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Trump says polls no referendum, Bangladesh worst-hit S Asian nation & other global 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: With over 2,28,000 deaths and over 32,39,000 people infected, the novel coronavirus continues its surge across the world.

The US is one of the worst-affected countries by the pandemic and now even the country’s economy has registered its sharpest fall since the 2008 economic crisis. Despite this, President Donald Trump is confident that the presidential elections this year will not be a referendum on his response to the Covid-19 crisis.

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

US economy registers sharpest fall since 2008 crisis

The recent economic data coming out of US spells doom for the country’s economy. The US economy’s gross domestic product (GDP) has contracted by a staggering 4.8 per cent annualised rate in the first quarter of year, reports The Financial Times.

The newspaper reports that this is the sharpest fall in the US GDP since the global financial crisis in 2008, when the economy had contracted by 8.4 per cent. Behind the recent lockdown-fueled economic contraction is a sharp fall in US’ personal consumption — which declined by 7.6 per cent — the sharpest drop since 1980.


Also read: Hit by Covid-19, China’s auto sector adopts novel ways to attract customers


Trump says election will not be a referendum on his Covid-19 response 

During an interview with Reuters, US President Donald Trump has said that the upcoming presidential elections in November will not be a test of his response to the pandemic.
“No, I don’t think so. I think it’s a referendum on a lot of things. I think it’s going to be a referendum on all the things we’ve done and certainly this will be a part of it, but we’ve done a great job,” Trump said.

Australians put aside surveillance issues and sign up for government’s coronavirus app

Within just the first three days of its launch, three million Australians signed up for a new tracking app released by the government, reports the Washington Post.

The Australian government released a smartphone application COVIDSafe to track coronavirus cases Sunday and in 24 hours, more than a million people had downloaded it. The app is aimed at arresting the spread of Covid-19 by tracking millions of citizens using their cell phones.

“The program is designed to track people who come into contact with an infected person so that potential carriers can be identified and isolated,” notes the report.

The rise of such tracking apps have severely heightened fears of surveillance by the state after the coronavirus crisis is over. Many countries around the world — often in collaboration with tech giants — have launched similar apps, including India.


Also read: China’s virus response shows it’ll do anything to see me lose elections, Trump says


Covid-19: Bangladesh worst-hit country in South Asia

A new report by the Dhaka Tribune states that Bangladesh is the worst-hit South Asian country by the novel coronavirus pandemic. According to the analysis by Bangladesh’s daily, the country fared the worst when it came to death tolls, positive cases and recovery rates.

“Bangladesh recorded the highest number of deaths and the lowest recovery rate in a span of 53 days after it confirmed the first coronavirus positive case in the country….” notes the report.

The country’s recovery rate has been especially worrying. “Bangladesh confirmed a total of 7,103 cases as of April 29, having only 150 cases of recovery,” it adds.

Currently at 2.11 per cent, Bangladesh has the worst recovery rate in all of South Asia.

Italy inches towards the second phase of the crisis

Italy has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic with over 2 lakh cases and more than 27,500 deaths.

As Italy recovers from such a large number of deaths, the country is slowly inching towards the next phase of the crisis — economic recovery. A new report in the German magazine Der Spiegel paints a disturbing picture of the economic impact of the pandemic in the country.

“Beneath the surface, a more disturbing picture is emerging. Two months after the outbreak of the pandemic, government support is getting to Italians painfully slowly — or not at all. Countless people have lost their jobs, a huge number are having to get by on food stamps and companies are going under,” it notes.

“Across the country, people are beginning to wonder why so little of the billions in aid money is trickling down to them,” the report adds.


Also read: UN study predicts 7 million unplanned pregnancies during Covid-19 crisis


South Korea reports zero local infections

In a major development, the South Korean authorities announced that for the first time since the outbreak, there were no new local positive cases registered in the country, reports BBC. The country reported four cases Wednesday but all of them were imported.

“It’s a major milestone for the country, which had been among the worst affected by Covid-19,” notes BBC.

Since the outbreak in South Korea, the government’s response to the pandemic has been lauded as the most effective in the world. The country’s strategy of “trace, test, and treat” has been replicated by many countries across the world.

South Korea, one of the first countries to be hit by the pandemic, has a total of 10,765 cases and 247 deaths.

Globalisation recedes for the first time since the Second World War

A new analysis by US’ Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) shows that globalisation has been in retreat for the first time since the end of the second world war. According to the report, the coronavirus pandemic is further exacerbating that trend like never before.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is driving the world economy to retreat from global economic integration. Policymakers and business leaders are now questioning whether global supply chains have been stretched too far. In an environment where alliances are uncertain and international cooperation is absent, they are also asking whether they should reduce their economic interdependence,” writes economist Douglas Irwin, fellow at PIIE.

Meanwhile, a report by the French daily Le Monde looks at how the recent pandemic has reversed the trend of hyper-globalisation and marked the “return of the state” to save global economies.


Also read: Surveillance state the new reality, Trump’s China hawk & other global Covid news


What is the future of fashion?

A new series by the Financial Times looks at how global fashion brands can survive and flourish in the post-pandemic world, which would be marked by norms of social distancing.

“No question, the Covid-19 pandemic has ushered in a reckoning for the £2.2tn fashion and luxury industries — much of it around sustainability (and fashion’s lack thereof). What will emerge? Could a more responsible sector — one less damaging to the environment, that goes further to ensure the welfare of its workforce — materialise in its wake?” asks the report.

What else we are reading:

Timeline: Trump’s 100 days of deadly coronavirus denial: Mother Jones

Highest number of virus deaths in a single day in Pakistan: Dawn

In a sign the virus is contained, China schedules big political meetings for late May: Washington Post

Malawi’s high court blocked its coronavirus lockdown in a bid to protect the poor:Quartz

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