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World Coronavirus Dispatch: Asias medical tourism suffers heavy losses

World’s most-vaccinated nation slaps curbs as cases rise

Seychelles, which has fully vaccinated over 60 per cent of its population has reintroduced restrictions to curb the fresh surge in cases. This indicates a long haul for the world, which has bet big on vaccinations to bid good bye to the virus. The country has shut schools, barred household gathering among several other measures. The number of active cases in the nation rose to 1,068 on May 3 from 612 on April 28, according to the health ministry. The Indian Ocean archipelago, which has a population of about 98,000, is dependent on tourism for much of its foreign exchange and acted quickly to begin vaccinations in January. Read here

Let’s look at the global statistics

Global infections: 156,088,575

Global deaths: 3,256,675

Nations with most cases: US (32,605,019), India (21,491,598), Brazil (15,003,563), France (5,789,283), Turkey (4,977,982).

Source: John Hopkins Research Center

US vaccine patent surprise roils global pharma industry

Pharma executives reacted with anger and their stock prices tumbled worldwide as Biden announced that he will support sharing vaccine technology so that there will be equal access across the world. Joining the US, France and China signalled a willingness to take part in the debate at the World Trade Organization (WHO). The US and Europe have been strong supporters of Intellectual Property (IP) protections at the WTO, particularly as a way to enforce problems like Chinese patent infringement. Read here

New York City plans a $25 million programme to put artists back to work

New York City is launching a new program to provide funding to artists for public works, an effort to lend financial support to artists whose income plummeted during the pandemic and who have clamored for government relief. Officials said the city will spend $25 million on the program, which is expected to create jobs for more than 1,500 artists in New York City. The program, the City Artist Corps, will give money to artists, musicians and other performers to create works across the city, whether through public art, performances, pop-up shows, murals or other community arts projects. Read here

Asia’s medical tourism catches cold

As travel restrictions forced medical tourists to stay away, the pandemic has dealt a massive blow to revenues of large hospital chains in Southeast Asian countries as profits plunged. Hospitals in Asia and other emerging regions have attracted overseas patients by offering advanced health care for cheaper prices than in developed countries. Worldwide, the market for medical tourism shrank 48 per cent in 2020, according to a UK-based market research firm. Some of the largest hospital chains in Bangkok suffered heavy losses as profits plunged. Travel restrictions were responsible for up to a 75 per cent decrease in Malaysian medical tourism revenues last year. Read here

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