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World Coronavirus Dispatch: Despair forces Asian girls into child marriage

US orders halt on home evictions, older patients drive South Korean surge in critical cases, Hong Kong to reopen gyms, massage parlours and other pandemic-related news across the globe

Coronavirus | health care sector | Coronavirus Tests

Yuvraj Malik  |  New Delhi 

Photo: Shutterstock
More than 40% of new coronavirus cases in South Korea are being found in people over the age of 60 | Photo: Bloomberg

Virus despair forces girls across Asia into child marriage: Tens of thousands of girls across Asia are being forced into marriage by desperate families plunged into poverty because of the pandemic, as campaigners warn years of progress tackling the practice is being undone. Child marriage has long been common in traditional communities from the Indonesian archipelago to India, Pakistan and Vietnam, but numbers had decreased in the recent past. Now, these improvements are being eroded as the impact of the virus causes mass job losses leaving parents struggling to feed their families. Read the report here

Let’s look at the global statistics

Total Confirmed Cases: 25,760,920

Change Over Yesterday: 272,681

Total Deaths: 857,248

Total Recovered: 17,077,065

Nations hit with most cases: US (6,075,652), Brazil (3,950,931), India (3,769,523), Russia (997,072) and Peru (657,129)

Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

US orders halt on residential evictions to combat virus: The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday issued a sweeping nationwide order temporarily halting millions of US renters from being evicted, in a bid to reduce the spread of Covid-19. The order covers about 43 million renters, as long as they meet income eligibility requirements. Read more here

Also read, US manufacturing expands at fastest pace since late 2018.

Older patients drive South Korean surge in critical Covid-19 cases: More than 40% of new cases in South Korea are being found in people over the age of 60, contributing in part to a surge in the number of COVID-19 patients who are severely or critically ill. South Korea is battling a second wave of infection, centred in the capital Seoul and surrounding areas which are home to 25 million people. Read more here

Hong Kong to reopen gyms, massage parlours as cases ease: Hong Kong said it will allow gyms, massage parlours and some sports venues to reopen beginning Friday. In further relaxation, dine-in services at restaurants will be extended by one hour to 10 pm. A cap of two people per table will remain in effect, while public gatherings will be limited to two people for another seven days. Read more here

Xi doubles down on domestic focus as US relations fray: China’s top leaders next month will lay out their economic strategy for the next five years. The plan is to ramp up domestic consumption to insulate the economy from geopolitical tensions. Described as a strategy of ‘dual circulation’, the plan is for a more self-reliant domestic economy, supplemented by foreign technologies and investment.

Read more here

Australian GDP falls by most on record, confirming recession: Gross domestic product plunged 7 percent from the first three months of the year, the largest fall since records dating back to 1959. The slump was larger than economist forecasts of a 6 percent drop. From a year earlier, GDP tumbled 6.3 percent versus an estimated 5.1 percent fall. Read more here


Amazon drivers are hanging smartphones in trees to get more work

A strange phenomenon has emerged near delivery stations and Whole Foods stores in the Chicago suburbs: smartphones dangling from trees. Contract delivery drivers are putting them there to get a jump on rivals seeking orders. Someone places several devices in a tree located close to the station where deliveries originate. Drivers in on the plot then sync their own phones with the ones in the tree and wait nearby for an order pickup. The reason for the odd placement, is to take advantage of the handsets’ proximity to the station, combined with software that constantly monitors Amazon’s dispatch network, to get a split-second jump on competing drivers. Read more here

Britain eyes major tax rise
Investors, economists and lawmakers in Britain’s ruling Conservative Party are sending Rishi Sunak a simple message: Now is not the time for major tax rises.

The chancellor last month warned he will need to take “difficult decisions” to return the country to a sustainable fiscal footing after the -- but signs are he won’t need to take them in his budget this fall. With the UK’s national debt at more than 2 trillion pounds ($2.7 billion) for the first time in history, the Office for Budget Responsibility has calculated that the government will need to implement 60 billion pounds of tax rises or spending cuts every decade to return the national debt to what it calls a sustainable level over the next half a century. Read more here

Lego defies toy sector gloom as sales and profits rise
: The Danish privately owned maker of plastic bricks said revenues in the first half increased by 7 per cent while operating profit was 11 per cent higher than a year earlier. Chief executive Niels Christiansen said the momentum had continued into the first two months of the second half. The world’s largest toymaker by both revenues and profits increased consumer sales by double-digit percentages in Asia, western Europe and the US thanks to investments in its online store as well as new products such as Monkie Kid, its first Chinese-inspired group of sets. Read more here

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First Published: Wed, September 02 2020. 14:16 IST