Threat Reports

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 (
  • 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 (
  • 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 ( headlines)
  • Mexico pushes ahead with reopening the economy (Reuters – Twitter)
  • North America – Travel restrictions between US, Canada and Mexico extended (
  • 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


Second Wave Risk & Mitigation


Drugs, Treatments & Vaccines

Antibody testing suggests COVID-19 cases are being missed

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.


Antidepressant fluvoxamine could treat COVID-19

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. 


Bolivian city gives out free doses of de-worming drug in bid to combat coronavirus

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.


Report: CDC plans nationwide coronavirus antibody study

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to launch a nationwide study involving more than 300,000 people to track coronavirus spread.


Scientists develop new test that detects antibodies in 10 minutes

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.


Study: Covid-19 survivors who test positive again aren’t infectious

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’s Covid-19 vaccine study criticized for lacking key data

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.


Scientists discover antibodies inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 in SARS survivor

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.


Septic shock presentation in adolescents with COVID-19

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.


Research into diabetes and coronavirus identifies ‘significantly higher risk of dying’ 

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 falls from record as euphoria of vaccine data wears off

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.


CDC Study: Vaccinations fall to alarming rates

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.


US workers hit McDonald’s with class action over COVID-19 safety

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. 


CBO projects 38% drop in GDP, $2.1 trillion increase in the deficit

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.


Washington State sues gyms for opening during pandemic

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.


Canadians strongly opposed to calling COVID-19 ‘Chinese virus’ or ‘Chinese flu’

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.


World Bank warns 60m at risk of ‘extreme poverty’

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. 


US births fall to lowest in 35 years, expected to fall further

“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.


Record rise in UK unemployment claims

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.


Court rules that France must lift ban on gatherings at places of worship

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.


Geopolitical Impact

Taiwan ‘disappointed and angry’ about being excluded from WHO meeting

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.


World Health Organization members agree response probe

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. 


Cybersecurity Impact

Cerberus banking trojan spread using COVID-19 lure

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.


Malware spread via fake Target coronavirus giveaway

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.


Attackers abuse file sharing and cloud storage tools in coronavirus phishing campaigns

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.


NetSupport Manager spread in coronavirus themed phishing campaign

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. 


Serco accidently shares email addresses of coronavirus contract tracers

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.


Researchers find flaws in NHS coronavirus contact-tracing app

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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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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