COVID-19 Around the World 4.16.20

by Stranger’s Guide

Each week, we’re taking a look at how COVID-19 is impacting life around the world. Here is our roundup:


Papua New Guinea

The World Bank has approved an emergency US$20 million project for Papua New Guinea to provide rapid support the country’s response to COVID-19. This comes at a time when nurses in the South Pacific island nation have been forced to use rice packets as gloves and laundry detergent as disinfectant—a sign that health workers in the country say shows its health system is broken. (Guardian)


While Peru is only in its initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations Development Program is focused on its indigenous population, some of which live in isolation or have had minimal contact with the outside world. Some 55 indigenous people have already tested positive for the coronavirus, and as a result The Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon has shut off entry to the indigenous communities in question to non-residents to help control its spread. (UNDP)


The hard-won lessons from Ebola are helping Uganda better combat COVID-19, including adapting screening measures at borders and airports. It’s also employed contact tracing after several infected people from the United Arab Emirates entered the country. But Uganda’s attempts to address the coronavirus have also been getting publicity for other reasons—from the bizarre (its 75-year-old president Yoweri Musevini released a home workout video to encourage his people to exercise at home); to the disturbing (police threatened to whip people jogging in groups). (NBC)


Motivated by hunger, garment workers in Myanmar have been striking after 25,000 of them from more than 40 different factories lost their jobs because of the coronavirus. The mainly female employees had requested owners close the factories and offer paid leave. When they declined, the workers staged a sit-in, wrapping red bands around their heads “to show how red our blood is with rage.” (The Diplomat)


It wasn’t long after China suspended all climbing expeditions from the Tibetan side of Mt. Everest due to COVID-19 that its neighbor Nepal followed suit. But while its vulnerable population and fragile medical system means that banning tourists and travel may be the safest option, an estimated million livelihoods could be hit. There is an upside: the government says leaving Everest’s slopes empty will give the fragile environment the time to ‘detox’. The last couple of climbing seasons have seen record numbers of climbers attempt the summit; those that see the positive side of the ban say the mountain will see a reduction in traffic, trash and human waste. (inews)


See more Postcards from around the world




Rainforest Disappearance

The destruction of rainforests—which cover just six percent of the Earth’s surface—is not only eradicating vital habitat for half the earth’s species, some of which will go extinct, but it’s also threatening the forests’ botanical treasures, too. Some of the drugs derived from rainforest plants include Quinine from the cinchona tree, used to treat malaria; Novocaine and its successor Lidocaine, local anesthetics from the coca plant; Cortisone, derived from wild yams, and Diosgenin, an active ingredient in birth control pills; and Turbocuarine, a muscle relaxant used in surgery and to treat disorders like Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis, taken from a variety of plants as an extract known as curare, which also was used for arrow poisons. These drugs largely have been replaced by synthetic drugs, but all were inspired by rainforest plants.