World Coronavirus Dispatch: New Zealand sees first community case in months

Dubai to clamp down on live entertainment as virus surges

Dubai will stop issuing new permits to live performances and concerts as coronavirus cases mount in the city and across the United Arab Emirates, but bars and restaurants will remain open. The city's tourism office said the move is in the interest of public health and safety. Dubai was one of the last places in 2020, that kept restaurants and live entertainment open to crowds and tourists. Party enthusiasts across the world, including Britain and Israel, flocked to Dubai for fun during the pandemic. But that is coming to an end now or at least on pause for some time. Read here

Let's look at the global statistics

Global infections: 98,782,736

Change Over Yesterday: 602,245

Global deaths: 2,121,681

Nations with most cases: US (24,994,467), India (10,654,533), Brazil (8,816,254), Russia (3,679,247), United Kingdom (3,627,789).

Hong Kong and Madrid tighten lockdowns

Governments are reverting to strict social distancing norms with the spread of highly contagious variants threatening nascent recovery from the crisis. In a dramatic measure taken since coronavirus surfaced, Hong Kong's authorities locked down parts of Jordan District, one of the most densely packed neighbourhoods, and began testing everyone there. In Madrid, restaurants and bars will need to close early on Monday, as part of a series of new lockdown curbs announced by the authorities in Spain’s capital region. In a seperate press conference, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he had been advised of early signs that the new variant, which first emerged late in September, may carry higher risk of death, something scientists and researchers have denied so far. Read here

New Zealand sees first community case in months

New Zealand has reported its first coronavirus community infection in nearly two months, with a 56-year-old woman testing positive. Authorities have began tracing her close contacts and the places she has visited. Public health experts and opposition parties in the country warned the government not to squander away the success it has achieved in containing the pandemic by delaying the vaccination programme. New Zealand has adopted a wait-and-watch strategy on inoculation to get to learn more about the vaccines' safety and efficacy, a move experts said will only put the public at risk with new variants spreading rapidly. Read here

Paris street artists face a lonely struggle

For more than 140 years, Paris's iconic the "Place du Tertre" or "artists’ square" has been a haven for painters. Many legendary ones such as Van Gogh and Picasso lived and worked in the now picturesque but previously poor district. Over time, the square became famous for its landmark street artists among those on the tourist trail. In normal times Place du Tertre is packed with tourists, even on a chilly January afternoon. However, in the time of coronavirus, the square, home to painters, portraitists and silhouette artists, is almost entirely deserted. The artists are struggling – and not just due to lack of tourists. Read here

Thai hotel groups urge scrapping of quarantine rules for vaccinated tourists

Thailand’s hotel operators want the government to do away with mandatory quarantine rules for foreign tourists who show proof they have been vaccinated for coronavirus in order to revive the crisis-hit industry, according to a report in the Financial Times. Thailand's economy is heavily dependent on tourism, the second-largest industry, accounting for about a fifth of gross domestic product. The country sealed its borders to most foreign visitors last March and imposed strict testing and quarantine measures on those seeking to enter. The pandemic has emptied out some of Thailand’s best-known attractions with government subsidies for Thais’ hotels making up only part of the industry’s losses. Read here


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