In today's episode, we will examine the COVID situation in the United Kingdom as the country plans to reopen its economy next week, look into developments for talks between Iran and the USA, and discuss Australia and New Zealand’s one-of-a-kind travel bubble.
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced this week that the country plans to reopen its economy next week, starting with the reopening of all shops, gyms, hairdressers, and outdoor hospitality areas in England. International travel, however, would continue to be restricted, and invite hefty fines. While Europe is under attack from a fresh COVID wave prompting several countries including France to declare or extend new lockdown measures, a swift vaccination program by the UK has created room for the country to plan a road map for businesses to reopen. To help companies access finance, the United Kingdom plans to launch a government-backed loan scheme offering maximum loans of approximately $14 million.
- Iran and western powers engaged in constructive talks last Tuesday. The USA, which withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal in 2018 under then-president Donald Trump, was, however, not present in the meeting. After agreeing on the 25-year deal, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani had said that cooperation with China was very important for the implementation of the JCPOA. China, which had seen its relationship with the US hit rock bottom under President Trump, had voiced strong support for Tehran, notifying the security council that it did not recognize the US move. Russia and the three European Nations had supported China in trying to uphold the failing agreement.
- Australia and New Zealand will create a quarantine and COVID-testing free travel bubble from April 19 according to an announcement by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Jacinda Arden was elected to a second term as Prime Minister with an overwhelming majority last year due to her effective response to the coronavirus with New Zealand recording a little over 2,000 confirmed cases and a total of 26 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Meanwhile, Australia has recorded about 29,000 cases and a little over 900 deaths.
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