Pandemic World: New cases in Vietnam; Fedex Pilots say ‘boycott Hong Kong’

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

by Stranger’s Guide

How the world is coping with coronavirus this week:


After a 99-day streak of zero community transmission, Vietnam has confirmed 15 new cases of the coronavirus in Da Nang and has closed the city to tourists. The country has experience in dealing with pandemics: it was the first country to bring the SARS outbreak under control in 2003, so experts say it’s likely to be able to control the next wave of COVID-19. (The Diplomat)

South Africa

The government in South Africa has been forced to close schools again for a month as its health minister urged people to admonish family and friends not adhering to social distancing, mask-wearing or hand washing. The country had started to ease restrictions after a five-week lockdown proved devastating to the economy, and three million South Africans losing their jobs. More than half of Africa’s 780,000 reported cases of COVID-19 are in South Africa. (Nature)


A study in Germany showed that one in five patients hospitalized with the coronavirus died from the disease. The fatality rate for those who were put on a ventilator rose to 53 percent, and men were more likely to die than women. Due to its decentralized healthcare system, Germany has been able to ramp up its capacity to treat patients with the coronavirus, avoiding scenes of hospitals becoming overwhelmed due to huge caseloads as in Italy. (The Local)

Hong Kong

FedEx pilots want flights to Hong Kong suspended after the association representing its aircrew criticized the country’s strict COVID-19 measures. The Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) made the move after three FedEx pilots, who each tested positive for the coronavirus, were “forced” into hospital. Close contacts of the pilots were also put in government quarantine camps “under extremely difficult conditions”, the union said. (South China Morning Post)

South Korea

A South Korean mobile app that helps enforce quarantines to combat the coronavirus had serious security flaws that let attackers retrieve the names, real-time locations and other personal details. The defects have now been fixed but the country had been lauded for making effective use of digital tools to contain the pandemic. (New York Times)


See more Postcards from around the world




“Goat Grabbing”

It’s been around for more than 600 years, is played on horseback, and can get pretty dangerous to play and even watch. Welcome to Buzkashi, Afghanistan’s national sport. It’s a bit like polo, but with a headless goat instead of a ball. The point of the game is for your team to take control of the carcass and drag it to the hole on the other side of the pitch. It’s been passed down through the generations (it was originally the sport of rich warlords), and is so popular that Afghans want to see it become an Olympic sport.