COVID-19 Threat Digest #49, 20 May 2020
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Actions by Governments
- Argentina’s second city resumes lockdown after virus cases spike (Yahoo! News Australia)
- Australia to relax some domestic travel curbs (The Straits Times All News)
- Australia – NSW travel restrictions lifted for June long weekend (Huffingtonpost.com.au)
- Cyprus ready to reopen doors to tourists from June 15 (Cyprus Mail)
- Dutch government claims a mink may have transmitted Covid-19 to a human (Euronews)
- El Salvador’s president extends lockdown (Devdiscourse)
- Estonia starts testing digital immunity passport for workplaces (NationalPost.com)
- Europe – ‘It’s up to us’: how Merkel and Macron revived EU solidarity (Reuters: Top News)
- France looks past Google, Apple for coronavirus contact tracing (The Straits Times)
- Israel rescinds order to wear masks until end of heat wave (Haaretz.com headlines)
- Mexico pushes ahead with reopening the economy (Reuters – Twitter)
- North America – Travel restrictions between US, Canada and Mexico extended (FOXNews.com)
- Russian government allocates 45 million rubles to support social workers in the Ivanovo region (Mkru)
- Spanish government orders the mandatory use of a mask for people 6 years of age and older (Naiz)
- Venezuela files claim to force Bank of England to hand over gold (Reuters)
- US – CDC Director believes US is ready to reopen but warns second wave will coincide with flu season (MSNBC Newsweek)
- WHO’s latest Situation Report (WHO)
Actions by Companies
- Air Canada to lay off 20,000 workers amidst collapsing travel industry (Skiesmag.com)
- AstraZeneca looks to recreate UK vaccine deal globally (Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Magazine)
- Car dealerships in New Jersey to resume in-person sales (North Jersey)
- Cathay Pacific requires all passengers to wear face coverings while travelling (LankaBusinessNews.com)
- Copa Airlines hope to resume flights on June 1 (Caribbean Journal)
- Debenhams enters administration (Financier Worldwide)
- FedEx donates shipping services and works with nonprofits (Airfreight Logistics)
- Fujifilm shares fall after report Avigan not showing clear efficacy in some coronavirus trials (Reuters: Business News)
- Google won’t charge retailers for selling items on its platform (Dailyhunt)
- JLR resumes production at Solihull plant in UK (MyTimesNow)
- Korean Air to gradually re-open international services (Arirang)
- Krispy Kreme Ireland is reopening from tomorrow (Buzz.ie)
- Lockheed Martin reduces F-35 jet workflow as production slows (Defense World)
- Nintendo says that Covid-19 could affect video game development (Canal RCN)
- Norwegian Air gets $271m state-backed loan after debt restructuring (Namibia Press Agency)
- PayPal rolls out global QR code payment system (Payments Industry Intelligence)
- Pizza Express to reopen 13 London restaurants for delivery (The Guardian)
- Qantas announces social distancing is not part of their coronavirus precautions (Daily Telegraph Australia – National)
- Rolls-Royce to cut at least 9,000 jobs (StarsPost.com)
- Sony to buy full control of financial unit (Japantoday.com)
- Tabcorp secures debt waivers (Asia Gaming Brief)
- Texas bars to begin reopening Friday (Fox)
- Virgin Atlantic won’t resume flights soon if UK introduces quarantine (Asian Voice)
- Volkswagen workers return to the line in Tennessee (WDEF)
- Yamaha resumes operations at Tamil Nadu facility (NDTV)
Second Wave Risk & Mitigation
- Amsterdam Mayor: Amsterdam is very vulnerable to second wave (AT5)
- Canada – Hajdu says the country is facing ‘extremely difficult’ procurement situation for PPE (Global News Canada)
- France – A minority of scientists do not believe in a second wave (Ouest-France – Top Stories)
- France – Second wave or disappearance of the virus: all scenarios are possible (France 3)
- Iran – Cases soar after reopening, with 300% jump in one province (Straits Times)
- Philippines – Government to implement ‘localized’ quarantine rules in case of second wave (CNN Philippines)
- Thailand – Government stockpiles anti-viral drugs in preparation for second wave (Khaosod English)
- US – The good and the bad news about Covid-19 (Ami Magazine)
- UK – London boroughs buy 48 million pieces of PPE (Tottenham & Wood Green Independent)
- UK – Survey results: PPE and testing for clinicians during COVID-19 (Royal College of Surgeons of England)
- UK – Volunteers deliver thousands of items of PPE (BBC)
- US – Vaccine may face supply chain issues once ready for distribution (Yahoo! News)
- World – Blockchain to tackle supply chain failures exposed by COVID-19 (FintechInsight.com)
Drugs, Treatments & Vaccines
The number of COVID-19 infections in the community may be “substantially greater” than totals confirmed by authorities, based on SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing among a random sample of adults in Los Angeles County, Calif.
Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine are now conducting a clinical trial of antidepressant drug fluvoxamine, as a potential treatment for the ‘cytokine storm’ associated with COVID-19.
Authorities in the Bolivian city of Trinidad are distributing free doses of ivermectin in a bid to fight COVID-19 in the country’s hard-hit eastern region.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to launch a nationwide study involving more than 300,000 people to track coronavirus spread.
Scientists from several institutions in Guangzhou, China, have developed a new test that is similar to a pregnancy test, that detects antibodies against COVID-19 in 10 minutes.
In a study of 285 Covid-19 survivors who retested positive, scientists from the Korean CDC found that none of them were spreading any lingering infection, and concluded a two-week quarantine was unnecessary in such cases.
Moderna indicated that just eight volunteers developed neutralizing antibodies, which are the kinds of antibodies you want to see in test results. Moderna’s statement did not reveal the neutralizing antibody results for the other 37 participants in the trial.
An individual who caught severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) infection more than 17 years ago might become a solution to the experts who are in search of therapies to fight the novel coronavirus. This person who had SARS in 2003 contained an antibody which seems to be inhibiting the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, according to new research.
There is a growing concern describing a paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome temporally associated with COVID-19 in children. We describe the clinical characteristics of three adolescents (10–12 years) who presented septic shock.
New NHS research into diabetes and coronavirus has found that people living with diabetes face a significantly higher risk of dying with COVID-19 with a third of deaths in England associated with the condition.
Societal and Economic Impact
Moderna shares tumbled 10.4% on Tuesday, a day after hitting a record high when it released positive early data from a small trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate mRNA-1273, reported Bloomberg.
According to a new study released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccination rates in May for children under 2 years old in Michigan declined to “alarming” levels, including fewer than half of infants 5 months or younger.
Five McDonald’s workers in Chicago filed a class action lawsuit against the chain on Tuesday, accusing it of failing to adopt government safety guidance on COVID-19 and endangering employees and their families.
The forecasts are roughly in line with Wall Street economists and slightly less dour than the most recent tracking number from the Atlanta Federal Reserve, which sees GDP falling about 42% in the April-to-June period.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson said both business owners have received multiple warnings and final cease and desist letters on Friday to close within 48 hours or face a lawsuit.
Research Co. polled people across the country and found only 20 per cent believe it’s OK to use those labels. Similar terms have been spray painted onto bus stops and other locations in Vancouver, which has seen an alarming increase in racist incidents targeting people of Asian descent since the pandemic began.
Up to 60m people will be pushed into “extreme poverty” by the coronavirus warns the president of the World Bank. David Malpass said the bank expects global economic growth to shrink by 5% this year as nations deal with the pandemic.
“This unpredictable environment, and anxiety about the future, is going to make women think twice about having children,” said Dr. Denise Jamieson, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Emory University.
Due to the impact coronavirus has had on business in the UK, today’s ONS figures have shown that unemployment has risen by 50,000 to 1.35 million in the three months to March.
France’s Council of State said banning meetings at places of worship was a “serious and manifestly unlawful interference” to the freedom of worship, ordering that the ban be lifted within the next eight days.
Taiwan has been lobbying to join this year’s meeting as an observer after its success with containing the coronavirus outbreak. But it faced strong opposition from China, which claims Taiwan as its province with no right to its own diplomatic representation. Due to its exclusion from the WHO, Taiwan is relying on its own efforts in the race for a vaccine with health authorities working with academia and other industry partners.
The resolution, approved without objection by the WHO’s 194-member annual assembly meeting virtually in Geneva, also allows for the inquiry to look into the health body’s own role.
India’s Central Bureau of Investigation is warning states, union territories and central agencies of the Cerberus banking trojan being spread via fake COVID-19 pandemic updates. Users are being targeted in SMS phishing campaigns containing an embedded malicious link that, once clicked, downloads the malware.
An ongoing scam campaign is currently targeting users via text messages stating that they are eligible to receive $175 worth of free groceries from Target because of the coronavirus pandemic. The messages include a link that, once clicked, installs malware on the victim’s device.
Researchers have identified a threat actor targeting a global financial institution with an email which contained a link to a malicious file linked on a popular file-hosting service. The malicious link contained a reference to the coronavirus pandemic.
Microsoft Security Intelligence reported that they are tracking a ‘massive’ campaign that attempts to deliver NetSupport Manager to users. Targets receive emails which claim to come from the Johns Hopkins Centre and purport to contain the ‘WHO COVID-19 SITUATION REPORT’, and instead contain the remote access tool.
The outsourcing company, who are currently training staff to trace cases of coronavirus on behalf of the UK government, exposed the email addresses of new trainees.
The contact-tracing app contains a range of security flaws according to security researchers. Issues include unencrypted log uploads, inadequate protection of local log files, flaws in the registration process, and more.
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