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UK tourists flee Swiss ski resort, how tiny Timor-Leste kept virus at bay & 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 countries across the world — the latest count being over 8.1 crore cases and more than 17 lakh deaths.

Over 400 British tourists fled a Swiss ski resort flouting an order to mandatorily self-isolate. British hospitals cancel non-urgent procedures as hospitalisations increase. And how one of Asia’s poorest countries has managed to keep coronavirus at bay.

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

Hundreds of Britons flee Swiss ski resort after quarantine order

Despite the order to self-isolate, over 400 British tourists have fled a Swiss ski resort in the Alpine village of Verbier, reports The Guardian.

A mandatory quarantine had been imposed on the tourists over concerns of the new coronavirus variant being transmitted.

The report quotes Swiss health minister, Alain Berset, who said, “We are aware of that. It’s obviously a problem. There was an order to quarantine that has not been respected.”

Some of the tourists also seemed to have ignored UK government advisory to not travel abroad that was announced as a part of the new restrictions.

Switzerland has reported 4,38,284 cases and 7,362 deaths.

British hospitals scramble for space as virus cases soar

With increasing Covid-19 hospitalisations, British hospitals are cancelling non-urgent procedures, reports Associated Press.

As many as 21,286 people were hospitalised on 22 December alone across the country. The report quotes Dr Katherine Henderson, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, as describing her experience of working on Christmas Day as “wall-to-wall Covid”.

Meanwhile, for the first time Monday, the number of daily cases crossed the 40,000-mark.

“British authorities are blaming a new variant of the coronavirus for soaring infection rates in London and southeast England,” the report notes.

It quotes the immediate past president of the Society for Acute Medicine, Dr Nick Scriven, as saying, “With the numbers approaching the peaks from April, systems will again be stretched to the limit”.

UK has reported 23,29,730 cases and 71,109 deaths.

How tiny Timor-Leste kept the coronavirus at bay

One of the poorest countries in Asia with a “creaky healthcare”, Timor-Leste has managed to keep coronavirus at bay, reports Al Jazeera.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the country had the “second-smallest outbreak in Southeast Asia after Laos”.

“Experts credit the government’s swift action, imposing strict border controls and ramping up testing and healthcare facilities within weeks, as well as its willingness to work with experts for the relative success of its response,” the report highlights.

It also quotes World Health Organization’s Michael Ryan as saying, “It is very heartening that countries with very fragile infrastructure that are still continuing to emerge as nations, still require a lot of external support can demonstrate that they can get reasonable control upon a devastating disease like Covid”.

Timor-Leste has reported 44 cases and 0 deaths.

Asia-Pacific countries cautiously prepare for vaccine roll out

Authorities across Asia Pacific countries are making “cautious preparations” for the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccine, reports South China Morning Post.

The report highlights that timetables of the roll out in countries including the Philippines, Japan and India range “from several weeks to the latter half of next year”.

“In Japan, where immunisations are not expected to begin until late February, the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency has stressed the need to collect data on Japanese subjects instead of just relying on the results of trials overseas,” the report states.

Australia too has taken a “front-row seat” in watching the vaccine roll out in UK and US while it ruled out emergency authorisation.

The report also quotes John Siu Lun Tam of Hong Kong Polytechnic University who said, “Anti-vaccination sentiments will likely be minor, particularly in Asia, given the disruption of work and life by Covid-19 has been enormous worldwide”.

The Philippines has recorded 4,70,650 cases and 9,124 deaths. Australia has recorded 28,348 cases and 909 deaths. Japan has recorded 2,20,236 cases and 3,252 deaths.

Almost half of Brazil’s workers ‘inactive’

The number of “inactive” Brazilians, meaning, those without jobs and not currently looking for one, has exceeded the 40 per cent mark, reports Folha De S. Paulo.

“The highest index was spotted in the quarters that finished in July and August when the indicator reached 45.3 per cent — the historical average being 38.9 per cent,” the report said.

The report is based on a study by Hélio Zylberstajn, FEA-USP professor and coordinator of the Fipe’s Salariômetro Project.

It quotes Hélio Zylberstajn who said that the labour market suffered a huge blow “due to the restrictive circulation measures”.

Brazil has reported 75,06,890 cases and 1,91,641 deaths.

What else we are reading:

For Covid-19 vaccines, some are too rich — and too poor: The New York Times

As Covid vaccine program gets started in Spain, what happens next?: El País

Also read: Europe rushes to boost Covid vaccine output as it looks to exit pandemic quickly


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