Roundup #203

New Events

Covid-19 Dashboard: over 3.7 million cases, 260k deaths 
… last week: over 3.1 million cases, 227k deaths 
… week before: >2.6M known cases, >186k known deaths 
Trackers: Johns HopkinsNYTCovidtracking.com

North Africa / Egypt / Sudan (266m)

Chad struggles to reintegrate former Boko Haram fighters – Link 
… by one estimate, over 2,200 former fighters 
… who will reach out to them?

SIM: Chad is not an easy location – Link

Egypt: extends nationwide night-time curfew through end of Ramadan – Link

East Africa / Horn / Ethiopia / Somalia (520m)

Locusts in East Africa: amazing Washington Post piece with photos, video This amazing piece from the Washington Post has photos, video of the locusts in E Africa – Link

Somali medics report rapid rise in deaths as Covid-19 fears grow – Link 
… “Concerns that official mortality counts in African countries are a big understatement”

West Africa / Nigeria / Sahel (457m)

Food insecurity in West Africa could leave 43 million at risk (10%) as virus hits – Link 
… 5.6 million internally displaced, 1.3 million refugees, 1.6 million stateless people

Most Africans “would go hungry in a 14-day lockdown” – Link 
… ⅔ surveyed in 20 African countries aid they would run out of food, water, money …

Nigeria reopens Lagos, Aubja as lockdowns phased out – Link 
… after more than 4 weeks of lockdowns 
… “24-hour stay-at-home order…, with exceptions only for food shopping or health…” 
… “will be lifted gradually over a 6-week period” – so that’s actually quite an extension 
… “despite rules banning groups of 20+, large groups often gathered, rules ignored 
…” 
… “however, most people on the streets wore face masks”

Burkina Faso: few masks in packed mosques as ban lifted – Link

South & Middle Africa (275m)

Zimbabwe extends nationwide lockdown for two more weeks – Link

South Africa: children face hunger as school closures halt free meals – Link

West Asia / Gulf / Saudi / Turkey / Iran / Iraq (303m)

Middle East: more than 320,000 coronavirus cases – Link

Syria: drones discover mass grave of ISIS victims – Link

Iran: Mosques and schools to re-open in low risk areas – Link 
… Cases jumped 50% to 100k three weeks after it began opening – Link

Iraq: economy collapsing under the double blow of sinking oil prices, covid lockdown – Link 
… Middle East economies take massive hit with oil price crash – Link

Yemen: medics braced for “unspeakable crisis” – Link

Saudis: form police unit to monitor lockdown of violations (because, well, Saudi) – Link

Central Asia / Caucasus (78m)

Tajikistan: plunges from denial to full-blown crisis – Link 
… “but suspicion that government is now trying to minimize the scale”

Uzbekistan: has “suspiciously rosy” accounts of a country on the mend – Link

Kazakhstan: implements state of emergency, bans all mass gatherings – Link

Azerbaijan: lockdown extended to May 31, but phasing in shop openings – Link

South Asia / Pakistan / India / Bangladesh (2,040m)

#Pakistan

Sewer cleaners wanted in Pakistan: only Christians need apply – Link 
… low-caste Hindus who converted to Christianity centuries ago still relegated to dirty jobs

Concern over migrant workers returning from UAE, possibly infected – Link 
… around 60k Pakistanis registered to return home from the UAE 
… some flights, between 12% and 50% are testing positive for Covid-19 …

“Dangerous capitulation to the religious right on the coronavirus” – Link 
… initially, the government said “no” to gathering in mosques during Ramadan 
… then they gave in and said “yes” but with guidelines 
… “everyone knows these guidelines are impractical… enforcement is essentially impossible…”

The tensions underlying Pakistan’s Ramadan decision – Link 
… the country has exempted Ramadan gatherings from its lockdown 
… “At a time when the world is experiencing an unparalleled level of anxiety and grief, the temptation to come together is strong, yet the risks in doing so are high. During a religious festival such as Ramadan, which centers around communal gatherings to eat, pray, and reflect, this isolation is even more pronounced.”

#Afghanistan

In rural areas, some Taliban gingerly welcome girls schools – Link 
… “many of the fighters’ own sisters and daughters are attending”

#India

Hate goes viral: anti-Muslim mudslinging reaches new heights – Link

Lockdown extended for another 2 weeks past May 4 – Link 
… “but considerable relaxations in lower-risk districts, green/orange zones”

As India loosens restrictions, virus deaths jump sharply – Link 
… “streets thronged with people” …

A second wave of migrants walking home has begun – Link

India airlifting home 400,000 stranded abroad – Link 
… returning from Middle East, Singapore, UK, USA, Maldives 
… migrant workers, students, business people

India: 122 million people are jobless – Link

#Bangladesh

Some restrictions eased, but lockdown extended to May 16 – Link 
… gradually opening factories, farms, logistics operations …

East Asia / China / Taiwan / Korea / Japan (1,677m)

#China China, US in ‘new Cold War’ as relations hit lowest ‘in more than 40 years’ – Link 
… might make it difficult for Americans, Westerners in general to go to China?

Coronavirus survivors want answers, and government is silencing them – Link 
… unsurprising. I don’t buy rumors that the virus began in a lab, but nonetheless I’m certain it began inside China and leaked out into the world. China’s government doesn’t want to deal with grieving relatives suing the government, or with reparations to the rest of the world. 
… but: internal Chinese report warns Beijing faces Tiananmen-like global backlash – Link

China plans to send Uighurs from Xinjiang camps to work in other parts of the country – Link 
… “job placement scheme delayed by Covid-19 outbreak”

#Japan Japan: navigates an extended national emergency – Link 
… state of emergency will stay provisionally in place until May 31

#Korea South Korea: “possible reinfections” feared were in fact false positives – Link 
… also, has gone >3 days with no new domestic cases – Link 
… how South Korea did it – Link 
… wearing masks, students go back to school – Link

North Korea: Well, he wasn’t dead. No signs of heart surgery, either – Link 
… From last week: A brief history of N Korean officials disappearing, and reappearing – Link

Philippines: Duterte shuts down ABS-CBN, nation’s largest news broadcaster – Link 
… “fears of full-fledged authoritarianism under Covid-19 emergency powers”

Southeast Asia (700m)

Indonesia has to deal with both Covid-19 AND dengue rising at same time – Link 
… “hospitals outside of Java could be overwhelmed” due to the combination

Malaysia detains hundreds of refugees, migrants during virus lockdown – Link

Europe / North America (1,125m)

UK: tech firms in talks to create health passports to help British return to work – Link 
… using coronavirus testing and facial recognition to provide “immunity passport” 
… “proposals have reached pilot stages in other countries”…

Russia: virus cases still rising rapidly – Link 
… 250,000 – or just 2% of Moscow – has the virus, according to tests – Link

Germany: churches reopen, but no singing allowed – Link

France: imposes 14-day quarantine for travellers – Link 
… this is already common, and I expect it to remain so for the foreseeable future 
… quarantines like this will be one of the factors decimating the short-term mission trip

USA: churches consider the issue sin re-opening worship services – Link 
.. Christianity Today suggests a plan you can use – Link

New Data

Battered global tourism industry “won’t resume normal pace until 2023” – Link 
… (see also the article below on short-term mission trips) 
… “it takes time to shake fear from the hearts of people” 
… Global tourist arrivals likely to fall 30% this year from 2019’s record 1.5 billion 
… Airlines have grounded ⅔ of their planes 
… 8 million tourism-related workers are jobless right now in the US alone (⅓ of jobless)

COVID-19: The CIDRAP Viewpoint – PDF 
… Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy 
… “Outbreak will likely last 18 to 24 months 
… likely won’t be halted until 60% to 70% are immune”

Virus could kill up to 190,000 in Africa in first year if not contained – Link 
… infecting between 29 and 44 million. WHO study covered 47 countries, excluding Egypt/Sudan/etc.

New Longreads

“The stability of the global food system relies on immigrants” – Link 
… more than 50% of the agricultural workforce is comprised of undocumented immigrants 
… shortage of migrant workers in UK with not enough British working in fields = food left to rot

“As world comes to halt amid pandemic, so do migrants” – Link 
… “many returning to their home countries”

What global travel may look like ahead of a vaccine – Link 
… full-body disinfection devices that spray skin and clothing, sanitizing in 40 seconds 
… autonomous cleaning robots zapping microbes with ultraviolet light – Link 
… sanitized planes, everyone wearing masks 
… middle seats left unbooked

Another version of travel + immunity passports = travel bubbles – Link 
… travel bubbles could also determine where mission trips / recruiting can be done

I’ve been thinking out loud about the impact on Covid-19 on short term trips for some weeks. David Roach wrote up a good analysis in CT. As Roach points out, it’s not just the practical work of the trip – it’s also the long-term impact on donations (often engendered by the memory of the trip, like alumni from colleges) as well as the impact on long-term mission recruitment (many long-termers shaped by their formative short-term experiences). Link

A new study suggests rising heat will raise the number of days where farm workers are exposed to temperatures that exceed safety standards. Right now, the average agricultural worker has 21 days of extreme heat. By 2050, that could rise to 39. We’re already seeing lots of excessive-heat days in countries where the least-evangelized live. We’ll only see more of them in the near future. Link

Finding the vaccine is only the first step. Billions of doses will have to be distributed worldwide. Link

New Technology

Not just Zoom: Google Meet, MS Teams, Webex have privacy issues too – Link 
… my big thing: Zoom was building encryption keys through China. The others don’t do that.

China’s “color codes” and life after Covid-19 – Link 
… this is another form of “immunity passports” 
… Covid-19 QR code surveillance state: system controls entry/exit to neighborhoods, taxis – Link

India’s Covid-19 app fuels worries over authoritarianism, surveillance – Link

Cellphone monitoring is spreading with the coronavirus; so is an uneasy tolerance of surveillance – Link

Uber developing tech to ensure drivers wear face masks – Link 
… face masks mandatory for drivers, passengers alike …

What Apple & Google want coronavirus contact-tracing apps to look like – Link 
… Apple, Google cooperating on an API, not on the apps themselves 
… Apps will not be allowed to track your location or advertise to you

Coronavirus-fighting smart glasses can “see” your temperature – Link

Warren Buffet sold all his shares in US airlines – Link

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