Northern Ireland is closing schools for two weeks and banning dine-in service at bars and restaurants for four weeks in the latest attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus. The country’s First Minister, Arlene Foster, said it was necessary to “break the chain” transmission and acknowledged the measures would be “difficult and worrying news for a lot of people.” The Belfast Chamber of Commerce called the restrictions an “economy-breaker.” (Belfast Telegraph)
Our Ireland issue offers a fascinating look at this rapidly transforming country.
After months of closure to tourists due to the pandemic, Machu Picchu in Peru has opened for one visitor, Jesse Katayama. 26 year old Katayama traveled to Peru from Japan with plans to only be in the country for a few days to visit Machu Picchu. He found himself stranded in Peru after the country went on lockdown one day after his arrival. He was the first person to visit Machu Picchu in months. “The first person on Earth who went to Machu Picchu since the lockdown is meeeeeee,” Katayama posted on Instagram. (Japan Times)
Four teenage girls from the United Kingdon were forced to quarantine in a hotel in Sicily, Italy for more than three weeks after losing their sense of smell and testing positive for COVID-19. They flew to Italy in September after the country was added to the UK’s “safe” list. After testing positive they were taken to a hotel for self-quarantine where they were unable to communicate with anyone else and only spoke to each other when they opened the doors to their rooms to collect food. (BBC)
Since April, Indian-born chef Vikas Khanna has been coordinating one of the world’s largest food drives. Khanna’s “Feed India” program has put food on the tables of an estimated 50 million Indians struggling to provide for their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. Khanna has lived in the US for 20 years and started the initiative with a single tweet back in April which led to providing meals to people across 135 cities in India. India which has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases worldwide, behind the United States. (CNN / Hindustan Times)
The coronavirus pandemic, combined with a locust plague and flooding are wreaking havoc in Ethiopia, destroying crops and causing food shortages. According to the International Rescue Committee, some areas of the country are reporting severe acute malnutrition rates 50% higher than for the same period a year ago. Ethiopia has the highest rates of COVID-19 in East Africa and has seen a 12-fold increase in cases between June and September. (Genetic Literacy Project)