COVID-19 Pandemic


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Overview

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a global pandemic caused by a newly discovered virus. It threatens public health by affecting people’s lungs and airways. This outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. As of March 2020, it has spread to 195 countries. Europe and the United States have now become the epicentres of the virus whilst China has recorded lower cases. As the virus continues to spread, global cases surpass 10 million worldwide, with 500,000 deaths. Considering the strong infectivity, the WTO risk assessment indicates the severity of coronavirus as very high.

The transmission of coronavirus is human-to-human. The virus spreads in droplets of saliva and discharge from the nose, and can last on surfaces for up to 72 hours, such as metal, glass or plastic. Based on present information, symptoms could appear as soon as three days after exposure to as long as 13 days later. Mild patients experience respiratory symptoms, including persistent dry cough, fever, and tiredness. Sometimes the symptoms can deteriorate into shortness of breath, sore throat, and aches, which are signals of pneumonia.

Currently, there are no specific treatments. Most infected people relying on individual immunity will recover without a special recipe. There can even be covert coronavirus infections testing positive but showing no symptoms. These are called “silent carriers” with the probability to spread the virus. The elderly and those with underlying health problems are at the highest risk of death.

Coronavirus outbreak reawakens racism, especially towards Chinese. Violence against Asians is reported, from abusive words even to aggressive physical attacks on those wearing facial masks. Though there are controversial arguments among virologists about the effectiveness of surgical masks against airborne viruses, Asian governments encourage their citizens to wear a mask for self-protect. However, the cultural difference results in conflicts and violations. COVID-19 has also escalated the global gender violence crisis. Because of the stay-at-home policy, increasing cases of domestic violence are being reported. The lockdown significantly reduced social contact, support services have become less accessible. 

The response to COVID-19 among different countries has been similar: to slow down the disease spreading, release the medical system pressures, and protect vulnerable groups. Following this idea, scientists suggest social distancing and self-isolation amid the COVID-19. Countries like the UK, Italy, and India are on lockdown while China is beginning to reverse domestic lockdown. The political and social impact of COVID-19 has left certain countries unable to respond, with a widespread lack of protective equipment for frontline staff, economic recession because of city lockdown, panic purchasing, and even criminals basing on racism. Tensions occur among states, such as the US-China diplomatic spat after Donald Trump publicly referred to the coronavirus as “the Chinese virus”. The situation is particularly worse among developing countries which lack appropriate healthcare systems.

Current Situation

As the virus continues to spread, global cases surpass 10 million worldwide, with 500,000 deaths. Currently, there is a call for a global ceasefire to manage a response to the rapid spread of the virus. Countries issue lockdown policies and restrict travel outside for non-essential purposes. 115 vaccine candidates are in early stages of development globally. Despite some countries reversing lockdown policies due to the declining rate of infection, many are on alert for a second wave of the outbreak. Scientists warn that humans need to learn to live with this virus as a new normal.

Classification: Pandemic

Trend:

Thought to be peaking

Facts

Key Actors

Infected: 10,881,281

Deaths: 521,545

Recoveries: 5,767,410

Epicentres for the virus: Previously China, Europe, and America, though now South America with over 850,000 cases.

 Countries with most infected:

  • United States of America: 2,739,879
  • Brazil: 1,496,858
  • Russia: 666,941
  • India: 625,544
  • Peru: 295,004
(03 July 2020)

Countries most at risk:

The US is the world’s worst-hit nation with the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths, which continues to grow. Many blame the president’s administration for prioritising the economy instead of citizen’s security. The devolved public-health authority and the fragmented federal system could be the deeper reason for the medical equipment shortage. The frontline medical workers are struggling for lacking ventilators, test kits, and PPE.

Status on potential vaccine: There is currently no vaccine nor any specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019.

*All statistics collected from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center

Countries that have taken an active stance against the virus include China. China was the first epicentral country and has rigorously responsed in many ways: lockdown of cities, companies, schools, and transportations closure. China also takes advantage of the triage system to expand medical capacity, including prioritising treatment for severe patients and building temporary hospitals to receive mild symptoms patients. Playing the role of a huge manufacturer, it produces medical equipment and disposable items like masks and protective suits being inadequate globally. Despite originally recovering from the pandemic, China has recently reported an increased rate of infections in what some are calling a second wave of the outbreak. As a result, China reimposes security checks, tightens restrictions and delays the reopening of schools. 

Italy is the worst affected country in Europe. Though there is a nationwide quarantine to suppress the virus, the epidemic is irresistibly shifting from the northern regions to the south. Italy has asked for coordinated action from the EU. Countries like German, Russia, China, and Cuba also dispatch medical teams to Italy.

In Spain, the virus fiercely attacked nursing homes. The shortage of test kits and slow reactions in the early stage worsen the problem. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called the disease as “the most serious situation the country has faced since the civil war”. Spain is applying the most severe restrictions in Europe now. The army is used to build field hospitals, a dozen hotels and private hospitals are commandeered for patients with milder symptoms.

Most European countries are applying escalating measures, such as shutting down borders and banning gatherings. Rather than eradicating the virus, they tend to slow and stop transmission, prevent outbreaks and delay spread, and minimise the impact of the epidemic on health systems. However, the EU is facing difficulties to deal with the conflicts among member states on the agreement to share rescue package debt. On 4 May, leaders from 40 countries came together to support the COVID-19 Global Response International Pledging Event hosted by the EU Commission. Some €7.4 billion was pledged for researching and developing vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics. 

In March of 2020, cases in the USA skyrocket from double-digit to over 165,000. The United States is becoming the new hotspot of the COVID-19. Except for general measures like expanding the production of ventilators and creating temporary hospitals, the US government also urges researches on the vaccine. On 17 March 2020. The first human trial of a vaccine to protect against pandemic coronavirus has started in the US. However, the epidemic situation is far from optimistic. White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci warns that the virus could kill up to 200,000 Americans.

The explosive growth of coronavirus brings both physical and mental pressures to frontline healthcare workers. Despite recruiting retired medics and final-year medical students, medical systems in countries like Italy and Spain are still on the brink. Lacking protective equipment exposures healthcare workers to the high risk of infection as well. To date, over 8,000 health workers have tested positive for coronavirus in Italy, and 61 have died. Thus, nations are prioritizing the welfare of healthcare workers, such as ensuring their groceries and test kits for the disease. Countries like the UK and Germany also give medical staff national applause.

Coronavirus outbreak reawakens racism, especially towards Chinese. Violence against Asians is reported, from abusive words even to aggressive physical attacks on those wearing facial masks. Though there are controversial arguments among virologists about the effectiveness of surgical masks against airborne viruses, Asian governments encourage their citizens to wear a mask for self-protect. However, the cultural difference results in conflicts and violations.

The World Health Organisation fights against the COVID-19 by speeding up research, helping countries prepare, and coordinating the global response. The WHO has sent protective equipment to 68 countries and 1.5 million test kits to 120 countries. It also creates multilingual online courses and documents, working as a guide for governments and the public to protect themselves and others. A donation called COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund could also be found on the page of the WHO.

Since state borders are close, the UN relief agencies have to interrupt normal aiding programmes amid pandemic. Millions of refugees being unable to reach are lacking basic living resources and humanitarian assistance. In this tough time, the UN launched a $1.74 billion Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan, a $7.32 billion Global Humanitarian Response Plan, and a $1 billion UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to fight COVID-19. The main idea is to protect some of the vulnerable countries” and groups, including women, children, older persons, and the disabled.  There are multiple tasks towards the UN in terms of saving lives, protecting societies, and recovering better. COVID-19 devastated the global food supply chain. For example, to help countries escape severe food insecurity and shortage, UN World Food Programme (WFP) is currently working on a humanitarian response, which is an appeal for a $4.9 billion aid operation over the next six months.

On 27 March, the PM Boris Johnson was tested positive for the COVID-19,  and was placed in intensive care. Although the PM recovered from this, the incident served as a warning to world leaders that greater importance should be placed on the virus. On 12 April, the UK declares to send £200m to help developing nations battle coronavirus. The UK then becomes one of the biggest donors to the worldwide fight against the pandemic. Through boosting fragile health systems overseas like installing new hand-washing stations and treatment centres in refugee camps, experts believe it could also prevent a “second wave” of infections hitting the UK. On 6 May, the UK becomes the first European country with an official death toll over 30,000. There are controversial discussions on whether the UK had passed the outbreak’s peak. With the help of a tracking system, the government is considering to ease lockdown gradually.

Although there was a seven-week lockdown, COVID-19 is still spreading rapidly in Russia. Since the government made it illegal to publish “fake news” about the coronavirus, cases were few in the early phase. However, as more information became available, experts claim the actual mortality data can be much higher. Social institutions like care homes and orphanages are the worst-hit areas.

Brazil has had more than 550,000 confirmed cases, which is the second-highest in the world. The outbreak can be attributed to the inefficiency of government. President Jair Bolsonaro is criticised for downplaying the virus and dismissing the disease as a “little flu”. His recent willingness to reopen Brazil’s borders causes public outrage. Additionally, polarized regional governments fail to obtain a consensus on the lockdown policy. Existing social inequality and dissatisfaction of indigenous tribes are escalated as well.

Current Strategies and Responses

Category

Technology

Funding

Policy

Strategy

1. Drones

2.  Tracing apps

3. Online teaching

1. WHO COVID-19 Solidarity
Response Fund

2. UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund; Global Humanitarian Response Plan; Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan

 

 

Lockdowns, quarantine, and curfews

Impacts

1. Designed to enforce social distancing and deliver emergency medical supplies, the enforcement of drones have privacy implications and can be seen as overstretched law enforcement.

2. Similarly, the introduction of monitoring mobile apps have introduced fears over information security.

3. Meanwhile, while online teaching provides a chance for continual learning, less developed countries lack access to such devices and equipment.

Funding initiatives attempt to tackle the emerging health emergency from COVID-19. Funding is effective by focusing on the social impact and economic response and recovery.

Lockdowns and quarentines have drastically reduced COVID-19 cases in some countries. However, there is a lack of support for vulnerable groups such as the elderly, disabled, and displaced. Strict policing has resulted in cases of police brutality.

Timeline

The first suspected case is a 55-year-old man living in Wuhan, China. Before that, no scientific paper has yet discussed such matters.

Li Wenliang, a Chinese ophthalmologist, warns his colleagues about a possible epidemic resembling SARS, later acknowledged as COVID-19.  After four days, Wuhan police admonishes him for “making false comments on the Internet.” When his warnings are finally confirmed, the Chinese government formally offers a solemn apology to him and calls him a whistleblower. Unfortunately, Li contracted the coronavirus and died on 7 February 2020. This incident triggers a crisis of public trust of the government.

China contacts the World Health Organisation about the outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan after diagnosing 27 people. The etiology was unknown, but most patients suffering from similar symptoms are vendors or buyers of the Hunan Seafood Wholesale Market. Later investigations find it is an underground market trading live animal. 

The entire Hubei province goes under a city lockdown policy. Despite a massive quarantine, the death rate is soaring.

9826 cases are confirmed globally, and most of them happen in the epicentral region: China. The epidemic has affected the other 19 countries outside China. To avoid further transmission, countries like Russia and Singapore announce border closure with China. Plentiful airlines suspend flights to China.

The Chinese government responds to the scandals of Wuhan Red Cross. This charity organisation is revealed for its incompetence, extreme delays in allocating donation resources, and unexplained apparent misallocation of crucial medical supplies.

The emergency specialty field hospital Huoshenshan completes installation to receive mild-symptom patients. However, a few media distort it as an internment camp. Asymmetric information creates some misunderstandings among states, foreshadowing later diplomatic spats during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Seoul authorities prosecute leaders of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus for obstructing efforts to control the coronavirus. During the COVID-19, the sect remains gatherings in Daegu, causing large-scale infections among members. Leaders of this group refuse to get tested for coronavirus, threatening the public health severely.

Italy escalates its measure to a country-wide quarantine, restricting travel except for necessity, work, and health circumstances. After banning family visits to jails, relatives clash with local police. Under the fear of coronavirus, prisoners in 23 jails protest and riot, resulting in deaths.

A diplomatic dispute erupts between Germany and Switzerland after German Chancellor Angela Merkel bans the exports of protective medical equipment. On 9 March, the German customs authority is reported to block a truck filled with 240,000 protective masks to Switzerland. The incident reflects estrangements among European countries, which may discourage deeper collaborations to fight against the epidemic.

UK’s chief scientific adviser raises the idea of “herd immunity” for coronavirus, claiming about 40 million people in the UK need to catch the virus. The controversial strategy triggers an outrage of citizens, especially to vulnerable groups, including the old and those with immunity diseases. Scientists also warn the approach is unethical by putting citizens under the risks.

US President Donald J. Trump refers to the COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus,” escalating a deepening US-China diplomatic spat. Later, the WHO claims such a term linking the virus to a specific area is impertinent. Trump’s words then intensify the ongoing racism against Asians. 

With more than 53,000 confirmed cases and more than 4,800 death, Italy becomes the new epicenter of COVID-19. To suppress the northern outbreak, the government introduces strict measures by placing almost 50,000 people in lockdown. Police patrol 11 towns and those caught entering or leaving outbreak areas face penalties. Italy also cancels big gatherings like carnivals.

India announces a 21-day lockdown of the entire country. However, conflicts break out between the government and civilians. Vendors complain about the police’s abuse. Travelers are stuck at railway stations because of the public transportation suspension. Closure of supply chains reduces daily-waged workers’ income. Despite promises by relief centres to offer meals, homeless people and migrants still suffer from hunger. Hundreds of stranded people queue at these centres, thereby increasing the risk of infection.

Since Wuhan eases its two-month lockdown on residents, China enters the “suppression phase” of the COVID-19.

In Nicaragua, many citizens begin to express anger and disappointment at their government for not doing enough to control the infection.

Frontline health workers in the US struggle with a critical lack of personal protective equipment. Thus, they need to beg for them online with the hashtag # GetMePPE. Most of them complain about the ineffective reactions of the government.

Domestic violence rises amid coronavirus-related quarantine globally. Longer stay-at-home time exposes more abusive cases in an intimate relationship. From Brazil to Germany, Italy to China, helpless women express their fear through the media.

 

The National Domestic Violence Hotline in the US receives up to 2,000 calls per day between 10 and 24 March. The COVID-19 becomes an excuse for women’s partners to further control and abuse. In some cases, husbands even threaten to throw their wives on the street if they cough. Lockdown policy also creates obstacles for institutions to offer assistance. Victims face more difficulties in picking up the phone for help since the abusive partner is just in the room.

Despite the world facing a common enemy, the US still ignores appeals to suspend Iran and Venezuela sanctions. Ivan Briscoe, Latin American and Caribbean director at the International Crisis Group, warned if the virus takes off in Venezuela, and the country can not receive a massive injection of international support, there would be an absolute disaster.

US Navy removes the commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Captain Brett Crozier. Since infections aboard his ship were accelerating, he tries to raise the alarm of the outbreak by writing a letter to urge the action of curbing the virus. Democratic leaders of the House Armed Services Committee take the dismissal decision as a destabilising move, which may result in a chilling effect.

Philippine authorities have subjected children to abusive treatment for breaking curfew and quarantine rules. Although these regulations are imposed to control the COVID-19 outbreak, the outrage violates the health rights of vulnerable children.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, calls for a global ceasefire to fight against the pandemic. The EU declares they would first consider the humanitarian and ensure not to break worldwide efforts to the COVID-19. Later, Eleven countries locked in long-term conflicts such as Ukraine, the Philippines, and Sudan respond to the call. Since most of these war zones have a fragile health system, the warfare would make them impossible to overcome the coronavirus.

Mexico’s homicide rate is 2,585 in March, grows to a new record. Since military power is distracted by the pandemic control, convicts among criminal groups on the territory, petrol theft, and robs reach to the peak.

The US government asks 3M, a major domestic mask manufacturer, to stop exporting the N95 mask to Canada and Latin America. Subsequently, Canada’s PM calls the decision as a “mistake”. The choice of the US has negative implications and could prompt other countries to make a similar response.

Sri Lanka police arrest individuals “criticising” the officials, or sharing “fake” messages about the pandemic. Human rights institutions criticise the practice as a violation of the free expression rights, weakening public supervision to the government’s shortcomings.

Healthcare workers in the UK reach out to the media regarding the government’s inefficiency in dealing with the crisis. Because of distribution problems, healthcare workers wear bin bags rather than professional equipment for protection. The medical capacity faces a heavy burden. Since intensive care is full of COVID-19 patients, other non-urgent operations, even the cancer clinics are to be cancelled. Medical staff are warned against using the media to talk about the frontline urgency.

The oil price war among the US, Saudi Arabia, and Russia increases. The US and Canada are considering to increment tariffs on Saudi Arabian and Russian oil imports. However, the tension is adverse to global collaboration amid the COVID-19. 

Facing criticisms of the US’ approach to coronavirus, Donald Trump accuses the WHO publicly of being “wrong” and “China-centric.” Rather than providing funds to the WHO as he said previously, Trump claims the idea was only under consideration. This expression shifting blame of the pandemic could harm international anti-epidemic activities.

The police detain volunteers dispatching food, clothes, and personal hygiene to homeless people in Moscow. The deeper reason behind this is the government’s inefficiency in providing social assistance during the lockdown. Although following the self-isolation regime is crucial to prevent a further epidemic, there is no consideration on how to protect vulnerable groups.

East African school closures amid the COVID-19 result in girls’ tough circumstances. Since schools create a protective space and keep girls away from risks like child marriage, the pandemic escalates their suffering. Currently, there are no remote educational programmes that could help alleviate the crisis.

The US ends funding to WHO after Trump publicly accusing it of “failed in its basic duty.” However, this decision would be “dangerous and short-sighted” and destroy the unity of global disease resistance. UN Secretary-General António Guterres says it is “not the time” to cut funds since “is absolutely critical to the world’s efforts to win the war against COVID-19” at this time.

In Nigeria, the security force has killed 18 people breaking the lockdown policy so far. Even though Nigeria’s police have a long-term reputation for brutality, extortion, and harassment, this chaos adds people’s misery amid the COVID-19.

Singapore has reported 1016 new cases of COVID-19, and the number increases dramatically. The vast majority of new patients are Work Permit holders living in foreign worker dormitories. These small dorms lack sanitary conditions, such as clean water and soaps, and migrant workers need to share the room with others. In addition to being under the high risk of infections, most of them also feel panic and fear. Although Singapore used to be a model of fighting against the virus, its current response is ineffective in controlling the outbreak and is at the expense of suffering workers.

At the end of February, Turkey opened the country’s borders with Greece to refugees. However, the abrupt pandemic restrains refugees from living a decent life. Since they are expelled back to Turkey, the new potential epicentre with cases rising from 16,000 to over 90,000 in April, the situation becomes tougher. The vast majority of refugees work informally, and they are ineligible for compensation or unemployment benefits. Hence, it is hard for refugees to prepare for the approaching storm.

Coronavirus severely attacks an orphanage for children with developmental disabilities in Belarus. At least 23 people (including 13 children) have been infected. Limitations make these orphans’ chances of survival more inferior. Although the staff is trying their best to take care of the children, the scarce medications like painkillers and the dense dormitories escalate the present dilemma.

Since a massive annual mobilisation to defend indigenous lands and rights were suspended because of the pandemic, indigenous people have to remain in their villages. The illegal logging and mining quicken the pace to invade Amazon’s territory. However, COVID-19 left the officials unable to prioritise the rights of indigenous people timely. The human-made deforestation is threatening the fragile ecology and the routine of indigenous people.

In Los Lianos, a Venezuela prison, the quarantine measures cut off the food supply from inmates’ families. The unsanitary and overcrowded living conditions escalate inmates’ anger and dissatisfaction. Then a bloody riot erupted, leaving at least 40 people dead and 50 more injured.

In Egypt, 60% of the population was already weak and vulnerable before the coronavirus pandemic. However, the lockdown destroyed the informal economy like tourism, further limiting their livelihoods. People crowd the entrances to charities and food banks. Because of the halted public transport, a large number of people could only rely on walking. Compared to the fear of the virus, the unemployed are more worried about making a living. “Staying home is for the rich.” Social distancing and quarantine become luxuries that Egypt’s poor could not afford.

In early May, the government began to relax the lockdown after the decline of new cases. In several days followed, dozens of new infections happened in nightclubs. Media publicly claimed these clubs as gay clubs, triggering online harassment towards LGBT groups. Since the officials failed to keep the private information of infected individuals, some of them experienced physical violence.

When the globe is fighting against COVID-19, the balance between the economy and public health is always a challenge, especially in countries like South Africa. As the state with the strictest lockdown, it has already closed most industries. The government is stuck in a dilemma of saving lives and reducing poverty. However, many commentators have warned of a growing number of casualties from rising unemployment in the long term. They are afraid that the living conditions of citizens will become worse. 

Hospitals in the main cities of Tanzania are overwhelmed, increasing people’s chances of contracting the virus. President John Magufuli urged them to attend church gatherings and mosques, claiming prayers could vanquish the virus instead of raising people’s awareness of the pandemic. The government accused health officials of exaggerating the crisis. Then, the public criticized the Tanzania government for downplaying the epidemic and ignoring citizens’ right to health.

European countries such as Italy, Spain and France begin the process of reopening schools and other public spaces amid low reported rates of COVID-19. The EU Coronovirus Chief, however, warns that Europe could soon face a second wave of the virus and warns it “is not the time now to completely relax”.

The World Health Organisation declares a record number of daily cases of COVID-19 so far. Over 105,000 cases were recorded on Wednesday in predominantly poor countries whilst wealthier countries are emerging from their lockdowns.

Water shortage in hospitals, overcrowding in low-income areas, unsafe working conditions for health personnel, and limited transparency of tests heighten the risk of COVID-19 in Venezuela. The Police force is reported for arbitrary arrests and harassment as well. The Venezuelan authorities severely underestimated the epidemic and persecuted journalists, health professionals, and others who raise awareness about deteriorating conditions of the health system’s breakdown. Venezuela, in addition to current internal instability, now faces a severe humanitarian crisis.

Without a transparent alarming system, Russia missed its best opportunity to control the pandemic. Due to the limited funds available to care homes, full quarantine is not feasible to many in the country. At least 95 homes have reported cases so far, out of 1,280 in total. Many are old with large, shared rooms and bathrooms. An increasing infection results in a collapsed medical system. In addition to this, carers are still suffering from low payment and scarce medical equipment.

Lacking healthcare, protection, and living resources, Rohingyas can only live on international aid amid COVID-19. These people are a stateless Indo-Aryan ethnic group who predominantly follow Islam and reside in Burma. However, the pandemic has recently become a pretext for Burmese authorities to invade and harass these displaced people. For example, Rohingyas can only cross checkpoints with a mask. However, this kind of equipment is not enough or affordable to most Rohingyas.

Although the infection risk remains high, the Indian government has taken a step to reopen public areas such as shopping malls and restaurants. However, because of scarce protection equipment and collapsed health system, the gathering can trigger an outbreak among citizens. While the government is downplaying the pandemic, hospitals are running out of beds and turning patients away.

Increasing reports on indigenous people’s tough living conditions in Canadian society are exposed. Lacking access to clean water and safe shelters, defence including social distancing, and handwashing towards the virus is difficult to be achieved. Since the proportion of chronic illness among indigenous people is high, they become more vulnerable.

Inequities can also be found when accessing health care services. In remote Northern communities, nursing stations are understaffed. Travelling to these locations for help is also challenging and expensive to indigenous communities.

Legal remedies are less accessible to residents of nursing facilities in the US. One recent immunity provision approved by 19 states means nursing homes can evade any liability even for gross negligence amid COVID-19. Opponents argue this broad immunity will be abused easily as an excuse to avoid responsibility for nursing home operators, such as failures to isolate sick residents. Lacking supervision also hurts the health rights of the elderly. Although residents and their families have serious concerns about treatment in nursing facilities, they don’t have opportunities to appeal.

The Health Ministry of Nicaragua is reported to strictly control the information related to Covid-19. Lack of transparency makes the real magnitude of the pandemic unknown to the public. The inefficiency of officials can be concealed as well. At least 10 health workers who have raised concerns over COVID-19 have been fired by Nicaraguan authorities without justicial procedures. Human rights organisations highlight this concern as a violation of speech freedom and prevents effective domestic anti-epidemic measures.

According to official statistics, nearly two-thirds of confirmed cases in Wales are women. Since more women work in nursing homes, they are suffering from higher infection risks. The extent of this discrimination is evident by the fact that PPE does not effectively fit women correctly.

The pandemic also highlights structural inequalities in Wales. The fatality rate of the BAME community is disproportionately twice as high. Much of the BAME community face the problem of overcrowded housing and less accessibility to medical resources. Advisory groups are now established to provide support and suggestions.

The pandemic has had unprecedented effects on this vulnerable group in the UK. Since there are conflicts among LGBT people and their families, plentiful LGBT are at risk of homelessness. Domestic abuse is another threat and more than one in ten LGBT people are facing violence from a partner. Ongoing discrimination, isolation, and marginalisation result in higher mental health problems of LGBT groups, but social supports become less accessible during the lockdown.

The five-year war between a Saudi-led military coalition and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels makes Yemen unable to respond to the outbreak. Food prices in Yemen have soared by 35 percent since the start of coronavirus. The collapsing supply chain of medical facilities and the fragile protection system causes a catastrophic death toll. According to the data of the UN, 2.4 children are at the risk of starvation and malnourishment. Vaccines against deadly diseases are also urgently needed to 5 million other children under the age of 5.

Reports on COVID-19

For more information and the latest developments on COVID-19, please see the list below for a collection of reports written by our correspondents.

Indigenous Communities And COVID-19

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