Spanish soldiers who were sent to disinfect nursing homes found people “completely abandoned, or even dead, in their beds.” The struggle to protect the elderly populations–which have the highest mortality rates from the virus–have been a common thread throughout all the countries hardest hit by the outbreak. In other global news: China’s propaganda machine, the economic freeze in Europe, military enforcement, and Vietnamese quarantine camps.
The New York Times: A Deluged System Leaves Some Elderly To Die, Rocking Spain’s Self-Image
Spain prides itself on being a tight-knit society that respects parents and grandparents, where powerful bonds across generations mean that the elderly play an integral part in family life, beyond just helping to look after grandchildren. So even in a country besieged by the coronavirus epidemic, where the death toll overtook China’s on Wednesday, the news this week about Spain’s nursing homes has come as a particular shock. Soldiers who were sent to disinfect nursing homes had found people “completely abandoned, or even dead, in their beds,” the defense secretary, Margarita Robles, revealed on Monday. (Minder and Peltier, 3/25)
ProPublica: How China Built A Twitter Propaganda Machine Then Let It Loose On Coronavirus
Kalen Keegan, a college student at the University of Nebraska Omaha, immediately noticed when her Twitter account unleashed a torrent of posts in Chinese. “My other account got hacked👍🏽,” the soccer player posted on a replacement account. The new author tweeting as @Kalenkayyy had strong views on geopolitics — all aligned with the Chinese Communist Party. It was obsessed with the protests in Hong Kong, offered uncritical praise of the Hong Kong police and accused demonstrators of fomenting a “color revolution” backed by an “anti-Chinese American conspiracy.” (Kao and Li, 3/26)
The Wall Street Journal: Europe Opts For Economic Freeze To Fight Coronavirus, As U.S. Debate Continues
European governments weighing the economic damage of a mass shutdown against the risk of spreading the new coronavirus were initially hesitant to impose stringent lockdowns and border closures. But as the pace of infections and deaths accelerated, Europe has broadly coalesced around a strategy: Freeze now and worry later about the bill. Their initial hesitation to do so crumbled as the new coronavirus swept the continent and policy makers determined that not acting forcefully could lead to equally bad economic outcomes, but with a higher body count. (Douglas and Pancevski, 3/26)
The Washington Post: Coronavirus Soldiers: Military Enforces Lockdowns, Quarantines, Curfews
Around the world, as a consensus has formed around the need for quarantine and social distancing to fight the coronavirus, a more delicate question has emerged: How do you enforce those new rules? In every region, under all kinds of political systems, governments are turning to increasingly stringent measures — and deploying their armed forces to back them up. (Sieff, 3/25)
Reuters: Vietnam Quarantines Tens Of Thousands In Camps Amid Vigorous Attack On Coronavirus
Vietnam has sent tens of thousands of people to quarantine camps as waves of overseas citizens return home to escape a coronavirus pandemic spreading in Europe and the United States. Even though Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s poorer nations, its efforts against the virus, praised at home, have ensured its tally of infections is lower than many neighbours. (Pearson and Nguyen, 3/26)
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