Dr Owain Williams By: Dr Owain Williams
Lecturer in IR and Human Security
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22 Mar 2020 : Cruise Ships and LMICs

Had the day off yesterday to catch up on work in Leeds and in website development. The Naarch Whatsapp group is hilarious and keeps me sane. Kylie and I are really not seeing each other by design. But it is pleasant enough here, like living in a cave in some ways. Finding it weird to do basic things like going outside to bins. The cruise ship situation in Australia and internationally is just sad and absurd. People are now stuck on massive petrie dishes having commenced cruises in the first weeks of March. Unimaginable stupidity, but I guess if governments are saying BAU people, some people will follow. We can expect mass infections, airlifts for the lucky I suppose. Australia and WA are showing high levels of callousness on the news. They do not want to import new infections and are currently talking of refusing entry. It is also striking that COVID-19 is starting to present in ‘vulnerable countries’: Mozambique, Syria (first case today), and Vietnam all tracking. Imagine the refugee camps and destroyed infrastructures in Syria – it does not bear thinking about. Yemen! It was announced that Harvey Weinstein is infected having tested positive in prison. There are over a million prisoners in the USA, it will rapidly descend into an awful, nightmare scenario. New York seems to be really suffering. New Zealand has announced it is locking down for 4 weeks, although I am not sure how stringent this will be.

But now conscious that this diary could well drift to synthesis of the news and headline epi data. That is inevitable to some degree, but I should also try and build in some space for reflection, and also for work. Not for the first time I am grateful for being paid and employed. Virgin Atlantic is cap in hand to the government for airline bailout with mass redundancies of staff. Richard Branson has a net worth of $40 billion.

I realise by evening I have not showered all day. Many in LMICs will be suffering. Water, sanitation, hand to mouth pay checks, food insecurities, will all interact. Those with TB and HIV will continue to tank or die. I hope ARV supply chain has some gas in it, otherwise it will be awful. I know Indian generics need APIs from China, whatever bravado they are putting out there. Levels of DV are also seeming to spiral, the awful truth of abusive partners being locked up with you, many drunk or just violent. It makes me shudder. Meeting tonight with Leeds colleagues on Masters of IPE. Such a great bunch of people. Good to see Richard. Day off tomorrow for mental health.

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