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let's talk about coronavirus.

But let's also talk about the state of global health and what it means to all genders, communities within various economic brackets and citizens of countries the world over. In the same breath, we'd like to take this opportunity to clarify what the Coronavirus crisis means and to who.

It is difficult to grasp a clear picture of what has now been officially deemed a pandemic, as the media panic continues and with that, civilians are acting from a place of fear. Grocery stores have been emptied, Italy has officially sent out a message that only supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open under the country lockdown, and just yesterday, after weeks of dismissal, President Trump announced that the U.S. will be closing its borders. It is now a time to unite in our actions, to care for one another; to understand that taking more for yourself means leaving someone else with less.

Perhaps the one thing we'll learn from this is that we are more connected than most of our politicians and ideologies lead us to believe. Our actions impact others and no country is an island in a global world. And perhaps the best we can make out of this is that the Coronavirus can bring us more together than divide us.

Welcome back to FairPlanet's roundup. Read, Debate: Engage.

The good

We can learn from china

As coronavirus grips America and Europe, with Italy, France, Spain and the U.S.'s figures climbing up fast, China is potentially only days away from declaring it has no new cases. Just on Tuesday, China recorded 24 new cases, which is a major improvement is containing the spread of the virus, given than in early February that number was more like 3,000.

The chart below, which shows how the number of people infected tapered off rapidly following a lockdown, together with the increasingly low numbers of new infections, China's recovery is the silver lining during this time of crisis.

And on a less data-driven note, citizens in Italy, France and the U.K. have reported to FairPlanet on the kindness they have witnessed within their communities. And that at times of panic, many have shown compassion and a sense of care for others around them – from pharmacists to fellow citizens in the queue to enter the supermarket in Rome.

It is stories like these that need to be spread. Kindness and community, not fear and greediness, will allow us to overcome this.

The bad

should we care about climate change as much as we do about covid-19?

There is a line circulating online that reads, "Climate change needs to hire Coronavirus' PR agency". The joke implying that if only our global society reacted in a similar state of emergency to the rapid increase in climate change and the catastrophic consequences it has on our lives, on our planet and on our economy, then we might be in a completely different situation right now when it comes to climate change.

Indeed it is a touch crass to through the climate crisis into the mix when thousands of people's lives are being impacted by the spread of the disease, but the comparison cannot be overlooked. The global climate crisis is an emergency. Lives are lost every single day. Our planet is being destroyed. The difference is that this is often (and less so in recent years), impacting the lives of individuals away from Europe and the U.S.

Coronavirus is perhaps here to remind us, again and again, that no one is immune from global challenges, no matter how rich you are. No matter how powerful.

From around the world
Female scientist with petri dish

54gene: Collecting African DNA to improve healthcare

by Bob Koigi

Despite Africans having the greatest genetic diversity globally, only a paltry three percent of the gene data available comes from people of African descent. The impact of this is that drugs continue to be manufactured without Africans in mind.
Stevan Dojcinovic

Meet the investigative journalist who has been damaging public health

by Katarina Panić

Belgrade-based journalist Stevan Dojčinović last month had been barred from entering the United Arab Emirates. This time his story remained untold.

Acute shortages and strikes turn Zimbabwe’s hospitals into places of death

by Cyril Zenda

One evening in early September, Memory Nota suspected that her husband, Bornwell, who was writhing in pain, could have been suffering from hernia. With the help of neighbours, she rushed him to Parirenyatwa Hospital, one of the country’s five major referral hospitals. Barely 24 hours later, she was a widow.
Country focus

The People's Republic of China is one of the world's most powerful economies and the globe's top populous nation, with 1.4 billion citizens. Major religions in the country are Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Taoism, all making up parts of the country's 4,000-year civilisation, which in many ways, has helped build the foundations of today's world as we know it.

Today China is a major player in the neoliberal global economy and is the go-to place for much of the world's production and export. Before China's reform, it was stagnating for decades under the rigid totalitarian socialism of founder Mao Zedong. But while China enjoys much of the freedoms that come with globalisation and purchase power, President Xi Ping, who was unilaterally elected by his predecessor in 2012, rejects Western ideas of constitutional democracy and human rights as models for China, and his government moved to silence voices critical of one-party rule, especially on social media.

Chinese citizens are under strict rules when it comes to media consumption and their use of the internet, as they are restricted from using global platforms and instead use their own, such as WeChat, Alibaba, and Baidu.

China has been responsible for one of the world's worst human rights crises in the world: The arbitrary detention in camps of a million or more Uighur Muslims in China’s northwestern Xinjiang province where they are forced to abandon their traditional religion and language.