World Coronavirus Dispatch: A Swedish film festival for only one viewer

One case, total lockdown: Australia’s lessons for a pandemic world

The routine of short-term pain for collective long-term gain. This phrase more or less sums up Australia's response to coronavirus since the pandemic struck last year. For those who aren't closely tracking the pandemic's journey Down Under, consider this: Only one person has tested positive in Western Australia outside quarantine in almost ten months, and the state has locked down nearly 2 million people. The curbs followed similar efforts in Brisbane and Sydney, where a handful of infections led to steep ramp-ups in restrictions and, consequently, a subdued virus and a rapid return to near normalcy. Around the New Year, after the northern beaches in Sydney reported a few cases, the authorities locked down the entire area at a pace and severity not seen in Europe and the United States. Read here

Let's look at the global statistics

Global infections: 103,432,804

Change Over Yesterday: 428,571

Global deaths: 2,238,785

Nations with most cases: US (26,321,163), India (10,766,245), Brazil (9,229,322), United Kingdom (3,846,851), Russia (3,825,739).

A movie festival for one, on a tiny Nordic island

It's been a tough time for film festivals across the world, as almost all of them were deferred and a bare minimum went digital. Some, like Venice’s in September, have faced the pandemic as diminished versions of their normally glitzy selves, with alternately seated theaters and mandatory temperature checks. Others, like Sundance and the Berlinale, now pushed until March 2021, have gone entirely digital, offering streaming access to films and other events. But the Sweden's Goteborg Film Festival has taken social distancing norms to another level. It will hold screenings in two urban venues for just one festival attendee. And it has also sent a single viewer to a tiny, barren island in the North Atlantic to watch the 70 films in competition — alone. Read here

Germany considers Russian and Chinese vaccines to boost inoculation

Although Germany has given more second doses to its population, when compared with UK, the vaccination drive is sluggish so far. Germany has vaccinated just over 2 million people compared to that 10 million in the Britain. In this context, the German health minister has said the country must deploy any vaccine if it is safe and effective regardless of which country is manufacturing it. "Germany should use the Russian and Chinese coronavirus vaccines if they win EU approval," he said, adding that it will boost the inoculation drive. Read here

BP profit drops 96% as pandemic hits energy demand

Energy giant BP reported a 96 per cent dip in net profit for the quarter ended December 31, 2020 as the pandemic-dented oil demand endured through 2020. In the final quarter of a “challenging” year for BP, it reported a modest underlying profit of $115 million, well below analyst forecasts of a $360 million profit. This quarterly profit compares with $2.6 billion in the same period the year before. The fourth quarter capped a brutal year for the industry with government-imposed lockdowns and travel bans to contain the pandemic dramatically hitting earnings. Read here

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