When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Coronavirus — Global Brief: What Italy's (Awful) Numbers Tell Us

For the coming weeks, Worldcrunch will be delivering daily updates on the coronavirus global pandemic. Our network of multilingual journalists are busy finding out what's being reported locally — everywhere — to deliver as clear a picture as possible of what it means for all of us at home, around the world. To receive the daily brief in your inbox, sign up here.

SPOTLIGHT: HEALTH VS. THE ECONOMY

Two months into the crisis, social distancing and strict lockdowns have emerged as the only weapons in the war against COVID-19. Governments are now looking hopefully to countries like China and South Korea where a mix of tough isolation measures and mass testing have curbed the spread. Still amid extended shutdowns to daily activity, and multibillion-dollar bailouts to provide immediate relief, national leaders know they're edging closer to a lasting economic meltdown that could pose an equally real threat to people's wellbeing.

And so far, the middle-road has mostly been abandoned. Britain and the Netherlands were the latest European countries to drop the herd-immunity approach and impose lockdowns. Among the last holdouts is Sweden, where elementary schools, offices and even restaurants remain open. While some suggest that Sweden's low-regulation, high-trust model might be the way to save both lives and the economy, Swedish epidemiologists are worried, saying we know too little about the virus to experiment as Europe's coronavirus outlier. But public health authorities said in a press conference, as emergency care patients reached 180 on Thursday, that there were no ongoing discussions about lockdowns, and that "Sweden has better preconditions than Italy, and we've had the time to build up our emergency capacity."

Meanwhile, while leaders in the rest of the world scramble for a viable exit strategy, we should expect more open-ended lockdown extensions. But some experts suggest that even the strictest social-distancing measures will only bring temporary respite, as shown in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, where we see reports of a sudden uptick in new cases. If cases are bound to surge again once public life picks up, it would leave the only option of continuing lockdowns until a vaccine is developed. By that time, however, the only uncertainty on the economic front would be whether the recession becomes a depression.

Carl-Johan Karlsson

THE SITUATION: 7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

Keep reading... Show less
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Coronavirus

In Shanghai, A Brewing Expat Exodus As COVID Crackdown Shows "Real" China

Not only strict rules of freedom of movement as part of Zero-COVID policy but also an increase in censorship has raised many questions for the expat population in the megacity of 26 million that had long enjoyed a kind of special status in China as a place of freedom and openness. A recent survey of foreigners in the Chinese megacity found that 48% of respondents said they would leave Shanghai within the next year.

People walk in Tianzifang, located in Huangpu District, a well-known tourist attraction in Shanghai.

Lili Bai

SHANGHAI — On the seventh day of the lockdown, Félix, a French expat who has worked in Shanghai for four years, texted his boss: I want to "run,' mais je sais pas quand (but I don’t know when). A minute later, he received a reply: moi aussi (me too).

Félix had recently learned the new Mandarin word 润 (run) from social network postings of his local friends. Because its pinyin “rùn” is the same as the English word “run,” Chinese youth had begun to use it to express their wish to escape reality, either to “be freed from mundane life”, or to “run toward your future.”

For foreigners like Félix, by associating the expression “run” with the feeling of the current lockdown in Shanghai, “everything makes sense.” Félix recalled how at the end of March, the government denied rumors of an impending lockdown: “My Chinese colleagues all said, Shanghai is China’s top city, there would be no lockdown no matter what.”

Keep reading... Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch Video Show less
MOST READ