Home >News >Business Of Life >Mint Lite | Travel restrictions, lockdowns, ‘curse’ of the Oscars & other news

International travel can’t be restricted indefinitely, and countries will have to do more to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus within their borders, the World Health Organization said on Monday. In the past few days, countries have reimposed travel restrictions due to a surge in infections. UK, for instance, ordered a 14-day quarantine on travellers returning from Spain, and is considering the same for Germany and France, affecting the chance of the tourism industry’s revival during the peak summer season. WHO said it was impossible to keep borders shut, As “economies have to open up, people have to work, trade has to resume". For more national and world news, here’s Mint Lite.

More lockdowns in Asia

Vietnam is evacuating 80,000 people, mostly local tourists, from Danang after three residents tested positive for the virus over the weekend
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Vietnam is evacuating 80,000 people, mostly local tourists, from Danang after three residents tested positive for the virus over the weekend

Many countries in Asia are battling a second wave of covid-19 infections and clamping down again. Vietnam is evacuating 80,000 people, mostly local tourists, from Danang after three residents tested positive for the virus over the weekend. These are the first infections since April. China confirmed 57 new locally transmitted cases on Sunday, the highest since early March. Hong Kong has banned gatherings of more than two people, completely stopped restaurant dining, and introduced mandatory face masks in public places as the city reported 145 cases on Monday. In the past week, cases have surged in Tokyo and other Japanese cities. Indonesia reported its 100,000th case on Monday, and has surpassed China with the highest number of cases and deaths in East Asia. Even as much of Asia reimposes lockdowns, India plans to ease more restrictions in a few days despite a relentless rise in infections.

Who will ship the vaccine?

Freight companies say they are unlikely to be able to handle the challenges of shipping a covid-19 vaccine to billions of people worldwide.
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Freight companies say they are unlikely to be able to handle the challenges of shipping a covid-19 vaccine to billions of people worldwide.

Freight companies say they are unlikely to be able to handle the challenges of shipping a covid-19 vaccine to billions of people worldwide. The pandemic and economic downturn have affected the logistics sector, which is still rather old-school and dependent on paper trails and licences to cross borders. Containers often sit in ports for days as approvals are sought—delays vials of vaccines that require a temperature of 2-8°C cannot afford, freight companies told Bloomberg. Upgrading technology for largescale shipping of medication will need huge investment, which many of the companies don’t have the money for right now. Emirates SkyCargo estimates that airlifting double-dose vaccines for half the world’s population will require 8,000 cargo planes. The other issue is ensuring that people in remote areas, which regular freight companies do not serve, also have equal access to these vaccines.

Give ‘green’ a chance

Some reusable bags cost more to produce
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Some reusable bags cost more to produce

The world uses about 4 trillion plastic bags a year, and only about 1% are properly recycled. In covid times, the push to reduce single-use plastic has taken a backseat as people look for hygienic, use-and-throw options to reduce the change of infection. But despite laws and fines, getting rid of plastic bags isn’t easy. While plastic bags are made from fossil fuels, their production requires far less energy than bags made out of cotton or paper. To make up for carbon footprint of such a bag, you’d need to re-use anywhere from 40 to 20,000 times (see chart). But these are still better option—on average, a shopper uses a plastic bag for 12 minutes before throwing it out but it lies in waterways and oceans for decades. The world’s biggest retailers are trying to replace the plastic shopping bag. Earlier this month, Target, Walmart and CVS Health in the US unveiled a $15 million joint initiative to research materials that could replace plastic bags over the next three years.

The ‘curse’ of the Oscars

Days after composer A.R. Rahman came forward to say he had trouble getting work in Bollywood after winning an Oscar, sound engineer Resul Pookutty has shared a similar experience
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Days after composer A.R. Rahman came forward to say he had trouble getting work in Bollywood after winning an Oscar, sound engineer Resul Pookutty has shared a similar experience

Days after composer A.R. Rahman came forward to say he had trouble getting work in Bollywood after winning an Oscar, sound engineer Resul Pookutty has shared a similar experience. He tweeted: “I had gone through near breakdown as nobody was giving me work in Hindi films and regional cinema held me tight... ." The comments come at a time when Bollywood is facing criticism for nepotism following death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput. Pookutty received the Oscar for his work in Slumdog Millionaire (2009), the same film for which Rahman won two awards. Pookutty’s tweet was in a response to filmmaker Shekhar Kapur’s tweet to Rahman that said, “An Oscar is the kiss of death in Bollywood." In an interview last week, Rahman had said a “gang" had been spreading rumours about him. “See, I don’t say no to good movies, but I think there is a gang."

Dogs may sniff out covid

Researchers in the UK are running a pilot project to train dogs to sniff out covid-19 infections in travellers
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Researchers in the UK are running a pilot project to train dogs to sniff out covid-19 infections in travellers

Researchers in the UK are running a pilot project to train dogs to sniff out covid-19 infections in travellers. Dog squads currently search for drugs, weapons and contraband in airports. Animals have been trained to detect certain cancers, malaria and Parkinson’s, and scientists say they could be retrained to detect coronavirus even before symptoms appear. Researchers at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine are doing the first phase of a trial with six labradors and cocker spaniels in collaboration with the charity Medical Detection Dogs and Durham University, backed by £500,000 of government funding. After eight weeks, the dogs that do well in initial training will work in live situations. The government is hoping covid dogs will be able to screen up to 250 people per hour at airports and testing centres. Dogs and cats can catch the virus, but there is no evidence yet that they spread the infection.

Curated by Shalini Umachandran. Have something to share with us? Write to us at businessoflife@livemint.com or tweet to @shalinimb

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