Portugal has started easing coronavirus restrictions after a strict lockdown that lasted more than two months. Cafes, museums and shops can now welcome back guests, under strict hygenic guidelines. It’s a comeback story for Portugal, which back in January, had one of the highest coronavirus infection rates in the world.
Despite half a year of restrictions, Germany is still struggling to contain a third wave of coronavirus infections. The high caseload is fueling calls for a tougher lockdown, but some German states are experimenting with easing restrictions.
Amnesty International’s annual report says COVID-19 has further amplified “massive” global inequalities. And it accuses many world leaders of using the pandemic to crack down on human rights. The report singles out three groups that have been disproportionately affected:
First: women. They’ve suffered an increase in domestic violence, borne the burden of homeschooling, and in many cases lost their income because they had informal jobs that they couldn’t do under lockdowns.
Second. Health workers around the globe have suffered more fatalities than any other group. Chronic underinvestment in health systems means many hospitals are understaffed, and their workers are not sufficiently protected against the virus.
And finally, the pandemic has also worsened the already precarious situation of refugees and migrants. Lockdowns and border closures have left some trapped in squalid camps, without access to vital supplies.
Other developments in the COVID-19 pandemic:
In France, the number of patients in intensive care is at its highest in almost a year. France is now in a month-long lockdown.
India has hit another new record number of daily cases. New Delhi, Mumbai and dozens of other cities are imposing curfews to try to slow the soaring infections.
And a top official at the European Medicines Agency says there IS a link between the Astra Zeneca vaccine and rare blood clots. The agency is expected to release a new assessment of the drug this week.