Monday 08 Aug 2022 | 11:44 | SYDNEY
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Coronavirus

The Covid-19 pandemic is an enormous challenge to global public health. The response to the pandemic will also have long-lasting effects for globalisation, international trade, economic growth, and global poverty. Security perceptions will be redefined as nations reassess their defence priorities. The leadership contest between the US and China will also be affected by perceptions of government competence in dealing with the virus.

Below is a comprehensive compendium of research, media commentary and Interpreter articles from Lowy Institute experts and commentators from around the world dealing with Coronavirus.

The Quad needs a futures focus

If there is a cumulative lesson from the past few years, it’s that the era of “polycrises” is firmly upon us. A polycrisis is defined as the net effect from the non-linear interaction of many systemic risks spanning several natural and human-designed systems. One is playing out right in front

Lies, damn lies, and North Korea’s Covid statistics

More than two years since North Korea locked down its border in January 2020 and went on to record zero Covid-19 cases and deaths across all the months since, the country last week admitted to a coronavirus outbreak that it claims began in late April. The latest figures from North Korea’s state

Shanghai lockdown prompts collective action

The Shanghai lockdown following a Covid-19 outbreak last month saw the most stringent restrictions placed upon a Chinese city since the pandemic began. Although Chinese civil society may be heavily circumscribed, a stituation exacerbated by Covid, civic action and protests have continued to occur

Asia’s Covid waste dilemma

For the last couple of years, virtually every news feed or broadcast has included images of mask-clad people or health workers suited up as protection from Covid-19. While the images might be ephemeral, those masks and personal protective equipment (PPE), along with used test kits and discarded

Novak Djokovic – a symbol for anti-vaxxers?

After the Czech doubles player Renata Voracova was deported from Australia last week following her visa cancellation for not meeting a requirement for non-citizens to be vaccinated against Covid-19, it became obvious that Novak Djokovic would soon be subject to the same fate. The Australian

When no shots are heard around the world

Time may be linear, but history really can play tricks and throw up oddities of connection. Take the tennis. Just over a century ago – a Sunday, 28 June 1914, a 19-year-old named Gavrilo Princip shot dead Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, and his wife Sophie in

Covid in Asia: the immediate payoff of donating vaccines

Covid-19 has loomed large over everything again this year and the new Omicron variant is a warning that there is still plenty of fight left in the virus. But the pandemic is ultimately an economic and geopolitical story as well as a health threat. Donations of vaccines and the economic impacts of

Forecasting vaccination in the Pacific

While Australia reopens to the world, its Pacific neighbours continue to face the dire consequences of the pandemic. Despite a guaranteed flow of vaccines thanks in large part to Australia, widespread coverage for some Pacific nations is far from reach. Early in the crisis, Pacific countries were

Politics and Covid-19 funds in Papua New Guinea

In 2020, Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape directed 20 per cent of the District Services Improvement Program funds (DSIP), which are paid to the 89 open MPs representing the district electorates, to be spent on health. The government then allocated an additional K2 million in 2020 to

Vietnam had seemingly conquered Covid. Then Delta spread

Ho Chi Minh City and the wider south in Vietnam finished its 24-hour-a-day Covid-19 lockdown of three months last week, allowing people to venture out to buy food rather than wait for soldiers to coordinate deliveries to their homes. Soldiers had manned barricades between precincts as part of social

Zooming out of digital diplomacy

We’re firmly entrenched in an era of hybrid diplomacy, floating between in-person and videoconference diplomacy. In speaking to those in the game, three facts have come to light: there’s no turning back; videoconferences are inadequate; and the only way out, is forward. Foreign ministries have

Australia should donate surplus vaccine to Indonesia

In the middle of this pandemic, every vaccine is precious. Australia should give its spare locally-made AstraZeneca vaccines to friends in Indonesia. Indonesia has a vacuum of need for vaccines that is predominantly being filled by China, and yet Australia happens to have millions of spare doses

Indonesia: painted politics

Street art has been much discussed across Indonesia’s airwaves in the last couple of months. Three spray-painted murals expressing a critical perspective on the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic were quickly covered over by officials, igniting heated debates about free expression

Whipping the Covid-19 vaccine market into shape

The question of equitable Covid-19 vaccine distribution is likely to be an important topic of discussion at the upcoming G20 Heads of State and Government Summit in Rome during late October. As the cost of a Covid-19 vaccine ranges from US$2–$40, it averages around US$35 to fully vaccinate a

Beyond Fortress Australia

The reality of living in a pandemic has dawned on Australia. Covid cases at the time of writing are high and still climbing. The virus is here to stay. Equally clear is that ring-fencing the country from the world — the ‘Fortress Australia’ policy — is no longer viable

Diagnosing Indonesia’s health challenges

In July, Indonesia was dubbed one of the global epicentres for Covid-19. Media reports warned of a health system collapse and cemeteries overwhelmed with burial demands. But a little more than a month later, Indonesia’s situation seems to be improving. The second week of September marked seven

A blockchain solution to Covid-19 vaccine scams

High global demand and a shortfall in supply for some Covid-19 vaccines have contributed to booming trade in counterfeits. Interpol has called out the risk of fake Covid-19 medicines and products including vaccines, tests and protective clothing. In August, the World Health Organisation issued an

Why politics and pandemics don’t mix

Book review: Michael Lewis The Premonition: A Pandemic Story (W. W. Norton & Company, 2021) Way back in October 2019, before most anyone had heard of Covid-19, a group of experts from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and The Economist Intelligence

Australia should scale up its vaccine diplomacy

In the 1950s, an unlikely friendship grew between US medical researcher Albert Sabin and Soviet microbiologist and virologist Mikhail Chumakov. Their mutual trust and esteem resulted in a US developed vaccine against crippling polio being tested on millions of people in the Soviet Union.

Cruising into stormy weather

Cruise ships became an unhappy herald of global distress in the first weeks of the pandemic. The virus leapt from deck to deck in the close quarters of these huge floating palaces. Ship owners scrambled. Where once cheerful and cashed-up tourists had been welcomed by their thousands, vessels were

Sun, surf and a sandbox escape from a pandemic

Before the pandemic, Thai island Phuket offered visitors the perfect blend of sun, beach and seedy-but-fun nightlife as one of the region’s best-known tourist destinations. Now, it offers visitors something much more novel: a quarantine free holiday. As of the start of July, fully vaccinated

Covid crisis deepens in junta-ruled Myanmar

A worsening third wave of Covid-19 is a cruel new blow in Myanmar, still reeling from the human costs of the coup on 1 February, and with a military junta more focused on combatting dissent than combatting the virus. Thousands of new cases have arisen since late May, and the Delta, Alpha and Kappa

Aiding the Pacific during Covid: An update

More than a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, how much outside financial support is the Pacific receiving and how far does this go in helping the region weather the crisis? This time last year in The Interpreter we took stock of the provision of Covid-19 related external financial assistance to the

Putting the pandemic in perspective

Book Review: Fareed Zakaria, Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World (Penguin, 2021) Perhaps the most original contribution of Fareed Zakaria’s new book Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World is his “general theory” of Covid-19. Zakaria looks back 20 years to the political

Thailand’s overcrowded prisons hit by Covid-19 surge

Thailand emerged from the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic as one of the best performing countries in the world in terms of minimising cases and deaths. But 2021 has been a different story. A surge in infections since the beginning of April has seen thousands of new cases each day and a spike

When border control goes over the line

The failure of the Australian government to return citizens and permanent residents from New Delhi on the first repatriation flight to Darwin since the recent shutdown of air travel from India amounts to an Australian policy failure and a breach of international law. A travel ban on direct flights

Patent waiver for vaccines is a plus, but no panacea

The United States has thrown its support behind demands from developing countries to temporarily waive intellectual property (IP) rights for Covid-19 vaccines. Other rich countries, including Australia, that are yet to change their position at the World Trade Organisation should also do so with the

India’s Covid-19 wave is spreading south

Images of the pandemic in Delhi that currently saturate the international media depict ailing patients struggling to find beds, oxygen and medical attention. Amid a highly privatised healthcare terrain with underfunded public hospitals, access to Delhi’s hospitals has long depended on one’s own&

Closed borders: The unequal waiting game

The experience of crossing national borders has always been defined by inequality. A hierarchy of mobility determined those who were free and facilitated to move and those who faced many hurdles and restrictions to prevent them leaving home. But Covid-19 has challenged this mobility hierarchy.

India’s power illusion

India was proud to boast about being the “world’s pharmacy” as the coronavirus pandemic unfolded, particularly after other members in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue asked India to mass-produce Covid-19 vaccines for export across the world. Indeed, high-minded government decrees about

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