Eurasia Group | World in a Week: 27 April 2020

World in a Week: 27 April 2020

27 April 2020
Eurasia Group's World in a Week summary of top stories for the week of 27 April 2020. Images courtesy of REUTERS, FLICKR, and CREATIVE COMMONS.
From immunity passports to rumors about North Korea, here are the top stories Eurasia Group's analysts are following this week.


  • Top story: Yay or nay on immunity passports
  • Why it matters: As more serological testing results come in, demonstrating who does and does not have Covid-19 antibodies, governments will grapple with the tricky question of what to do with people that have antibodies. Expert consensus around this issue (How strong is immunity? How long does it last?) does not yet exist and the accuracy of the tests remains a big question. But interest in immunity passports from citizens is high and many governments may start moving forward with this activity before confidence in its safety and utility rises

Middle East & North Africa

  • Top story: How governments across the region adjust restrictions on freedom of movement and economic support packages at the start of the month of Ramadan as well as how societies react to restrictions during the usually festive season
  • Why it matters: Ramadan is usually a month of gatherings, festivities, and exchange and holds symbolic significance for people across the Middle East and North Africa. The inability to hold traditional prayers and gatherings could cause tensions to spike between communities and authorities given building frustration over economic shutdowns, even if relative stability and calm is more likely.

Northeast Asia



  • Top story: South Africa's five-week lockdown ends on Thursday, 30 April, followed by a very gradual opening of the economy.
  • Why it matters: The economic and social impact of the unusually restrictive lockdown has been considerable and threatens stability. While restrictions on movement and social gatherings remain, an additional 10% of workers—or 1.5 million people—will at least be able to start working again.

North America

  • Top story: Fed meeting
  • Why it matters: The Federal Reserve Bank meeting and Chairman Jay Powell's subsequent press conference will reveal the US central bank's assessment of current conditions and any next macroeconomic steps they will take to try to cushion the broad economic fallout caused by coronavirus.

South & Southeast Asia

  • Top story: India's nationwide lockdown comes to an end.
  • Why it matters: India's nationwide lockdown is set to end on 3 May (though the state of Telangana has extended its lockdown until 7 May). This was the single largest lockdown due to coronavirus (approximately 1.3 billion people). The government's focus is now shifting to how to get the economy restarted; India's economy had already slowed considerably prior to coronavirus; the situation has been further exacerbated (as it has globally). The government has allowed some limited economic activity to begin, but a full reopening of the economy is unlikely in the near future, as districts will be classified according to three colors, and restrictions will remain in place for districts which have a high number of cases. To help support both industry and those most affected by coronavirus, it is likely that the government will announce additional economic measures this week, which will focus on rehabilitation and recovery following the end of the lockdown.


  • Top story: Possible virtual meeting between foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany
  • Why it matters: The 30 April virtual meeting would take place under the “Normandy Format” and involve a discussion on ending the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. A meeting could help address disputes between Moscow and Kyiv that have held back a follow-up discussion by heads of state on their December 2019 summit in Paris.


  • Top story: President's intervention in federal police
  • Why it matters: Justice Minister Sergio Moro resigned last week, accusing the president of trying to take control over investigations targeting his family, which is an impeachable offense. The president chose two aides close to him as replacements, indicating he is seriously concerned about investigations getting closer to his inner circle. An impeachment process seems unlikely for now, as President Bolsonaro is still approved of by around a third of the electorate.
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