COVID-19 Around the World 6.11.20

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:



Traditional storytellers in Chad, in north-central Africa, are delivering health messages about the coronavirus to remote communities in the Sahel. Known as “troubadours”—a medieval French term for wandering singers and poets—they usually deliver information to areas with limited or non-existent access to TV or radio on donkeys, horses or camels. Now they’ll be taking along advice on how to stay safe and stop the spread of COVID-19. (UN)


Sweden’s state epidemiologist, who has spearheaded a response to COVID-19 out of step with a lot of countries, has admitted his approach was flawed. Under Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s softer lockdown has resulted in one of the world’s highest death rates, relative to its population. (Bloomberg)


Colombia’s health workers are protesting after they said the government has failed to make almost 90 percent of the promised investments to confront a projected peak in COVID-19 infections. Bogota is running out of intensive care units and healthcare in other parts of the country has all but collapsed. The government’s failure to keep promises, they say, triggered mass resignations in hospitals throughout the country. It’s not the first time health workers there have taken to the streets. At the end of April they demanded more PPE and safer working conditions and claimed they faced facing discrimination from people who believed they were carriers of COVID-19. (Colombia Reports)


Pierre Nkurunziza, president of Burundi, has died of suspected Covid-19. While the 55 year old’s cause of death was said by government officials to be a heart attack, unconfirmed reports said his wife was flown to Kenya 10 days before after contracting Covid-19. Nkurunziza had refused to impose restrictions in Burundi to address the spread of the coronavirus, including allowing sporting events and mass political rallies to go ahead. (The Guardian)


See more Features from around the world



North America

A Tale of Two Sandwiches

In the 1970s a large population of Vietnamese refugees, fleeing the war, relocated to southern Louisiana. There were a lot of parallels between the home they left behind and their new one. Many Vietnamese immigrants found work in the fishing and shrimping industries similar to what they had done before, they joined the many Catholic churches around New Orleans, and like other New Orleanians they made amazing food—especially sandwiches. Both the bánh mì sandwich and the po’ boy were originally conceived as quick, easy meals for hardworking people with little money—in fact, this is where the po’ boy gets its name. Over time, the two delicious meals began to merge and now “Vietnamese Po’ Boy” variations are popping up all over the city: pickled veggies added to a fried shrimp po’ boy; lettuce, mayo and pickles on Vietnamese marinated pork. Anything is possible with this new food combination, as the flavors of Saigon and Hanoi get absorbed into the already fascinating food culture of New Orleans.