– Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Health workers in Japan are worried the economic shock caused by the coronavirus pandemic will see a return to the 14 dark years from 1998 when more than 30,000 people killed themselves annually.
National suicides fell 20% year-on-year in April, the first month of Japan’s soft lockdown, but experts said that was likely due to an internationally recognised phenomenon in which suicides decrease during crises, only to rise afterwards.
“We need to take steps now, before the deaths begin,” said Hisao Sato, head of an NGO that provides counselling and economic advice in Akita, a northern prefecture long known for Japan’s worst suicide rate.
It’s not just U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweets that are being fact-checked.
Twitter has also flagged a tweet written in March by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian that suggested the U.S. military brought the novel coronavirus to China, posting a blue exclamation mark under it with a comment urging readers to check the facts about COVID-19.
Clicking on the link directed readers to a page with the headline, “WHO says evidence suggests COVID-19 originated in animals and was not produced in a lab”.
Closed climbing season
Nepal’s Sherpa guides, famed for being the backbone of mountain expeditions in the Himalayas, have also found their livelihood hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
Many have returned to their villages, hiking officials say, as climbing and trekking activities have been suspended since March, and some are looking ahead with hope to the less popular autumn climbing season, which lasts from September to November.
Friday is the anniversary of the day Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa, and New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary became the first people to climb the 8,850-metre (29,035-foot) high Mount Everest in 1953.
Honouring migrant workers
A five-member band based in Shenzhen’s industrial Henggang area is making it their mission to document the life and culture of migrant labour as lower-end manufacturers are being pushed out of the city due to economic pressures exacerbated by the coronavirus.
Zhong-D-Yin’s songs tell of the lives of workers in crowded dormitories, loneliness, romance and risking injuries. The band is preparing for its first post-virus performance next month.
“We want to memorialise those lost, so that people in the future know their lives matter,” said bass player Huang Xiaona, who is also a social worker.