Actions by Governments
- Argentina – A 2,452-bed health center has been opened in Tecnopolis for patients with Covid-19. (TELAM)
- Australia – Government has banned price gouging and exploitative exports of personal protective equipment. (The National Law Review)
- Germany calls on migrant medics to help tackle coronavirus. (The Guardian)
- Indian government extends lockdown till May 3, PM Modi announces during address to nation. (India Blooms)
- Malaysia will begin arresting violators of the Movement Control Order. (Lowyat.net)
- Mali – The government has made the Sébéninkoro Polyclinic available to Covid-19 patients. (Africain.info)
- US – The National Institute of Health wants 10,000 volunteers to study the pervasiveness of coronavirus. (Science Times)
- US – FDA has approved the first saliva-based coronavirus test. (The Hill)
- US – The USAF has flown the first Covid-19 positive patients using isolation pods. (Air Force Association)
- US – Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has allowed five poultry plants to run their slaughter lines at higher speeds. (Bloomberg)
Actions by Companies
- Barclays’ top bosses give up a third of their paychecks for six months. (Banking Tech)
- BP bosses give 20% of pay to mental health charities amid Covid-19 crisis. (Upstreamonline.com)
- eBay has offered free ‘online shop window’ for SMEs during lockdown. (Toyworld Magazine)
- Google has added a ‘nearby spot’ feature to Google Pay to help people in India find nearby food during lockdown. (The Register)
- Louis Vuitton has reopened a workshop to produce PPE masks and gowns. (Metro.co.uk)
- Lenovo has offered a free 75 day global warranty extension. (IT-Online)
- M&S has donated thousands of NHS branded t-shirts to teams at the NHS Nightingale London. (CWB-Online.co)
- Pizza Hut, KFC and McDonald’s are serving meals to medical, frontline staff at government hospitals in India. (Dailyhunt)
- Rio Tinto labs turn out hand sanitiser. (Mining Monthly)
- Siemens Gamesa and Vestas restart in Spain as coronavirus lockdown eases. (RechargeNews.com)
Signs of Recovery?
- Apple – iPhone China shipments rebound as manufacturing resumes. (Bloomberg)
- Boeing begins reopening Seattle-area defence facilities. (Jane’s)
- Glencore studying restart options for nickel, zinc mines in Quebec. (S&PGlobal Market Intelligence)
- Hermès earns $2.7 Million in sales after a flagship store in China reopens. (Singapore Tatler)
- Inditex reopens logistics sites as Spain eases lockdown. (S&PGlobal Market Intelligence)
- Malaysia Airlines to resume flights to Sabah, Sarawak this week. (Malaysian Insight)
- Quebec’s garden centres and landscapers to reopen April 15. (Greenhouse Canada)
- WWE allowed to resume live shows after being deemed an ‘essential service’ in Florida. (Yahoo! Finance)
Drugs, Treatments & Vaccines
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University, University of Texas, Cornell University and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research have published a paper, though not yet certified by peer review, as a warning on the potential fatal toxicity of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine in combination with anti-diabetic drug metformin. The combination killed 30-40% of mice in the studies. The findings were discovered during cancer research but may have implications for any hydroxychloroquine treatment of COVID-19 patients.
Pharmaceutical groups in Britain and China have taken crucial steps forward in the development of vaccines and treatments for coronavirus.
While China approved early-stage human tests for two experimental vaccines on Tuesday, according to state media Xinhua, British firm AstraZeneca confirmed plans to launch a global clinical trial testing one of its drugs for treatment.
Analysts are weighing in on early data showing Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir improved clinical outcomes in 68% of 53 hospitalised patients with COVID-19. They note that while the findings appear promising, they are still cautious about the experimental antiviral drug’s efficacy against the novel coronavirus.
Social and Economic Impact
Annualised figures from Goldman Sachs show that advanced economies will shrink close to 35% this quarter. This is four times more than the previous record, set during the 2008 financial crisis. How quickly these economies can rebound from the drop is unknown.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has said that France’s budget deficit will also increase to 9% of GDP, as the government puts €100 billion into its economic rescue plan.
Normally the busiest in Europe, Heathrow has forecast a 90% drop in passenger volume over April, with only around 680,000 people still flying this month. The vast majority of these passengers are expected to be Britons returning home, foreign citizens repatriating, or medical experts.
COVID-19 has led to significant drops in ad revenue for the TV broadcasting industry as firms remain reluctant to spend on advertising amid the continued uncertainty. While TV broadcasters are experiencing high viewer numbers, the lack of ad revenue will still damage bottom lines.
The Japanese group is the world’s biggest technology investor and expects to lose the money through its significant investment in tech start-ups. Softbank blames its first loss in 15 years on a ‘deteriorating market environment’.
A delay in vaccination programs due to COVID-19 may result in measles outbreaks, due to the highly infectious nature of the virus. Unicef has stated that 117 million children in 37 countries may not be immunised on time.
Donald Trump denied claims that he would be firing Dr Anthony Fauci, and stated that his ‘authority is total’ when it comes to decisions on lockdown rules during the pandemic. The statement was made with reference as to whether state governors can decide to ‘open up states’, or whether they must defer to the federal government.
The leaders of ASEAN Plus Three are seeking ways to work together in fighting COVID-19, with South Korean President Moon Jae-in citing the need for ‘extraordinary cooperation’ during the pandemic.
The UK initially missed out on the procurement scheme for PPE because invitations to join the procurement’s steering committee were sent to an outdated address. European medical personnel are expecting their first $1.5 billion PPE shipment within two weeks’ time as part of a joint procurement scheme involving 25 countries and eight companies.
In a review of their World Economic Outlook, the IMF noted that global growth is projected to fall 6.3 points to -3%, making the ‘Great Lockdown’ the worst recession since the Great Depression. Assuming that policy actions are successful and the pandemic fades during the second half of 2020, a rebound in growth to 5.8% is projected.
The IMF’s executive board has approved $500 million in debt relief from the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust for 25 of the Fund’s poorest members.
Fiverr contains adverts promoting ‘coronavirus healers’ who claim to offer blessings and prayers. Other sellers are claiming that they will purchase and ship facemasks from China and Vietnam. Motherboard alerted Fiverr of the issues and the listings were subsequently removed.
Researchers at Malwarebytes analysed the recent activity of multiple APT groups, in which coronavirus-themed phishing lures are used as their infection vector. China was the first country targeted by such attacks, before they began on a global scale.
Researchers at Inky identified two malicious emails crafted to appear as if they came from President Trump. The first email announced an extended lockdown and alterations to the IRS tax deadline. The second email stated that the president was announcing ‘groundbreaking steps to slow the spread of the virus.’ The emails, which were reportedly sent from Russian attackers, linked recipients to a spoofed government site where users were encouraged to download a document laden with malware.
Researchers at CheckPoint discovered the apps hosted on recently created coronavirus-related domains. Three of the 16 apps contain the Cerberus Android banking trojan, which can steal SMS messages, log keystrokes, and more. Other applications delivered Hiddad malware, which displays adverts regardless of whether the application is in use.
Anomali researchers observed a new campaign that involves COVID-19-themed emails pretending to be from a ‘Dr. Jen’ of the Research Hospital in Israel being sent to organisations in the healthcare sector. The phishing campaign aims to deliver HawkEye malware via RTF documents.
Researchers at PhishLabs identified an email allegedly containing guidelines on ways to prevent coronavirus outbreaks. Opening the attached Excel document drops the ZeuS banking trojan.
According to Air Force Lt Gen BJ Shwedo, there has been a major increase in spear phishing attacks related to COVID-19, with hackers taking advantage of the unusual number of Defense Department employees communicating mostly via computer systems. Details of the source or targets of the attacks were not provided.
Scammers are attempting to obtain confidential data by using lures related to equated monthly installments (EMI). EMIs on housing loans and credit cards can currently be deferred during the coronavirus lockdown as part of the recently announced EMI moratorium scheme.
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Although Silobreaker has relied on what it regards as reliable sources while compiling the content herein, Silobreaker cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, integrity or quality of such content and no responsibility is accepted by Silobreaker in respect of such content. Readers must determine for themselves what reliance they should place on the compiled content herein.