COVID-19 Around the World 5.14.20

by Stranger’s Guide

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


In Manila, just one doctor is responsible for a staggering 45,000 inmates across 47 prisons. That’s according to research by Tobias Brandner, a prison chaplain and professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. And Brandner and other experts argue the situation in the Philippines is just one example illustrating how COVID-19 is could create a massive crisis acrossAsia’s cramped, underfunded prisons. (South China Morning Post)

Navajo Nation

The Navajo Nation has the highest per-capita COVID-19 infection rate after New York and New Jersey, but with a fraction of the resources. The Native American tribe whose territory encompasses 27,000 sq miles of southwestern Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, has 2,757 confirmed cases and 88 confirmed deaths. The actual number of fatalities is likely to be much higher. The Navajo Nation was among the first places to lockdown in the US, making the considerable death toll all the more frustrating.  (The Guardian)


Small island nations in the South Pacific, like Vanuatu, face a difficult dilemma: reopen to tourists—the lifeblood of their economy—or remain locked down and spared the wrath of COVID-19. After closing their borders early on in the pandemic, about a dozen Pacific island nations remain virus free. But the economic toll has been huge—in Vanuatu 70 percent of tourism jobs have disappeared. The tradeoff in the South Pacific could be starker than anywhere else on Earth. (Bangkok Post)


Around 660,000 Swiss people—roughly 8 percent of the population—live in poverty. And as thousands of people in Geneva lined up for free food, given out by a charity helping out during the coronavirus pandemic, it brought into sharp focus the usually invisible poor in one of the world’s most expensive cities. (The Straits Times)


See more Postcards from around the world




The Underground Great Wall

Built in the 1970s as a bomb shelter, the underground city of Dixia Cheng in Beijing, China, is often referred to as the Underground Great Wall on account of its numerous tunnels. When it was constructed it apparently boasted schools, hospitals, and sleeping halls. But it has never needed to be used and in 2000, it was opened to the public for tours. Guided visits didn’t last long, however. Since 2008 a notice by the entrance at Xidamochang Jie has read that the complex is closed for renovations following a safety inspection.