How The World Is Faring

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Media outlets report on news from India, England, Germany, Poland, Indonesia, France, Japan, New Zealand and elsewhere.

Millions Of Women Lose Contraceptives, Abortions In COVID-19

Millions of women and girls globally have lost access to contraceptives and abortion services because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now the first widespread measure of the toll says India with its abrupt, months-long lockdown has been hit especially hard. Several months into the pandemic, many women now have second-trimester pregnancies because they could not find care in time. (Ghosal and Anna, 8/19)

Britain To Bring In Mass Testing To Curb Spread Of COVID-19 

Britain plans to bring in regular, population-wide testing for COVID-19 so it can suppress the spread of the virus and limit restrictions that have crippled one of the worst hit countries in the world. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government was trialing a range of new, faster tests that can give instant results and hoped to roll them out towards the end of the year. (Young and Holton, 8/19)

UK Scraps Public Health Body Amid Criticized Virus Response

The British government announced Tuesday it is scrapping a public health agency that has taken blame for the country’s uneven response to the coronavirus.Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the work of Public Health England will become part of a new body, the National Institute for Health Protection, which will guard against infectious diseases and biosecurity threats. (8/18)

Germany’s Merkel Against Relaxing Of Virus Rules

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken out against further relaxing coronavirus restrictions in the country, citing the recent rise in the number of new cases.Merkel says Germany is “in the middle of the pandemic” and called on Germans to respect social distancing and hygiene rules. Speaking after a meeting with the governor and ministers of North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, Merkel expressed support for uniform rules for some aspects of the pandemic. (8/18)

Polish Health Minister, Key Official In Virus Fight, Resigns

Poland’s health minister, a doctor who has been a leading figure in the government’s fight against the coronavirus, resigned Tuesday following questions about the procurement of questionable medical equipment. Dr. Lukasz Szumowski, a cardiologist, announced at a news conference in Warsaw that he was stepping down to return to practicing medicine but would remain in his role as a member of parliament. (8/18)

Indonesia Capital Displays Dummy Coffin As COVID-19 Warning 

Authorities in Indonesia’s capital are experimenting with some shock tactics to fight COVID-19, by displaying an empty coffin at a busy intersection as a reminder of the dangers of the highly contagious virus. The words “COVID-19 victim” are painted red on the casket on display in one district of Jakarta, which is the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in Indonesia. (Purnomo and Ardiansyah, 8/19)

France Mandating Masks At All Workplaces As Virus Reawakens

France is now mandating masks in all workplaces, from the Paris business district to factories in the provinces, as it tries to contain growing virus infections but avoid shutting down the economy. Tuesday’s announcement by the Labor Ministry makes France one of relatively few countries in the world that’s universally requiring workers to wear masks on the job, though they’re routinely worn in many Asian countries and increasingly required in public places beyond. (Charlton, 8/18)

Japan PM Abe Returns To Office After Health Exam, Says Ready To Work

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned to his office on Wednesday, telling reporters he was ready to work two days after undergoing a medical check-up at a Tokyo hospital. “I underwent a medical examination to make sure my health was in good shape, and now I’m ready to get back to work and do my best,” Abe told reporters on entering the prime minister’s office. (8/19)

In updates from New Zealand —

New Zealand Court Rules Part Of Early Coronavirus Lockdown Was Illegal 

A New Zealand court on Wednesday found the first nine days of a hard lockdown put in place by the government earlier this year requiring people to isolate at home was justified, but unlawful. The ruling comes after Wellington lawyer Andrew Borrowdale challenged the legality of steps taken in the early stages of the five-week lockdown, including calls by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and other officials between March 26 and April 3 telling New Zealanders to stay at home. (Menon, 8/18)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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