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Using smartphones to track and trace during the Covid-19 epidemic creates a smokescreen for wider surveillance measures that may infringe people’s right to privacy. Human rights activists are concerned that such data can be used to discriminate against migrants, refugees, and on racial grounds.

Fifty-five years after the death of the French author Albert Camus, and at a time when Ebola was raging in West Africa, the British journalist Ed Vulliamy wrote a glowing tribute about one of the writer’s best-known books first published in 1947. “Of all Camus’ novels, none described man’s confrontation – and cohabitation – with death so vividly and on such an epic scale as La Peste, translated as The Plague.”1

By Philip Lee

A paradox was evident during the coronavirus pandemic. People turned to digital technologies to be in communication and yet felt increasingly out of communication. Self-isolating people became distanced from the socio-cultural environment in which they were accustomed to live and it began to appear alien. To adapt the well-known saying from L. P. Hartley’s novel The Go-Between (1953), the present became a foreign country, where they did things differently.

By Marites N. Sison

A sampling of news headlines, five months after the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic, shows media and institutions finally catching up to the gender dimensions of the novel coronavirus: Covid-19 crisis could set women back decades, experts fear; Why Covid-19 is a disaster for gender equality; Decades of progress on gender equality in the workplace at risk of vanishing; Women essential in fight against pandemic.