Just months after reports emerged of a novel coronavirus spreading in central China, our world, and all of our individual worlds, have been transformed by what has become a terrifying pandemic. Governments around the globe are taking unprecedented steps to restrict movement and limit social contact among their populations to contain the virus’s spread. Growing numbers of the world’s inhabitants are now living in either voluntary or imposed isolation, or preparing to.
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Three years ago, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on warring parties to “put armed conflict on lockdown” to allow health workers to fight COVID-19. The call for a global cease-fire created a glimmer of hope during the early days of the pandemic. But today it feels like a historical footnote from a very different time.
The EU failed to agree to a bloc-wide policy to require pre-departure coronavirus testing for travelers entering from China, amid a new wave of COVID-19 infections there. France, Italy and Spain already require a negative test result for travelers from China, but the EU was unable to agree on a similar requirement.
Recent protests in China drew comparisons to the political demonstrations of 1989, as well as to more localized and group-specific protests since 1990. This raises questions of how the present protests differ from previous ones, whether they represent a new type of protest, and how outside policymakers can best respond to them.