World Coronavirus Dispatch: Pandemic upends France’s eating habits

Oxford vaccine less effective against South Africa variant

The Oxford vaccine developed in partnership with Astrazeneca appears less effective against the highly contagious South African variant. In a devastating blow to the country’s efforts to contain the pandemic, South Africa has halted the use of Astrazeneca jab following evidence that the shot did not prevent mild to moderate disease in trials there. The development, coming nearly a week after a million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine arrived in South Africa, was an enormous setback for the country, where more than 46,000 people are confirmed to have died from the virus. Read here

Let’s look at the global statistics

Global infections: 106,166,898

Global deaths: 2,317,379

Nations with most cases: US (27,006,445), India (10,838,194), Brazil (9,524,640), United Kingdom (3,957,177), Russia (3,923,461).

Source: John Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

France’s latest Covid measure: Letting workers eat at their desks

The has upended the eating habits and culture of France like no other and the country’s labour ministry recently further announced another changes to the people’s eating habits, allowing the workers to eat lunch at their desks in order to contain the spread of the Companies have till now been barred from allowing workers to have their meals in places dedicated to work. If any company allowed employees to eat lunch at their desks, it was subject to a fine if discovered by the inspectors who enforce the labor code. The employee in question faced unspecified disciplinary action. Read here

Cuba lifts ban on most private business

Struggling with one of the worst economic crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba has announced massive reforms, opening up the communist economy the private sector. Recently, the country also scrapped the dual currency system to confront the rising inflation. The labour minister said that instead of allowing private participation in 127 professions, the government would permit it in more than 2,000, reserving only 124 areas partly or wholly for the state. The government also plans to end subsidies to some state companies, even if that leads to bankruptcies. Read here

Mexico’s vaccine program sees disastrous launch

Mexico’s vaccination programme is off to a disastrous start as millions, who tried to register on the health secretariat website experienced an error message for days. And even when the page loaded, other users reported further delays while a separate government agency checks official ID numbers, only to deliver a message of “No response”. The country’s daily Covid-19 death toll averaged more than 1,000 during January, while hospital beds, oxygen tanks and intubation drugs were in short supply. The official death toll is now more than 163,000 – the third highest in the world. Read here

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