Health workers prepare to collect swab samples for COVID-19 tests, at an office in Kozhikode on 21 July 2020 | PTI
Health workers prepare to collect swab samples for COVID-19 tests | PTI
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New Delhi: The novel coronavirus caseload across the world is now more than 18 million cases with over 6.92 lakh deaths having been reported so far.

Health experts say the vaccine won’t immediately make the pandemic go away. Iran’s data leak reveals a cover-up in the number of deaths. Young Russians can’t stop partying, even as infections rise. And financial advisers are doing away with the 2008 playbook for their clients.

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

Vaccine won’t immediately change the world

As most governments and people around the world are pinning their hopes on a quick fix to the pandemic as soon as the vaccine arrives, health experts worry that these hopes might be running too high, reports The Washington Post.

“The confident depiction by politicians and companies that a vaccine is imminent and inevitable may give people unrealistic beliefs about how soon the world can return to normal — and even spark resistance to simple strategies that can tamp down transmission and save lives in the short term,” notes the report.

“The declaration that a vaccine has been shown safe and effective will be a beginning, not the end. Deploying the vaccine to people in the United States and around the world will test and strain distribution networks, the supply chain, public trust and global cooperation. It will take months or, more likely, years to reach enough people to make the world safe,” it adds.

Data leak reveals Iran’s ‘cover-up’ of Covid deaths

A data leak has revealed that the number of deaths caused by the novel coronavirus in Iran is nearly three times the number officially claimed by the government, finds an investigation by the BBC’s Persian Service.

“The government’s own records appear to show almost 42,000 people died with Covid-19 symptoms up to 20 July, versus 14,405 reported by its health ministry. The number of people known to be infected is also almost double official figures: 451,024 as opposed to 278,827,” says the report.

“The overall trend of cases and deaths in the leaked data is similar to official reports, albeit different in size. The initial rise of deaths is far steeper than Health Ministry figures and by mid-March it was five times the official figure,” it adds.

Iran, one of the worst-hit countries in the world, is currently facing a second wave of infections.

Philippines President apologises, reimposes quarantine

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has reimposed strict quarantine restrictions around Metropolitan Manila following four subsequent days of rise in coronavirus cases, reports The Straits Times.

“We’re doing our very best. Sorry, Manila,” said Duterte during a late evening broadcast on Sunday. “We don’t have money anymore. I cannot give food and money anymore to the people.”

On June 1, Duterte’s government lifted a sweeping lockdown, after which restrictions on all sections of the economy were gradually eased. But since then, cases have continued to rise.

“Since the lockdown was lifted, the country has recorded close to 75,000 cases. The Philippines, with its current rate of infections, is forecast to overtake Indonesia this week in terms of total cases, making it South-east Asia’s new epicentre of the pandemic,” says the report.

Philippines has reported more than 100,000 cases and 2,050 deaths so far.

State of disaster declared in Australia’s Victoria

The Australian state of Victoria — the epicentre of the second Covid wave in the country — has imposed a “state of disaster” following a big spike in cases, reports the BBC. The new rules will entail a night-time curfew and restrictions on residents’ ability to leave homes.

“Australia has been more successful than many other countries in tackling Covid-19, but cases are rising in Victoria. The state — Australia’s second most populous state — now accounts for many of the country’s new infections in recent weeks, prompting the return of lockdown restrictions in early July,” says the report.

Australia has over 17,000 cases and 718 deaths.

Ethiopian workers forced to return, fuelling an outbreak

Thousands of unemployed migrant workers are returning to Ethiopia, but many of them might be infected with Covid-19, putting more strain on a health system that is already struggling to meet its ends, reports The New York Times.

More than 30,000 workers, who had been working in the Persian Gulf and other parts of Africa, have returned since mid-March. While 927 of them are reported to be infected, experts think the actual number might be much higher.

“Doctors fear the outbreak may be primed to explode, fueled in part by returning migrants whose journeys often include crowded, unsanitary conditions — jails in the countries where they worked, informal migrant camps in countries like Yemen and Djibouti and quarantine centers once they arrive back in Ethiopia,” the report explains.

Currently, Ethiopia has reported more than 18,700 cases and 310 deaths.

Young Russians are partying

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow in Russia, the country’s youth has had enough and decided to start partying again, risking an even greater surge, reports The New York Times.

Many young Russians are going to bars, often sitting mere inches away from each other, and ignoring precautions such as masks and sanitisers. “Everyone just wants to get back to a normal life. Cocktails and masks don’t really go together,” said a bartender quoted in the report.

“Even restrictions that technically remain in force, like mandatory mask- and glove-wearing in the Moscow subway and on city buses, are mostly ignored. The authorities are making little effort to enforce them, though a few random people have been fined,” the report notes.

Financial advisers are no more using the 2008 playbook

As more and more Americans seek the services of registered financial advisers, the latter are increasingly departing from the playbook they used during the 2008 global financial crisis, reports the Financial Times.

“Randy Waesche, president and chief executive of advisory business Resource Management, draws a clear distinction between the pandemic and the financial crisis of more than a decade ago,” notes the report.

Other advisory firms such as Edelman Financial Engines are advising clients to temporarily cancel insurances on their cars, which have been lying idle for months now. They are also advising students to consider a gap-year or shift from more expensive schools to cheaper ones. Another recommendation is to “to hold cash reserves of 24 months’ spending rather than the previous guidance of three to 12 months,” explains the report.

Why the pandemic is shaking confidence in the US dollar

As the pandemic struck, it was predictable to see investors’ rapid move into the US dollar, considered the world’s safest asset. Soon, the currency saw its exchange rate rise by a massive 9 per cent — representing the scale of the crisis. But a few months on, the confidence in the US dollar is shrinking and the currency has undergone a major slide, reports the Financial Times.

“Such a sharp move in the dollar inevitably raises a series of questions that go to the heart of the global financial system and the unique role that the US currency plays,” says the report.

The long read looks at the causes and implications of this shaking confidence in the dollar.

What else we are reading:

White House steps back from Trump suggestion about delaying the election: The Washington Post

Is Turkmenistan really coronavirus-free?: Al Jazeera

Covid-19 outbreak hits Arctic expedition cruise: Financial Times

Less sex, more viewers: Pandemic boosts Mexico’s flagging telenovelas: New York Times

Tourism’s collapse could trigger next stage of the crisis: Financial Times

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