Pandemic World: Distancing on Rio’s beaches; Fire in India

Each week we take a look at how COVID-19 is impacting life around the world.

by Stranger’s Guide



Ten people died in an electrical fire at a hotel being used as a coronavirus facility in India. At least seven patients panicked and jumped from the terrace as the flames spread to the upper floors of the Hotel Swarna Palace in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. Police said the blaze was caused by a short circuit in an air-conditioner. (Indian Express)


Rio de Janeiro is going to road test an app that allows people to reserve spots on the city’s beaches, in order to comply with social distancing guidelines. Authorities are launching the pilot project on Copacabana beach during weekdays next week when the flow of people will likely be lower. (The Rio Times)


Nearly all polar research on Antarctica, including into the fast-disappearing Thwaites Glacier, has been postponed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The British Antarctic Survey, which had been studying the glacier with American scientists, said only essential teams will head back to the continent as winter ends as it doesn’t have the capacity to treat scientists if they get sick. (BBC)

New Zealand

Residents of Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, have been forced into lockdown again after four new coronavirus cases, following a 102-day streak without any local infection. Politicians have warned the public against panic buying at supermarkets as the city is on heightened alert level three. (News Hub New Zealand)


Namibia is to auction off the right for foreign fishing vessels to catch certain fish in its waters, in order to raise urgent funds to fight COVID-19. The country’s fisheries ministry announced plans to sell 60% of its fishing quota of horse mackerel and hake. (Bloomberg)


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Photo credit: Peter de Ruiter


Atop Hverfjall

On the eastern shore of Lake Myvatn in northern Iceland sits the majestic Mt. Hverfjall, a volcano that formed more than 2,500 years ago. It’s known as a tephra crater—a rock fragment that was ejected during the original eruption. The result of that eruption is a 140-meter-deep, 1,000-meter-diameter crater. Visitors can hike to the rim for some seriously out-of-this-world views and experience the solitude that even mother nature at her angriest can provide.