World Coronavirus Dispatch: Hong Kong comes up with medical staycations

Hong Kong: Customers wearing masks buy bath tissue papers at a store
No-holds-barred virus surge in California

California is enduring a deadly coronavirus wave, reporting more cases and deaths than the previous surge in the United States. The current wave, led by the holiday season, is overwhelming hospitals and frontline workers alike, with no reprieve. In Los Angeles county alone, there is a new infection every six seconds, and many more are going unnoticed. The state is also rushing to fill oxygen tanks as it faces a dire oxygen shortage for patients. Read here

Let's look at the global statistics

Global infections: 85,689,897

Change Over Yesterday: 553,311

Global deaths: 1,854,458

Nations with most cases: US (20,823,343), India (10,356,844), Brazil (7,753,752), Russia (3,250,713), United Kingdom (2,721,622).

Source: John Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Japan to go into month-long Covid emergency

Battling a fresh wave of infections, Japan is set to enter coronavirus emergency for a month, Nikkei Aisa has reported. Emergency was previously declared in the country last April. Tokyo has become the recent epicentre of the outbreak, with Japan reporting 3,302 fresh cases on Monday. Under the emergency, the government is likely to let schools function but cancel sport activities. It is also weighing suspending foreign entry under business travel agreements with 11 countries and regions, including China and South Korea. Read here

Hungary’s deaths pass 10,000

In a significant challenge to Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s re-election, Hungary has surpassed 10,000 fatalities from coronavirus pandemic, a figure which the opposition argues could be much higher. Hungary has the third-highest number of deaths as a percentage of population in the European Union. The prime minister's popularity has been waning in recent weeks, thanks to the shortcomings in his response to the pandemic. However, he defended his record, citing worse scenarios in other countries, where he says healthcare systems are overwhelmed. Read here

Singapore police to get Covid-19 contact tracing data

The police in Singapore will get data that has been obtained through contact tracing for coronavirus, for criminal investigation purposes, as concerns mount over privacy of these apps around the world. Many nations have rolled out their own versions of surveillance apps to track patients or those who are in contact with the virus. The TraceTogether scheme, which is Singapore's own tracing app is being used by almost 80 per cent of the population. Given the widespread usage, it remains to be seen how the police will access the data and it leads to any misuse. Read here

Hong Kong clinics, hotels offer medical staycations

Fearing getting infected with the virus, many in Hong Kong have abandoned hospitals altogether, except for pressing medical needs. This has led to a massive drop in patient visits to local clinics. To counter this, a private clinic has teamed up with hotel chains to offer medical staycation packages, under which visitors get medical care along with hotel stay. The package comes with an annual health-check up, and visitors can also opt for an extension. Read here

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