Actions by Governments

 

Actions by Companies

  • 3M wins injunction against mask seller accused of price gouging (Reuters)
  • Apple WWDC 2020 to be held online starting 22 June (Dailyhunt)
  • ArcelorMittal Poland reduces production, furloughs workers on Covid-19 (Kallanish)
  • Arturo Calle, Ecopetrol and Bio Bolsa will manufacture more than 100,000 medical protection suits (RCN Radio)
  • Bank of Montreal says 80% of employees may switch to blended home-office work (Financial Post)
  • British American Tobacco South Africa stops legal action against the government! (Dailysun.co.za)
  • Credit Suisse staff told to expect return to work in four phases (Bloomberg)
  • DFDS Newcastle to Amsterdam ferry suspended until June (Newcastle Evening Chronicle)
  • Disneyland Shanghai to reopen on May 11 (Yicai Global)
  • Electrolux employees dismissed after protesting against lack of PPE (Sveriges Radio)
  • Essity will enable production lines to manufacture face masks in Mexico, Sweden and the US (El Economista México)
  • Facebook says fake accounts used coronavirus content to attract followers (CNET)
  • Fiat Chrysler to restart US production in two weeks after $1.8bn quarterly loss (CNBC)
  • GM shares its factory restart date with UAW members (Detroit Free Press)
  • Henry Schein cutting jobs to manage costs as COVID hurts dental sales (Newsday)
  • Hiscox to raise capital as premiums rise (Reuters)
  • Honeywell begins N95 face mask production at Smithfield factory (Providence Business News)
  • Humana waives cost-sharing for primary care, behavioral health for rest of 2020 (Fierce Health IT)
  • Kellogg delays launch of Incogmeato range due to Covid-19 (Foodbev)
  • Kroger introduces 2-pack limit on fresh chicken, pork and beef nationwide (People)
  • Lufthansa not planning to buy rivals weakened by COVID-19 crisis -CEO (Reuters)
  • Marks and Spencer launches 30-minute home delivery service (Yahoo! News Australia)
  • Microsoft keeping employees home until October, worker says (FOXBusiness.com)
  • National Grid warns of new COVID-19 scam (LocalSRY.com)
  • Nordex pulls 2020 guidance as COVID-19 takes hold (Renewables Now)
  • Nordstrom set to reopen stores with lots of changes amid COVID-19 (Yahoo! News)
  • Norwegian Air to sell new shares at close to 80% discount (Devdiscourse)
  • PepsiCo India funded COVID-19 testing kits start reaching laboratories (Outlook India)
  • Primark appoints Savills to solve stock glut (Retail Gazette)
  • Qantas halts plans for non-stop flights to London and New York (City A.M.)
  • Ryanair takes Sweden to court for violating EU law on state aid (Simple Flying)
  • South African Breweries calls for the sale of beer and other alcohol (Businesstech.co.za)
  • Spotify sees news users come to platform during pandemic, says CEO (Bloomberg)
  • TUI travel advice for holidaymakers with flights booked in Jul-Sep (Travel Base Online)
  • Telefónica will make the coronavirus self-diagnosis app open source and destroy the collected data (Hipertextual)
  • Viking Line plans to restart passenger service in the baltic sea (Marine Link)
  • Virgin Atlantic to axe around 3,000 jobs in battle for survival (Sky News Latest)
  • Wendy’s pulls burgers off the menu in some locations due to meat shortage (Yahoo! News)
  • Wipro converts IT facility into Covid-19 hospital (SG.ChannelAsia.tech)

 

Second Wave Risk & Mitigation

  • Australia – Inside secret warehouses where $1 billion worth of PPE is stockpiled for second coronavirus wave (Mail Online UK)
  • Australia – Can a coronavirus contact tracing app lift Australia out of lockdown? (ABC)
  • Fiji – No intention to record any second wave of COVID-19 in Fiji (The Fiji Times)
  • Germany – Merkel wants strict upper limits for new infections (BZ-Berlin.de)
  • Germany – Well prepared for the second wave (Pharmazeutische Zeitung)
  • How Hong Kong survived second wave of COVID-19 (9News)
  • Israel – Does Israel have ‘herd immunity’ – or is a 2nd wave inevitable? (Israel National News)
  • Italy – the math of Imperial College: second wave could be deadlier than first if lockdown eased too much (Corriere della Sera) and  (Imperial College London)
  • Japan – Questions linger over ‘2nd wave’ of infections in Japan (Mainichi JP)
  • Singaporeans to be given improved reusable masks in third nationwide mask distribution exercise (Straits Times)
  • Sweden – Why Sweden’s relaxed stance toward coronavirus will be difficult to replicate elsewhere, Goldman Sachs analysts say (Morningstar.com)
  • Sweden – Researchers measure covid-19 in Stockholm’s wastewater to get indications of second wave (Business Insider) and  (KTH Royal Institute of Technology)
  • UK – Covid-19 second wave may be avoided with track and trace, says UK science chief (The Guardian)
  • US – Dr. Anthony Fauci: ‘I don’t think there’s a chance that this virus is just going to disappear’ (Washington Times)
  • US – Apple and Google’s contact tracing system explained (Pocket-lint)
  • US – Can the U.S. handle the second wave of COVID-19 coming our way? (Global Advisors)
  • US – Charting the coronavirus: Is a second wave coming? (CNBC)
  • US – More than $1 million spent on PPE for election workers in Kansas (KSN)
  • US – Northeast consortium of states announces plan to buy PPE together — now and in the future (ROI-NJ)
  • World – Countries may issue ‘immunity passports.’ Is this a good idea? (NBCNews.com)
  • World – New Normal: Rear-facing seats could be the future of air travel (CTV News)

 

Drugs, Treatments & Vaccines

AstraZeneca’s diabetes drug gets FDA nod to treat heart failure

Farxiga has become the first in its class to win US approval as a treatment for heart failure, opening up a major new market opportunity outside of the medicine’s established field. The approval comes just weeks after the firm said it was testing Farxiga as a potential treatment for Covid-19 patients with existing heart and kidney problems.

 

Australia, Canada, Singapore, Switzerland Consortium regulators pledge support to tackle Covid-19

To address this worldwide public health crisis, ACSS members are collaborating to advance the regulatory science needed to support the rapid development of diagnostic tests, as well as vaccines and treatments against Covid-19.

 

Patients carried antibodies for at least two weeks after recovering in small study in China

The researchers collected blood from patients who have recently become virus-free and therefore were discharged, and detected SARS-CoV-2-specific  humoral and cellular immunity in newly discharged  patients. Follow-up analysis on another cohort of patients 2 weeks post discharge also revealed high titers of IgG antibodies.

 

CSL relying on recovered patients for new treatment project

The Australian biotechnology giant will use plasma from recovered coronavirus patients to start developing a possible treatment for those who become seriously ill from Covid-19.

 

Clinical tests imminent for Junshi’s Covid-19 antibody

The company has engineered several neutralising antibodies and the lead candidate, JS016, is set to advance into clinical testing in the second quarter of this year. 

 

Study: Coronavirus can invade the intestines as well as the lungs

The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 can infect and replicate in human intestine cells, according to a study. This may explain why some patients have gastrointestinal symptoms, Dutch researchers suggested in a paper published in the journal Science.

 

Antibody test ‘with almost 100% accuracy’ could be in UK in weeks

Roche Diagnostics’ new serology test detects antibodies in patients who have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, which could help to indicate if a person has gained immunity against the disease.

 

Gilead in talks to expand global supply of Remdesivir

The company is open to collaborate with governments, pharmaceutical companies, including those from India, and is even considering proposals of patent-pooling to expand capacity and provide access to Remesdesivir for patients across the world.

 

Government scientist says he was fired over concerns about malaria drug

Rick Bright, former director of the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, officially filed a complaint Tuesday with the Office of Special Counsel, claiming he was reassigned from his role because he resisted political pressure to allow widespread use of hydroxychloroquine in Covid-19.

 

Ukranian Health Ministry permits clinical trials for coronavirus drug

The Ministry of Health of Ukraine has permitted the start of clinical trials for Ukrainian drug intended for the treatment of coronavirus disease. The relevant order of the Ministry of Health No.1038 of May 4 was published on the Ministry’s website.

 

Kenyan researchers set to trial three Covid-19 drugs

Kenyan researchers have joined their international counterparts in the search for a cure for Covid-19, with plans for clinical trials for three drugs.

 

Machine learning platform generates antibody sequences for experimental testing

Researchers have identified an initial set of therapeutic antibody sequences, designed in a few weeks using machine learning and supercomputing, aimed at binding and neutralizing SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The research team is performing experimental testing on the chosen antibody designs. 

 

Microsoft helps launch study to map Covid-19 immune response

The aim of the study, launched in partnership with Adaptive Biotechnologies, is to help create an immune scan that could be used to help reopen society.

 

New research shows that coronavirus mutations could complicate vaccine development

A group of scientists, including a team from Duke University, has found that the novel coronavirus has mutated into a new strain that might be more contagious than the original one that emerged from Wuhan, China late last year — potentially complicating the search for a vaccine.

 

Pfizer begins coronavirus vaccine trial in US

The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has begun testing a new coronavirus vaccine in the United States.

 

Sanofi and Regeneron reveal preliminary results of their vaccine trial

The randomized Phase 2 portion of the trial compared intravenously-administered Kevzara higher dose, Kevzara lower dose, and placebo. 457 patients were assessed, with a preliminary analysis of the Phase 2 portion of the trial showing that Kevzara rapidly lowered C-reactive protein, a key marker of inflammation. However, no new safety findings were observed with the use of Kevzara in patients.

 

University of Kentucky launches clinical trial for possible COVID-19 treatment

Leaders from the University of Kentucky are taking part in a clinical trial to learn how they could treat patients with Covid-19 in the state. The trial will take a closer look at azithromycin, ivermectin, and camostat mesylate. Those drugs could inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2.

 

PerkinElmer gets emergency approval for antibodies test

PerkinElmer, the Waltham-based diagnostics maker, said Tuesday that a subsidiary has obtained an “emergency use authorization” from the Food and Drug Administration for a test that detects antibodies in the blood of people who fought off Covid-19. 

 

Societal and Economic Impact

UK to scale back furlough scheme from July

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is preparing to wind down the coronavirus wage-subsidy scheme for workers from July, as part of the UK government’s plan to gradually remove lockdown measures. The Treasury is examining several options including cutting the 80% wage subsidy paid by the state to 60% and lowering the £2,500 cap on monthly payments. 

 

UK construction industry sees historic collapse

The construction sector experienced its fastest ever decline in output in April. The purchasing managers’ index reading from IHS Markit’s survey of the sector came in at 8.2, far worse than analyst forecasts of 22.0, and down from 39.3 in March.

 

Disney hit with $1 billion loss from COVID-19 closures

Disney estimated that the business missed out on $1 billion in operating income because of the theme park closures during the quarter, which ended March 28. Earnings for the second fiscal quarter fell 63% from the same period last year to 60 cents a share, the company said.

 

Modelling suggests more tuberculosis deaths to come from pandemic

Disruption to tuberculosis services due to the pandemic could lead to as many as 6.3 million additional cases of TB and 1.4 million deaths worldwide over the next five years, a new study has shown.

 

COVID-19 poses threat to independent journalism in developing countries

News outlets around the world have faced measures to muzzle critical reporting in an environment that has already seen dozens of journalists harassed, arrested and censored by governments, according to editors and press freedom groups. Fake news laws and political interference, along with growing financial pressures, have also left many independent media groups in developing countries fighting to survive during the pandemic.

 

Largest Philippines broadcaster forced off air

ABS-CBN said it would stop operations on Tuesday evening to comply with the order from the National Telecommunications Commission, and urged lawmakers in Congress, the lower house of parliament, to renew its franchise. Opposition lawmakers say the suspension order undermines the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

 

Pandemic used as cover for New Zealand car heist

Under cover of New Zealand’s exceptionally strict virus lockdown, thieves took 97 cars from a Jucy Rentals agency in Auckland. Over several days on a long weekend, they drove the cars in batches from the site and down the deserted roads of Auckland. Nearly all the vehicles have now been recovered.

 

Australian COVIDSafe app performance ‘variable’

Despite earlier assurances the app would work on Apple iPhones when they are locked, Health Department and Digital Transformation Agency executives conceded that there are issues. More than 5.1 million people have downloaded the COVIDSafe app since it was released on April 26.

 

White House plans to wind-down COVID-19 task force

Vice President Mike Pence told reporters on Tuesday that the White House is in ‘preliminary discussions’ to wind down its coronavirus task force, possibly in early June.

 

Half of Africans could run out of food and cash during lockdown restrictions

Africa’s response to the coronavirus crisis could be hindered as fear of hunger and financial hardship may drive people to break stay-at-home orders, a new report by the Partnership for Evidence-Based Response to Covid-19 has found.

 

UK supermarket: ‘More normal’ shopping habits are back

Ocado has stated that customers are now purchasing fewer items than they were during the peak of demand, with the balance between long-life and fresh food returning to normal levels. 

 

UK climate advisers suggest that economic restart should have a green-focus 

The advisers have stated that restarting the economy and getting people back to work should have a focus on low-carbon work programmes. This will generate new jobs, protect the climate and ensure a fair economy.

 

Geopolitical Impact

New Zealand foreign minister backs Taiwan entry to WHO

While meeting with the press outside of New Zealand’s Parliament, Foreign Minister Winston Peters was asked if he supported Taiwan rejoining the WHO, to which he responded in the affirmative, noting that ‘You’ve got to have every organisation in the world in the WHO if it’s to have any meaning’.

 

China may expand COVID-19 funding to UN

China will expand its funding, if needed, to support the United Nations initiative to speed up the development of vaccines and treatment for COVID-19, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday. 

 

Tens of thousands trapped amid COVID-19 border closures

Tens of thousands of migrants are trapped in dangerous conditions at frontiers, mines, ports and in transit camps across Africa after states shut their borders in an attempt to stem the spread of Covid-19. Some have been abandoned by smugglers unable to take them further on their journeys to Europe or elsewhere, while others were returning home or moving across the continent in search of work when frontiers were closed in March.

 

China calls Hong-Kong protesters ‘political virus’

After weeks of coronavirus restrictions, groups of protesters have begun to re-emerge, resuming a campaign that began a year ago. China’s Hong Kong Affairs office on Wednesday condemned Hong Kong protesters as a “political virus”, warning the territory would never be calm until the protesters were removed.

 

German court criticises ECB bond purchases

Germany’s top court has ruled that the European Central Bank’s mass bond-buying to stabilise the eurozone partly violates the German constitution. The ruling relates to government debt worth €2.1 trillion bought by the ECB since 2015, but not purchases in the coronavirus crisis. This may, however, put pressure on the ECB’s current €750 billion bond-buying scheme aimed at helping the eurozone through the pandemic.

 

Cybersecurity Impact

Money mule scams abuse coronavirus situation

Researchers have observed threat actors taking advantage of individuals facing job losses due to the coronavirus pandemic by promising work-from-home opportunities. These money mule scams typically involve an email sent to the victim mentioning payment and that the victim needs to reply for additional details.

 

UK NCSC and US CISA warn of APTs targeting healthcare and essential services

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre and the US Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued a joint advisory warning of ongoing APT activity targeting coronavirus responses. Targets include healthcare bodies, pharmaceutical companies, medical research organisations, academia, and local governments.

 

COVID-19 Cyber Threat Coalition releases list of malicious URLs and domains

The coalition created two blocklists with URLs or domain names known to be associated with coronavirus-themed attacks on healthcare, government, and enterprise organisations. The lists, which contain 13,862 malicious URLs and 12,258 domains and hostnames, can be used in locally run DNS sinkhole solutions.

 

Mobile hospitals potentially exposed to cyber-attack

Mobile hospitals established in response to the coronavirus pandemic are vulnerable to attack according to a variety of professionals working in the cybersecurity sector. Issues include lax network security provisions, insecure IoT devices, and more. 

 

 

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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.

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