World coronavirus dispatch: US bans travel from Brazil; commerce allowed

From Eid celebrations in the shadow of pandemic, to nightclubs opening in China, and the story behind NYT's May 24 front page - read these and more in today's world dispatch


Pandemic or not, life must go on. People are consummating marriages, having babies and even grieving the loss of their loved ones in new ways altogether. Today, the Muslims around the world have begun celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the festival marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. It is traditionally celebrated with mosque prayers, family feasts and shopping for new clothes, gifts and sweet treats. But this year, the celebration is overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic. Multiple countries have banned mass prayer gatherings. See this heart-warming photo-series depicting how people are celebrating Eid across the world, in what is another sign of humankind’s resilience in the face of crises.

Let’s look at the global statistics

Total confirmed cases: 5,408,301

Change over previous day: 197,129

Total deaths: 345,064

Total recovered: 2,168,605

Nations hit with most cases: The US (1,643,499), Brazil (363,211), Russia (344,481), the UK (260,916) and Spain (235,772).

Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Covid-19 patients not infectious after 11 days: A new study has found that Covid-19 patients are no longer infectious after 11 days of getting sick, even if some may still test positive. The data from Singapore adds to a growing body of evidence showing people don’t transmit the infection once they have recovered. Read more here.

Drive to reopen places of worship leads to new cases in Europe: In Germany, 40 new cases were confirmed among the faithful in Frankfurt. France restarted church services this weekend. And protesters in the West Bank demanded that mosques reopen for the Eid holiday. Read more here.

US bans travel from Brazil, citing pandemic: The Donald Trump administration in the US is banning travel from Brazil, where the Covid-19 pandemic has been spiking, using the same authority it used earlier to halt certain travel from China and Europe. The new travel restrictions do not apply to the flow of commerce between the two countries. Read more here.

Cape Town emerges as African Covid-19 hotspot: An outbreak centred on Cape Town in South Africa’s Western Cape accelerated last week to nearly 14,000 confirmed cases as of Saturday, against just over 8,000 a week before, about two-thirds of the country’s total and more than one in ten of all cases in Africa so far. It is a sign of how infections may yet pick up pace in a region that is still early to the pandemic. Read more here.

First copies of Gilead virus drug to start selling in Bangladesh: Beximco Pharmaceuticals said it had become the world’s first company to start selling the generic version of Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug. Bangladesh can produce generic versions of patented drugs under WTO provisions that grant least developed countries a waiver from seeking licences. Read more here.

Nightclubs open in China: Nightclubs in China have mostly come back to life as owners and customers feel increasingly comfortable that the novel coronavirus pandemic is now under control, but disinfectant, disposable cups and masks have become part of the experience. Read more here.


The story behind the New York Times’ May 24 front page: Instead of articles, photographs or graphics that normally appear on the front page of The New York Times, the Sunday edition front page had just a list: a long, solemn list of people whose lives were lost to the coronavirus pandemic. Simone Landon, assistant editor of the graphics desk, wanted to represent the number in a way that conveyed both the vastness and the variety of lives lost. Putting 100,000 dots or stick figures on a page “doesn’t really tell you very much about who these people were, the lives that they lived, what it means for us as a country,” Ms Landon said. So, she came up with the idea of compiling obituaries and death notices of Covid-19 victims from newspapers large and small across the country, and culling vivid passages from them. Read the whole story here.

From face mask to face shields, the most important transition if you are going out: The debate over whether people should wear face masks to control coronavirus transmission has been settled. Governments and businesses now require or at least recommend them in many public settings. But as countries reopen, some doctors want you to consider another layer of personal protective equipment in your daily life: clear plastic face shields. Read more to understand how these work better.

Coronavirus’s impact on logistics: In the US, the logistics machinery is beating slowly and erratically, and in some places it has gone into full-on cardiac arrest. Logistics enticed millions of immigrants to move there. Logistics is an entire ecosystem of jobs, one that starts in factories and ends in showrooms; or starts on drafting tables and ends at building sites; or starts at farms, rumbles through packaging plants, heads to kitchens and lands on plates. How are companies like UPS or large retailers like Walmart re-starting the trucking supply chain? Read here to understand.