COVID-19 Around the World 5.7.20

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:


Although regular lessons are postponed until September,  Italian students graduating high school will still take their final-year exam this June. This final-year test has its own folklore in Italy. It’s known as Maturità (Maturity) and has inspired songs and movies that chart the coming-of-age tradition from youth to adulthood. This year, instead of a written test they’ll take an hour-long oral exam, with social distancing practices in place.  (Monocle)


Social distancing is almost impossible in a tent, and while so far there have been no COVID-19 cases among the Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon, aid organizations predict a crisis if an outbreak should occur. Doctors Without Borders has set up health centers but most Syrians fear they could run into legal trouble if they go without valid residency permits or other valuable documents. Other organizations are informing Syrians via WhatsApp and passing out hygiene kits for families. (DW)


Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has dismissed fears of the pandemic as a global “psychosis,” and despite 17,489 cases and more than 100 deaths, has refused to shut down his country’s economy, claiming the economic recovery would be too painful. Lukashenko hasn’t been tested for COVID-19 himself because, according to his spokesperson, “there’s no need for that.” What’s more, despite one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in Europe, Belarus refused to cancel its annual military parade this week. (Moscow Times)


Bus drivers and fruit-packers in Argentina have walked out due to what they believe are unsafe conditions due to the coronavirus. Migrant fruit pickers, accompanied by their unions and human rights organizations, have denounced employers and local governments for not providing them transport to return home after the end of the harvest—highlighting a dispute about what sectors should be considered “essential” during a pandemic. (Labor Notes)


See more Postcards from around the world




Voting With Your Feet

In the Lower Dibang Valley district of Arunachal Pradesh, the northeastern-most state of India, election pollsters have to walk between 6 and 28 miles to conduct polls at the district’s nine polling stations. According to Chawm Ganguly, a communications strategist in India, “Such is the effort put in by the administration to enable every eligible elector to exercise his/her democratic right to vote.”