Roundup 211

New Events

Covid-19 Dashboard

… now: 12.2m (+1.5) cases, 550k deaths
… Largest places: North Africa 0.1m, Southern Africa 0.2m, South-central Asia 1.5m, Southeast Asia 0.1m, West Asia 0.8m, East Europe 0.9m, North Europe 0.4m, South Europe 0.6m, West Europe 0.6m, Central America 0.4m, South America 2.5m, North America 3.1m. All other regions, <0.1m.
… 7/3: over 10.7 (+1.0) million cases, 517k deaths
… 6/26: over 9.4 (+1.1) million cases, 483k deaths
… 6/19: over 8.3 (+0.8) million cases, 450k deaths
… 6/12: over 7.5 (+0.9m) million cases, 421k deaths
Trackers: Johns

N. Africa/Egypt-Sudan (266m)

North Africa is facing one of the worst droughts in years.
… Morocco’s economy to contract because of Covid, drought expenses

E. Africa/Horn (520m)

Ethiopia: Death toll from unrest following singer’s killing rises to 239.
… this is a significant issue – sparks in a powder box …

W. Africa/Nigeria-Sahel (457m)

The fight to prove Covid-19 is real as cases rise in Africa
… ‘In some countries, people don’t believe the pandemic is real’
… ‘The hospitals of Lagos tell a different story

But: Nigeria restarts domestic flights amid easing coronavirus restrictions.

W. Asia / Saudi-Iran (303m)

Thermometers in hand, Dubai opens for tourists.

South-central Asia (2.1b)

Afghanistan: ‘dramatic surge in security threats to control highways‘ …
… FP: ‘Resurgent Taliban bodes ill for Afghan peace

Italy bars entry to passengers from Bangladesh until October 5.
… bode ill for expatriate Bangladeshis wanting to return to work …

After re-opening, several Central Asian nations seeing resurgence in Covid cases:
… Kyrgyz hospitals swamped by Covid-19 cases.
… a lot of circumstantial evidence that deaths in Kyrgyzstan are undercounted.
… Uzbekistan has entered a second lockdown.
… Indicators of upsurge in Turkmenistan, too.

Central Asian migrants worst hit by coronavirus job losses in Russia
… 40% of CA migrant workers in Russia permanently laid off during quarantine is tracking cases to the state and district level.
… India has 794k confirmed cases, of which 277k are presently active.
… Covid cases in India are doubling every 28 days.
… (which means they are roughly 2 months behind the United States).
… There is a strict lockdown across nine districts in West Bengal.

Mumbai opens up four new field hospitals.

Loss of demand for idols, downturn in business for Idol makers in Rajasthan.

Last week: Pakistan’s capital to get its first Hindu temple complex
… ‘part of government outreach to minority Hindu community’ …

Now: government’s plan has sparked a predictable but deplorable backlash.
… over 8 million Hindus live in Pakistan, more than half the world’s countries
… ‘demographic has failed to construct a place of worship for itself for 73 years’

Pakistan’s army tightens its grip.

East Asia (1.6b)

United, American Airlines stop flights to Hong Kong
… after city ends Covid-19 testing exemption for crews
… due to rise of infections in Hong Kong

China, Hong Kong, national security law
… Changed overnight, navigates its new reality …
… GWU professor does an extensive look at the law.
… ‘It is asserting extraterritorial jurisdiction over every person on the planet’
… ‘If you’ve ever said anything that might offend the PRC, stay out of HK’
… New police powers to surveil lawyers a ‘major threat’
… The Great Firewall descends on HK internet users
… HK’ers want to leave Hong Kong; Taiwan is first choice.
… Exodus would damage office market already hit by unrest, virus
… HK security law is causing fear to rise in Taiwan …

Australia to offer Tiananmen-style visas to Hongkongers currently in Australia.
… halts extradition agreement, extends visas

US-China tensions continue to rise:
… US sanctions Chinese officials over mass detention of Muslims
… 2 carriers sent to South China Sea in show of force …

China has built a stranglehold over supplies of masks, gowns, test kits, and other medical equipment. Other factories around the world, set up during the time of Covid-19, will struggle to compete with China in the future. China’s control over this side of the industry could be a flashpoint in the future.

China’s schools in book cleansing drive
… removing books deemed politically incorrect …

As Dalai Lama turns 85, his lineage’s future is as uncertain as Tibet’s.

Possibly impacting some – Japan flooding deaths rise to 58
… ‘tens of thousands of troops, police officers, rescue workers’ mobilized …

‘Virus free’ North Korea fires health officials for quarantine failures
… Covid-19 spreading in three areas of country including capital …

Southeast Asia (700m)

Thailand’s hotel industry is entering a recovery phase.
… the government wants to encourage domestic tourism …
… the nation is still tepid on foreign tourists …
… the Tourism Authority expects an 80% plunge in foreign tourist arrivals.
… all of this will deeply impact Thailand’s economy …
… tourism accounts for 20% of GDP …

And, a long read on the struggle for political control in Thailand.
… provisional reports suggest 25% of Thais have lost their jobs …

Vietnam entrepreneur installing ‘free rice ATMs’ across the country to help those affected by Covid.

Bali, Indonesia holds mass prayers for re-opening.
… plans to gradually reopen to domestic tourists this month,
… and to foreigners in September.

Europe/North America (1,125m)

USA colleges brace for steep drop in international students this fall.
… new req: if intl’s are taking online-only (not in-person) classes, can’t stay.
… this will impact ministries that work with international students.
… Among others, would deport 369,000 Chinese students …
… a lot of money involved, since int’l students often pay full price for tuition
… so unsurprising that a variety of schools are vowing to protect students
… and that some schools are suing the Trump administration over it

Travel restrictions on Americans erode a sense of passport privilege.
… ‘Travelers from the United States are not welcome.’

650+ Covid cases linked to re-opened US religious facilities.
… a very small part of the overall pandemic; the headline is hyperbole.

Two Covid-19 ravaged churches take different recovery paths.
… but they shared a tragic fate: together losing 134 members …

The vulnerabilities of Somali communities with Covid-19 in Europe.
… several high-profile Somali deaths in London …
… ‘alarming number of Somalis either dead or in critical condition’ …

Melbourne, Australia returns 5 million people to 6-week lockdown after grappling with Covid resurgence.

New Data

In Syria, a grim trade-off between tackling pandemic and famine.
… ‘global economic downturn has exacerbated food shortages worldwide’
… ‘2020 could be one of the worst years on record for food insecurity’
… WFP doubles number it predicted will face hunger to 265 million

Oxfam warns hunger could kill millions more than Covid
… (but of course this is locked-down Covid. If Covid weren’t locked down, it could kill millions more than hunger. It’s a cruel trade-off without a significant anti-Covid effort.)

mSightly is a visualization tool with a Covid-19 hub. Very nice visualizations.

Great PDF from Financial Times helps identify which chart/visualization to use.

New Longreads

Adam Kucharski, ‘The Rules of Contagion: why things spread & why they stop.’
… Wired’s extended review.


Nearly everyone in the world connected via smartphones and mobile phones.
… But not all connections are equal.
… This infographic looks at the cost of 1GB of mobile data in every country.
… A look at Pakistan and the lack of internet access in much of the country.

Several tech companies are suspending processing HK requests for data
… after the new national security law, they’re trying to figure out their position
… FB, Google, TwitterTelegramZoom
… TikTok will pull out of HK because of security law
… Techcrunch: Tech industry ‘comes to grip with HK’s national security law’
… FP: ‘Is this the beginning of the end for Western tech in China?’
… Wired: ‘Security law puts big tech at a crossroads

Hong Kong downloads of Signal surge.

Companies using deepfake technology to create synthetic training videos.

United may furlough 36,000 staff starting October 1.
… bookings are just 16% of last year’s travel …

Drones light up Seoul night sky with coronavirus advice.
… just included for the wow factor …

Can our ballots be both secret and secure?
… an interesting longread on the math of encrypting votes yet allowing voters to ascertain their votes are counted. Unfortunately, since the mathematician in question works for Microsoft, I can just see the conspiracy theories now.

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