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COVID on a cruise to nowhere; Philippines won’t cane social distance violators

A look at how COVID-19 is impacting life around the world.

by Stranger’s Guide

Singapore

Royal Caribbean introduced its “cruises to nowhere” as a way to revive the cruising industry without as much risk as a normal cruise. The ships begin and end at the same port without stopping. However even rigorous testing protocols weren’t enough and a cruise in Singapore was forced to turn back to port after a passenger on board tested positive for the coronavirus. The passenger had taken a mandatory coronavirus test before he boarded and the results were negative, according to officials. He began showing symptoms after the ship had left port. (Straits Times)

Philippines

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte apparently rejected a threat by police in Manila to cane anyone who violated social distancing rules. Police Lt. General Cesar Binag had said that his officers would meter-long rattan sticks to measure the distance between people in markets, shopping centers — and even churches — and use the canes on them to enforce social distancing. While Duterte had imposed some of the strictest lockdown measures in the world back in March, a presidential spokesperson said canes could not be used to hit people as it was against the law. (ABS-CBN)

Pakistan

Six coronavirus patients died due to a lack of oxygen at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan. An inquiry found staff that were supposed to be on duty at the Khyber Teaching Hospital’s oxygen plant were not present and that the oxygen tank was routinely only partially filled. The health minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where the hospital is situated, said the inquiry had detected “structural flaws” and that the lack of oxygen was detected too late. Pakistan has had more than 400,000 coronavirus infections and seen over 8,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic. (New Indian Express)

Slovakia

British coronavirus researchers have found that the mass testing program by the government of Slovakia brought down the infection rate by around 60 percent in just one week. The country’s success is thought to have been achieved through a combination of testing and strict quarantine rules: Slovakia imposed a mandatory testing requirement on employers — meaning they could not allow workers into the building where they worked unless they could prove they had a negative test result. But it also required their full salary to be paid for 10 days if they were forced to isolate in the event of a positive test. The study was carried out by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. (Guardian)

South Africa

South Africa has entered a ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 infections with more than 6,000 cases in a 24-hour period. Unusually, the highest proportion of cases were among those aged 15 to 19.  (Business Tech, South Africa)

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56 jobs are legally forbidden to women under Russia’s labor code article 253. These include train conductor, carpenter, truck driver, bus driver, butcher, and, randomly, “the obtaining of morphine from raw opium.” Women may not have a job deemed too “arduous,” “harmful” or “dangerous.” Being a metro driver is considered too dangerous for women’s reproductive health because of “strong vibrations, loud noises, poor lighting and a high degree of physical and emotional stress.” What’s more, Aeroflot, Russia’s national airline, determined its stewardesses’ pay scale by their dress size.