By Umamah Bakharia
The omicron variant in Asia Pacific
Countries across Asia are tightening entry requirements and quarantine rules for travelers in response to the Omicron variant.
Malaysia and the Philippines have totally banning the entry of travelers from high risk countries from southern Africa.
When Japan reported its first case, it was planning to do impose lighter restrictions but decided that harder restrictions will be suitable at this time. Hong-Kong also followed suit.
“The variant has thrown the world into a complete chaos where even if there was a sense of normality, it’s gone back to a complete lockdown in parts of Asia,” says Naidoo.
Hunger nightmares in Asia
As world food prices hit their highest level for a decade, Asians are feeling being affected in ways unique to their economies.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, world food prices last month hit their highest level since 2011.
“There’s been a whole kind of redefining what is going on [in the economy],” says Naidoo.
In countries like Singapore, they are very careful to put meat on the table. In India they have been using lamp oil in the food. In the Philippines people are contemplating how much vegetables to buy.
“With spike in oil and the cost of petrol, logistics and supply chains have actually increased this has now created a ‘knock on’ effect for hunger and the poor is suffering,” says Naidoo.
India has repealed farmer laws but farmers continue protesting
“There was a lot of pressure on PM Narendra Modi and as much as they have tried to push this into law, the protests by farmers in India emphatic so they had to pull back the law,” says Naidoo.
The farmers in India are saying that this is not the end. They add that they want to be able to have much more flexibility to determine price at market and not constantly be fighting this battle with the laws.
“The farmers in India have decided that it’s not enough to repeal the law, they need more rights and they need their rights to be exercised in a much more applicable and affirmative way,” says Naidoo.