homes at Russia that have been at the centre of the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

BBC highlights the Covid-19 outbreak at the “Vishenki home for the elderly in Smolensk, 400km (250 miles) west of Moscow”.

“‘What’s happening here is a nightmare,’ a carer told the BBC by telephone, one of dozens from the state-run home who are now off sick after residents and staff caught coronavirus,” notes the report. “At the start of this month, residents and staff began catching Covid-19 at this home in Smolensk.”

The report adds how by 3 May several residents of the care home had caught the fever and started dying. A nurse told BBC, “I think about eight people died and that’s just on my floor.” She believes their “accompanying illnesses” were given as their cause of death, rather than Covid-19. “In our place, no-one does autopsies,” she said.

Furthermore, according to an orderly, the inhabitants of the care home had not been informed that they were infected by Covid-19.

Social restrictions may return in South Korea after spike in cases

As South Korea reported its largest single day spike – 79 cases – in fresh cases in 53 days, the country is contemplating whether it should return to stricter forms of social distancing again, reports The Guardian.

“The Korean Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported 79 new infections on Thursday with 67 of them from the Seoul metropolitan area, home to about half of the country’s population of 51 million,” notes the report. “Officials said health authorities were finding it increasingly difficult to track the transmission routes for new infections and urged people to remain vigilant amid fears of a second wave of Covid-19 infections.”

The country’s health minister Park Neung-hoo has asked residents living in and around Seoul to observe social distancing, avoid unnecessary gatherings and refrain from going to work if they are sick.

Also read: More than 2 lakh ship crew are stuck at sea and are facing a ‘humanitarian crisis’

How a 750 billion euros recovery fund could change EU forever

Since the introduction of the European integration project in the 1950s, the key debate has been whether the decision-making powers lie with member states or the EU institutions based in Brussels.

“But the coronavirus has so fundamentally damaged the bloc’s economy that it is now forcing European leaders to consider the sort of unified and sweeping response once thought unworkable,” reports The New York Times.

On Wednesday, the European Commission — EU’s executive branch — announced its plan to raise 750 billion euros from the market to fund the response to the coronavirus pandemic across different countries.

“The plan, which still requires approval from the 27 national leaders and their parliaments, would be the first time that the bloc raised large amounts of common debt in capital markets, taking the E.U. one step closer to a shared budget, potentially paid for through common taxes,” adds the report, saying that this move would vest authority in Brussels “in ways that more closely than ever resembled a central government.”

Ethiopia is beating the pandemic sans lockdown and ventilators

Even without a lockdown or a high-tech healthcare system, Ethiopia has managed to beat the coronavirus pandemic by leveraging its community healthcare system, notes the Financial Times. The country, with a population of 110 million, has only 731 cases.

“Ethiopia’s technocratic government decided it could not afford a rich-country response to the virus,” notes the report. “The government has leaned heavily on a community-based health system built by Meles Zenawi, prime minister until his death in 2012, and his health minister, one Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, now director-general of the World Health Organization.

“According to officials, community health workers have screened an astonishing 40m people in 11m households, verifying their travel history and conducting routine temperature checks,” it adds.

Also read: Hong Kong’s autonomy is gone, US says, sows doubt about special trading status

Cost of New Zealand’s super-fast lockdown

New Zealand’s government was lauded for providing one of the swiftest responses to the coronavirus pandemic. The country had enforced a lockdown when it had just 205 cases and had managed to restrict the crisis to just 1,400 infections and 12 deaths. But this swift response might have led to a sharp economic cost, reports Le Monde.

According to the French daily’s analysis, the lockdown may have cost over 3 lakh jobs and could have led to a massive government debt.

How are the most vulnerable countries dealing with the pandemic?

The coronavirus pandemic has had grim affects for even the most developed countries in the world, and in such a scenario the world’s most fragile states are having an increasingly tough time surviving the impact of the pandemic, notes an analysis in G Zero Media.

In Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro seems to have politically survived the pandemic, but the blow to the country’s economy has been severe. Not only have citizens taken to the streets to protest against a flailing economy, the government was forced to turn to Iran for five tankers of gasoline. Meanwhile, in Yemen the civil war continues even as the pandemic spreads through parts of the country and South Sudan has somehow managed to hold on to its fragile peace.  

Also read: Soaring cost of beer – the big price Chinese will pay for their trade spat with Australia

How Covid-19 pushed Twitter to fact-check Trump’s tweets

For years users on Twitter have complained about US President Donald Trump’s misleading or false claims on the site, but it took a pandemic for the microblogging giant to finally fact-check his tweets, reports Politico.

“The company had generally taken a hands-off approach to the president…partly because Twitter judged many of Trump’s tweets to fall into a gray area not covered by its rules banning specific behaviors like abuse or posting hateful content,” notes the report.

Twitter said that the pandemic had forced it to re-evaluate its approach “to these gray-area tweets” and label some of them as “dangerous”.

“Twitter has not yet defined what generally counts as offline harm, but in the case of coronavirus-related content, it has identified tweets like those that advocate protecting yourself from the virus using methods public health authorities say are ineffective. Now Twitter is applying a similar metric to non-coronavirus-related tweets by the president of the United States,” it adds.

What else we are reading

Big Tech goes on pandemic M&A spree despite political backlash: Financial Times 

Africa’s young and rural population may limit spread and severity of coronavirus, study says: South China Morning Post 

Why has Navajo Nation been hit so hard by the coronavirus?: Al Jazeera 

In Brazil’s shadow, laid-back Uruguay curbs COVID-19: Reuters

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  1. When will India Media grow up? I am and avid reader of this website but it always gets to me when you cite biased and agenda driven coverage of networks like CNN, BBC, NYT, Washington Post. Please stop.

    Twitter is a platform and not a publisher and therefore cannot do what it did. Read what article 230 is and what rights it has been given under the FCC. Trump was not fact checked. Rather his tweets were linked to articles from networks like CNN trying to contradict him (which has been their mainstay since he got elected). Look at the history of election fraud in the USA because of mail in ballot to understand what you are reporting. An incomplete report also leads to subjective conclusions for a reader who does not have the time to do the reasearch.

    I am no fan of trump but i follow domestic politics of major developed countries and research beyond the 4am talking points of the Mainstream media which is owned by 6 or 7 corporations in the USA.

    Now, you have cited another report on Russia from the BBC. Seriously? For how many years have they been selling lies and propoganda about Russia?….

    I can go on and on and on. Please stop. Some of your readers like me do extensive research to understand geopolitics, economics, culture etc etc. I avoid propoganda like the plague and have stopped getting 90% of my news from MSM in our country (just skimming through to keep myself abreast of news in general).

    Mr Gupta I have followed your work, read your articles in the Indian Express Editorials or wherever I had the chance. So, I was glad with The Print being launched. Please we are not fools. Dont give us quotations or citations from agenda driven news channels and reporters from the west. I know a single readers opinion wont matter much but this is my last appeal. After this, if you continue, I guess, will have to think of this news website as junk and move on.

  2. Adhanom Ghebreyesus, now director-general of the World Health Organization,has worked for Bill Gates Foundation,who donates to the WHO.One can imagine the vicious cycles of quid pro quo.Bill Gates reportedly demands Vaccines for the Corona Virus and reportedly claims that ONLY Vaccines can beat COVID-19.If one connects the dots,if Adhanom Ghebreyesus will have more credibility if his country counters COVID-19 better.This may be a propaganda piece though the clami may be true.It also makes one suspicious,whether the Virus is being distributed by vested Vaccine Fanatics,as COVID-19 Virus has been claimed to be man-made by many experts.This strongly suggests that vested interests [read Vaccine Fanatics ,Big Pharma and Software Cos ] are at play.]
    Please google for:-
    1.ID 2020
    2. Quantum Dot Tattoos
    3..Vaccine Alliances
    4. Adhanom Ghebreyesu worked for the Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation,GAVI etc

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