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Coronavirus, U.S.-China Feud, Climate Change: Your Friday Briefing

2020-07-24 05:28:11
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Good morning.

We’re covering the U.S. passing 4 million cases, a stumbling reopening in Spain and climate change prompting a global migration.

West End: On Thursday, 640 theatergoers attended the first performance in London since March (even giving a very unBritish whoop). But some producers say further shows are unlikely until social distancing ends.

What we’re reading: BuzzFeed News’s Q. and A. with coronavirus experts on whether they’re taking vacations, and if so, how. “A lot of them are too busy to take off, which many of us in news can relate to,” says the Briefings editor, Andrea Kannapell. “But some of them are, and I plan to follow their advice.”

With more than 70,000 infections and 1,800 deaths, the Philippines has been hit hard by the coronavirus. President Rodrigo Duterte has empowered the police to go home to home searching for the sick and has warned that anyone not wearing a mask will be arrested.

Jason Gutierrez, who is based in Manila, spoke to our colleagues from the Coronavirus Briefing about the government’s heavy-handed approach.

What is the status of the virus in the Philippines?

The government hasn’t really been upfront about what’s happening. President Duterte just said that all we can do is wait for the experts in the United States or China to develop a vaccine and basically advised the public to follow the rules or risk arrest.

Our Health Ministry is seen by many as really inefficient. It lets Mr. Duterte say what he wants to say and does not clarify it in public.

What is the situation in Manila?

People in the city have to go through checkpoints, and cops go around some areas in fatigues, like they’re going into battle. Some carry large firearms. It’s worrying because it’s militarizing the response.

In some areas, especially the impoverished parts, people are really afraid to leave their homes and are basically told to just wait it out for food and medical advice or risk being arrested.

What has the response been to President Duterte saying the police would arrest people who didn’t wear masks?

In a lot of places, you see people in public always wearing medical masks. Ironically, he does not wear a mask whenever he meets his officials, and he only wore a mask when he made that threat.

Militarizing the response is probably his way of telling the public that he, as a strongman president, is doing something.


That’s it for this briefing. Let RZA’s guided explorations take you away. Have a great weekend.

— Isabella


Thank you
To Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected].

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the deployment of federal forces to U.S. cities.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: So-called “rabbit food” (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times is acquiring Serial Productions, a group of long-form audio journalists, and has formed a creative and strategic alliance with “This American Life,” a show that transformed audio journalism.

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