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A Virtual Journey Around the World: Week 16

Covid-19 raises and amplifies ethical questions for every citizen and every country in the world. Reflecting on some of the places visited just over the last 7 days. The Pacific nation of Palau is one of the few countries globally with no cases of coronavirus, having closed its borders on 22nd March. 143 Palau citizens are trapped overseas, leading to a debate about the rights of these citizens to return versus the need to keep its population safe. Efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 within communities in Palestine are impacted by ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel. Norway, with its significant reliance on the tourism economy, opened up its borders, with no quarantine requirement on 15th July, to most European countries with lower levels of infection.

Virtually visiting 1 UNESCO World Heritage Site in each country every day. As of today, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the countries visited is 7,930,244 (UN World Health Organisation). All but 5 of these countries have reported cases, and all but 12 at least 1 death. 352,343 people are known to have died in these countries ‘visited’ to date, although even a brief review of the statistics suggests real numbers are distorted due to differential access to testing. Globally over 15 million cases have been reported worldwide (1.5 million more than a week ago), with 619,150 deaths. Behind each of these numbers are human lives lost and changed forever.

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