Tag Archives: coronavirus

Global inflation rates on the rise

Global inflation rates have soared as a consequence of the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 global pandemic. Both the UK and US have reported high inflation increases this year in comparison to last. The Labor Department in the US reported recently that April 202 had seen the fastest increase in 12 years. This was due to the economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis that has pushed food, energy and fuel prices higher than usual. 

Inflation has been previously down as lockdown restrictions in many places as a result of the pandemic had kept many people at home and reduced demand for the energy and fuel that usually keeps our highstreets running. In comparison to usual spending habits, this lack of demand saw prices for commodities like petrol decrease. 

As life begins to return to normal around the world, with many places able to lift lockdown restrictions thanks to lower numbers of case rates for coronavirus. This means people are back to work or out travelling to see family and the demand for energy and fuel has subsequently increased. Petrol prices are now reaching an all time high as reopening around the world puts pressure on global supply chains. Compared to last year, gasoline saw a jump of 49.6 % in price, and of 37.5 % for fuel oil. 

Pressure has been on energy prices also as consumers have seen a 25% rise in overall energy prices in the US. This could be due to the higher demand on energy from people staying at home and individuals consuming more energy than in a shared workplace or school as a result. 

Numbers on inflation are expected to be volatile and not representative over the next few months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Where there was an almost full shutdown of the US economy last year, which caused a low rate of inflation, the added pressure this year comes as everything starts to reopen and demand returns to normal.

WHO asks for more COVAX funding

COVAX, is the abbreviated term for the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access from the World Health Organisation (WHO). It is the organised effort by the global health authoritative body on the fight against the ongoing crisis of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic across the world. Not only does COVAX work with companies to secure vaccine doses for developing and low income countries, but also with developed, high income countries to find the funding needed to purchase and distribute said doses.

For many nations and their peoples around the world, the COVAX vaccine programme might be their only chance of accessing a vaccine. Lower income countries are unable to secure high amounts of the vaccine by themselves, and for many nations the vaccine rollout has been slow and limited so far to frontline and healthcare workers. The WHO has repeatedly stressed the need for a coordinated and united world approach to solving the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has fallen on deaf ears in many places. 

Countries such as the United Kingdom, United States of America and Israel, have all been accused of stockpiling the vaccine. Reports in the United Kingdom suggest the government has used the British manufacturing of the Pfizer vaccine to ensure there is even a spare dose available for British nationals. This caused tension with countries in the European Union, which the United Kingdom has only recently left, who accused the small island of a selfish and ultimately stupid approach. 

WHO has now come out to ask for over two billion United States Dollars in extra funding for the COVAX programme. COVAX vaccines were first delivered to Ghana on the African continent on the 24th February, 2021. Since then the programme has reached over 100 economies with the life-saving vaccine. Through the COVAX programme, an estimated 38 million doses so far have reached individuals, protecting them from the deadly virus. However, there will be much more support required from higher income countries if the programme is to continue successfully.

Charity shops see business boom as lockdowns end

Across the world people have been locked indoors due to social distancing restrictions because of the ongoing global crisis of the coronavirus COVID-19. It seems that many people have spent that time spring cleaning their homes, with donations to charity shops after the first lockdowns booming. With second and third lockdowns around the world finally lifting it seems charity shops once again are seeing record highs in sales. 

Robin Osterley of the Charity Retail Association (CRA) told the Observer newspaper in England: “We’re anticipating very strong trading when we open up.” Thoughts followed that there would be an especially high number of donations following the Christmas period, as well as people who may have found themselves having done slightly too much online shopping in the past year. 

With social distancing and lockdown restrictions in place to restrict the transmission of COVID-19, charity shops have had to keep their doors closed through most of the year as they were counted as unessential businesses. As a result, shops in the UK were reportedly losing more than 28 million gbp a month since March 2020

In the UK however reports to the BBC described queues outside of high street charity shops with people eager to get in and look inside. Save the Children was one charity that reported a roughly 100% increase in sales for the same period last year. Some suggest the demand comes from the rise in number of people out of work or with reduced income, while others look at the closure of highstreet shops and high online prices as one reason people may be scouring for a bargain. Increased awareness for sustainability could also be another motivating reason for people to be buying second hand and used items. 

There is potentially a mis-match between supply and demand however, as reports were that large amounts of smart clothes were donated, suggesting the trend for comfort loungewear seems set to continue.