COVID-19 Around the World 4.9.20

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:


Ireland’s prime minister Leo Varadkar is embracing his medical degree and will start working weekly as a doctor. He may currently be a politician, but prior to holding office, Varadkar spent seven years as a doctor. With health professionals in short supply, the country’s health provider has called on all non-working healthcare professionals to “be on call for Ireland.” More than 50,000 have registered, including Varadkar who will do phone assessments of those who may have been exposed. Want to better understand modern Ireland in the crisis? Check out our Ireland edition. (TIME)

New Zealand

New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern is earning plaudits for her handling of the coronavirus outbreak. After just 102 confirmed cases, Ardern announced a Level 4 lockdown in which everyone but essential workers had to stay at home for four weeks. Just two weeks into these tough restrictions, including a surge in testing, it had recorded under 1,000 confirmed cases and just one death. (Esquire)


Tensions between Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe and Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike are beginning to mount. While Abe declared a state of emergency this week, the measures are almost entirely voluntary. Many businesses are hesitant to allow working from home, so commuters continue to crowd public transportation. Koike argues the requests for residents to stay home are not enough and wants to see further restrictions, especially on karaoke parlors and restaurants. While Japan has avoided the level of crisis that China, Europe and the US have been dealing with, a recent surge has put pressure on Abe to take more action. (Guardian)

Saudi Arabia

COVID-19 has come to Saudi Arabia’s ruling elite. Several dozen of its members of the royal family are said to be sick and the senior Saudi prince who is governor of Riyadh is in intensive care. The elite King Faisal Specialist Hospital is preparing as many as 500 beds “for an expected influx of other royals.” (New York Times)

South Africa

Fido has to find his exercise elsewhere—dog walking, among other recreational activities, has been banned in South Africa. With more than 1,700 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the country has the most in Africa, and on March 23, its president Cyril Ramaphosa ordered some of the strictest measures in the world to slow the spread. All South Africans except essential workers are confined to their homes for 21 days, with the exceptions for food-buying and emergencies. Furthermore, certain nonessential goods, including alcohol and tobacco, may no longer be sold in stores. (America Media)


See more Postcards from around the world




What Will it Look Like When You’re Old?

In March, researchers at the British Museum in London discovered the world’s oldest tattoo on an Egyptian mummy that had been housed in the building for more than a century. After infrared examination they discovered that what appeared as faint smudges on the man’s arm, were in fact tattoos of a huge wild bull and a goat. The researchers believe the 5,000-year-old images were to show strength and virility.