New Delhi: The novel coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate countries across the world — the latest count is more than 2.35 crore cases and more than 8.12 lakh deaths.
Several US states’ pandemic response has been derailed by extreme weather. In Latin America, the Covid story is intensely political. Several European countries are getting rattled with a dramatic surge in cases after co trolling the pandemic once. Meanwhile, China accounts for most of the world’s coronavirus protective gear.
ThePrint brings you the most important global stories on the coronavirus pandemic and why they matter.
Extreme weather threatens pandemic response in key US states
Two storms are expected to hit the US’ Gulf Coast this week, potentially derailing the pandemic response in several hard-hit states, reports The Washington Post.
“The most recent forecast by the National Hurricane Center showed the storms, Marco and Laura, headed for coastal Louisiana and eastern Texas and expected to make landfall on Monday and Wednesday, respectively,” says the report.
Louisiana officials have urged residents to use masks, sanitisers and other preventive measures, and Texas has issued a “state disaster declaration”.
“California is facing a similar crisis, with some of the largest wildfires in the state’s history raging around the Bay Area. Residents are packing into shelters, virus testing centers have been forced to close, and teams of prisoners who typically help fight the blazes are not available after the inmates were released because of the virus, which has infected more than 650,000 people in the state,” adds the report.
America needs compromise on relief package
The US President Donald Trump and House of Representative Democrats should end their deadlock and reach a compromise on the second economic relief package for a battered US economy, argues an editorial in the Washington Post.
“The country has already waited too long. A wide consensus among economists and business leaders recognizes that the U.S. government not only can afford to extend additional large-scale aid but cannot afford not to,” notes the editorial. “Yet Republicans and Democrats are far apart on how much money to provide. The Republican Senate put forth a $1.1 trillion proposal, after the Democratic House offered a $3.4 trillion plan.”
“Democrats insist on far more in aid to state and local governments than Republicans are willing to accept. Democrats also want to continue a $600 supplemental unemployment benefit that Republicans would renew only at a lower amount. Republicans are also resisting additional funds to help states carry out the November election safely,” it adds.
Also read: Making America comfortable again — Why Trump can win in November
In Latin America, pandemic is an ‘intensely political story’
Over six months into the pandemic, Latin America has emerged as one of the worst-hit areas, and the story of its management of the crisis is more political than most would have expected, reflects The Guardian’s regional correspondent Tom Phillips.
“Coronavirus has proved an intensely political story, as well as a humanitarian one, and perhaps nowhere more so than Brazil. From day one, Bolsonaro has played down the epidemic, sparking international outrage, domestic protest and even accusations that he was promoting a genocide,” he writes.
He adds, “As a reporter, covering the political bedlam has been exhausting and perplexing — a ceaseless deluge of fake news and fury. As the father of a young Brazilian as well as British citizen, it has been profoundly dispiriting. What hope for Santi’s South American homeland when its top leader sees tens of thousands of citizens lose their lives and shrugs: ‘We’ll all die one day‘?”
Raid on Peru’s illegal nightclub party kills 13
At least 13 people died in Peru trying to escape a nightclub following a police raid on an party that was flouting pandemic regulations, reports the BBC.
“The crush happened as revellers tried to leave the Thomas Restobar Club in Lima’s Los Olivos district. Some eyewitnesses said tear gas was used. President Martín Vizcarra said 15 of 23 revellers arrested had tested positive for the coronavirus,” says the report.
“Peru has been among the Latin American countries hardest hit by Covid-19. It has recorded more than 576,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 27,000 fatalities,” it adds.
Europe rattled by rise in cases
A sharp rises in coronavirus cases across several European countries is presenting the continents’ governments with a unique dilemma: how to avoid unpopular lockdowns and a rise in cases and deaths at the same time, reports the Financial Times.
“Before the latest upsurge, strict national lockdowns in the spring sharply reduced the spread of Covid-19 in Europe. But in Spain in particular the virus is now returning rapidly, with 8,000 new infections reported on Friday alone,” notes the report. “(But) Spain is not alone. On Saturday, Germany recorded its highest daily infection rate since April, with 2,034 new cases.”
“France has also reported a rapid rise in the number of those testing positive, announcing more than 4,000 new cases on both Thursday and Friday, the highest daily totals since the easing of the country’s lockdown in mid-May,” it adds.
Similarly, Italy also saw 947 fresh cases on Friday and Greece 269 on Thursday.
Also read: Putin critic Alexei Navalny’s blood, urine tests show no traces of poison, says doctor
Russia miffed by world’s cold response to its vaccine
When Russia claimed successful testing of a coronavirus vaccine, its policymakers expected the world to applaud its achievement — instead, the cold global response has left its leaders miffed, reports The New York Times.
“Rather than taking a bow for saving the world with their vaccine, which they call Sputnik V, Russian health officials have found themselves on the defensive,” says the report.
“If we wanted to take the chance of hurting a lot of people or giving them something that doesn’t work, we could start doing this, you know, next week if we wanted to,” said Dr Anthony Fauci, the US’ top infectious diseases official.
Surge in global dependence on Chinese protective gear
As the pandemic affects all corners of the world, the reliance on Chinese protective gear has shot up radically, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
“China supplied 83% of the four major types of PPE that medical staff wear to prevent infections — masks, gowns, protective clothing and glasses — in terms of import value in May, according to the latest United Nations trade statistics. The figure grew sharply from 59% in January,” says the report. “Global trade in medical masks used by doctors and nurses grew from $900 million in January to $9.2 billion in May.”
Australian’s compare travel bans to ‘prison diktats’
In Australia, the anger against government’s travel bans has been surging, and now citizens are comparing them to “state prison diktats”, reports the Financial Times.
“Apart from banning residents and citizens from leaving the country, the conservative government has closed its borders to non-residents and implemented caps of 4,000 passengers on the number of expats permitted to return each week,” says the report. Only a third of the travel applications have been approved by the government since 25 March.
“When I came to Australia from the UK about 20 years ago it was all about freedom. Now some people are comparing the country to North Korea,” said Jacqui Cameron, an Australian travel agent.
What else we are reading:
In China, where the pandemic began, life is starting to look … normal: The New York Times
How South Korea’s evangelical churches found themselves at the heart of the Covid crisis: The Guardian
As politicians clashed, Bolivia’s pandemic death rate soared: The New York Times
Americans go back to the movies despite continuing pandemic: Financial Times
Also read: Is China running out of food? Xi Jinping’s ‘Clean Plates Campaign’ is causing rare anxiety