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The Maastricht Diplomat

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Halloween: Is the nightmare that is a pandemic ending?

[Halloween] The All Hallows’ Eve is approaching. Some might stay in and enjoy some technicolour world spookiness. Some might want to dress up and bring the thrilling mood of this night to the streets and homes themselves. As an increasing amount of COVID-19 vaccinations have taken place, many clubs are, once again, opening their gates to the creatures of the night. Entrance criteria regarding COVID-19, such as a full vaccination, a valid recovery statement or a negative test result and the government opening rules implied. In the past few weeks, the Halloween spirits have been lifting and Halloween party tickets have become as popular as toilet paper was at the beginning of the pandemic. This whirlwind of holiday spirit and post-pandemic enthusiasm might overpower the fact that we are not “post” the pandemic yet.

[COVID-19 Vaccinations] Speaking of the virus that seems to have been the epicentre of all our lives, one might wonder how the COVID-19 vaccines are distributed globally. How many people have received the vaccine yet? How many are fully vaccinated? Do people even have equal access to vaccines? Let me hook you up with some numbers.

To be frank, not all countries have access to vaccines. 184 have access to COVID-19 vaccines. Generally, 49.4% of the world population has received a minimum of one dose, but no more than 3.6% of the population of low-income countries has been vaccinated at this point. In total, 7.04 billion vaccines were administered around the world. Daily, 25.49 million people are being vaccinated.

Although great progress has taken place in this realm, it is evident that low-income countries have distinctly poor access to vaccines. This issue needs to be tackled, which is why it is part of the G20 Leaders’ Summit taking place this weekend.

[Group of 20 Leaders’ Summit] Rome, 30th of October 2021, major economies of the world come together at the G20 Summit and discuss international matters. The G20 emerged in 1999. The 20 countries that form this alliance make up 80% of the worldwide gross domestic product (GDP). Representatives of these countries have been regularly meeting ever since. This year, the main focus is said to lie on how to further develop the manner in which COVID-19 is approached, how to better prepare for future major challenges related to health, climate change (global warming, carbon neutrality), and the international tax system.

[UN Climate Change Conference] The 26th UN Climate Change Conference is taking place in Glasgow from the 31st until the 12th of November 2021. At COP26, different parties meet to discuss and find common ground and solutions in favour of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate.

[Facebook turning Meta] Facebook has changed its name to Meta. The social networking site will keep its established name, but the company has decided to move forward by a change in marketing. The Facebook company has expanded since its beginnings. It has acquired WhatsApp and Instagram throughout the years and it has invested in many more technologies. The company is rebranding in order to introduce the “Metaverse”, a virtual world to plug into. Meta is a prefix indicating a higher level or advancement. Sceptics are of the opinion that the company decided to rebrand in order to avoid the negative headlines around the Facebook name.


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