Spain first in Europe with 1 million COVID infections; India’s anti-maskers; Canada’s coronavirus-free territory.

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

by Stranger’s Guide


Despite Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte urging residents of Holland to minimize travel as part of government efforts to control the spread of COVID-19, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima were forced to apologize after breaking the rules. ‘We are not infallible,’ was the message they gave in a short video after returning home early from a vacation to Greece. There was public outcry in the Netherlands over the trip. King Willem-Alexander said it hurt his family to know they “have betrayed your trust in us.” (Dutch News)


Although there was an outbreak of the coronavirus among workers at a remote gold mine back in September, the cases were counted as infections in the miners’ hometowns, meaning Nunavut, Canada’s newest province, has not had one confirmed case of COVID-19. It’s the only place in North America that is officially coronavirus free. One local, who uses the TikTok handle @wayupwhere, posted a video saying life hadn’t really changed. ‘We don’t even have to wear masks here,’ he said. (Newsweek)


Spain has become the first country in Europe with one million confirmed coronavirus infections. On Monday the country’s health ministry reported 37,889 cases, the highest number of cases in a single day. Across the country one in every four ICU beds is occupied by a COVID-19 patient, but in Ceuta, Melilla, Madrid, Aragón and La Rioja, that occupancy rate by coronavirus patients is 40%. (El Pais)


A survey of people living in 18 Indian cities revealed less than half wore masks in public, even as experts in the country warned that there would be a spike in infections during the festival season. The study by Apna Mask revealed only 44 percent of people wore masks in public, citing concerns about difficulty breathing and inconvenience, and a belief that social distancing is enough on its own to protect against the coronavirus. On November 1, protesters across India plan to demonstrate on what some are referring to as “mask-free day.” (SCMP)

South Africa

South Africa’s health minister, Zweli Mkhize and his wife, May, have tested positive for the coronavirus. The news comes as the country reports an increase in new cases. “It would be responsible for us to ignore ‘small flames’ that we see redeveloping in some parts of the country,” Mkhize said. The single biggest cluster was in the southern suburbs of Cape Town. (News24)


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Photo credit: Alexa Clark

North America

The Proof is in the Poutine

Canada is becoming more diverse, and with a more diverse population comes the opportunity for more diverse flavors. Canadian poutine, originally a Quebecois invention made by pouring gravy and cheese curds over fries, is undergoing some particularly interesting changes. Chefs are experimenting by adding new flavors to this classic dish. Some of the best combinations have come by mixing dishes from the country’s burgeoning Indian population. Saag Poutine, for instance, uses traditional Indian paneer in place of cheese curds and the creamy spinach-based saag in place of gravy. Another delicious Quebec-Indian combo is Butter Chicken Poutine, which layers the tomato-based Indian classic over fries and tops it with either traditional cheese curds or mozzarella for even more multicultural flavor.