Welcome to your guide to where the world is headed during the pandemic era and beyond. Each week, we’ll bring you the latest and most significant expert insights and international news about how coronavirus is reshaping international affairs. To stay updated each week, sign up to the newsletter here.
Let’s take a spin around the globe, in seven minutes or less.
For many people, remote work has become a central part of their pandemic experience. But as the BBC chronicles, that freedom isn’t available to everybody. Outbreaks of COVID-19 infections have been attributed to inadequate sick-leave provisions for in-person workers in countries such as Canada and the United States, while employees worldwide—from garment workers in Asia to young people in Latin America and the Caribbean—are grappling with escalating unemployment rates.
For those fortunate enough to still have a job but without the luxury of doing it from home, new technology has stepped into the breach—perhaps foreshadowing how workplaces could be transformed when more people return to the office as the pandemic ebbs. In settings such as the BBC’s offices in the United Kingdom and CERN’s physics lab on the Swiss-French border, a warning buzzer goes off when colleagues get closer than six feet apart from each other. Meanwhile, in the United States, NBA players and staff are wearing wrist sensors to enforce social distancing. In Europe, workplaces from banks to warehouses, airports, and factories are experimenting with “fever-testing thermal cameras, mask-detection systems, and tracking software,” colliding with the premium that many in the region place on privacy, Bloomberg reports.
In the United States, meanwhile, the infectious-diseases expert Anthony Fauci sees “some little glimmer” of hope as the vaccine rollout gradually builds momentum there. Indonesia, the world’s fourth-largest country by population, will soon start mass inoculations. In Europe, where vaccines have been slow to get into arms in Germany, the Netherlands, and France, regulators have approved Moderna’s vaccine—as has the health ministry in Israel, among the many countries to set tough new restrictions on movement as infections increase. And while it’s certainly in a league apart from the world’s larger countries, the tiny island nation of Palau may be poised for a big achievement: becoming one of the world’s first to inoculate its entire population.
Many people are pining for a return to the office once the pandemic allows—with some going so far as engaging in pretend commutes in an attempt to separate work and leisure time. But the transformations in the nature of work that have occurred while they’ve been out of the office underscore a reality that we may only now be facing up to: There likely won’t be a return to a pre-pandemic normal.
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Insights from across the planet, in ten bullets or fewer
Insights from the Atlantic Council
Nearly every G20 country is deploying its fiscal firepower significantly more during the pandemic than during the Global Financial Crisis, but China is spending less. With its new fiscal package, the United States has the largest response of any advanced economy.
COVID-19 has produced economic, tourism, and governance fallout throughout the region. Here’s how South Asia is planning a path out of these challenges, including vaccine distribution, in 2021.
Fringe influencers in Latvia are peddling conspiracy theories and other disinformation to encourage protests against government-imposed measures including mask-wearing and physical distancing to combat the pandemic.
- Mexico suffers worst week of pandemic [https://manilastandard.net/news/coronavirus-2019/344509/mexico-suffers-worst-week-of-pandemic.html]
- Israel to start vaccinating citizens aged 45+ Sunday [https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-to-start-vaccinating-citizens-aged-45-sunday/]
- Philippines extends travel ban over new virus strain Coronavirus outbreak latest: Jan. 15, 2021 [https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2021/01/614b1eee80b4-philippines-extends-travel-ban-over-new-virus-strain.html]
- China puts 20,000 villagers in central quarantine over virus risk [https://www.rfi.fr/en/china-puts-20-000-villagers-in-central-quarantine-over-virus-risk]
- Global death toll nears 2 million as WHO battles new virus strains [https://www.rfi.fr/en/global-death-toll-nears-2-million-as-who-battles-new-virus-strains]
- Covid-19: Global death toll nears 2 million as WHO battles new virus strains [https://www.news24.com/news24/World/News/covid-19-global-death-toll-nears-2-million-as-who-battles-new-virus-strains-20210115]
- The Latest: David Kessler tapped for vaccine rollout [https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2021/01/15/the-latest-nepal-seeks-early-supply-of-vaccines-from-india.html]