COVID-19 Threat Digest #50, 21 May 2020
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Actions by Governments
- Brazilian government approves administration of chloroquine in mild cases (Porto Canal)
- Canadian Government invests $175.6m in AbCellera’s Covid-19 response (Pharmaceutical Technology)
- Cyprus will reopen its airports on June 9 (Greekcity)
- Danish government rallied by politicians to reopen Denmark by June (Bloomberg)
- Dutch government working on emergency law to use telecom network data (Telecompaper)
- India – domestic flights to resume from May 25 (Mumbai Mirror)
- Italian government to reopen airports on June 3 (Gazzetta del Sud) and (Brussels Times)
- Japan to ease coronavirus emergency in Osaka, nearby areas: Abe (Mainichi JP)
- Maldives to restart international flights in July (Raajje.mv)
- Russian government due to approve resumption of Russian Premier League (Gazeta.ru)
- Saint Lucia announces reopening plan for June 4 (Global Traveler Magazine)
- Singapore tells domestic workers to stay home on off days as circuit breaker loosens (South China Morning Post)
- South African government releases report on emergency R1.6bn plan to combat gender-based violence (AllAfrica.com)
- Spanish government wants to approve controversial Education Law during pandemic (ACI Prensa)
- Sweden becomes country with highest coronavirus death rate per capita based on 7 day average between May 13-20 (Telegraph.co.uk)
- Swedish government launches vaccine strategy against COVID-19 (SVT Nyheter)
- Ukrainian government introduces adaptive lockdown until June 22 (MENAFN)
- UK government says scientific evidence supports its pandemic response (GOV.UK)
- UK government still in talks with Apple and Google about COVID-19 app technology (Reuters)
- UK Government defies cyber centre warnings (Insurance Business UK)
- UK government likely to keep schools closed after Labour-led local councils rebel against plan to reopen on June 1 (Sott.net)
- US – CDC releases resources to assist states to open (CDC Online Newsroom)
- US – NIH provides funding to Adjuvance Technologies for COVID-19 Vaccine research (M2Pharma.com)
- US Senate passes bill that could delist some Chinese firms (BBC News)
- WHO’s latest Situation Report (WHO)
Actions by Companies
- Apple and Google launch their coronavirus contact-tracing software (Mail Online UK)
- AstraZeneca gets US$1 billion from US to make Oxford coronavirus vaccine (Straits Times)
- Atea Pharma to Launch Phase II Trial Against COVID-19 After Raising $215 Million Series D (BioSpace)
- Aviva to pay out £160m in virus claims (Yorkshire Post)
- Baidu chief calls for coordinated Chinese government approach for personal data collected during pandemic (South China Morning Post)
- EasyJet to resume flights from June 15 (This Is Money)
- Eximbank issues ‘Kangaroo bonds’ worth Aus$700 mil. in Australia (Korea Times)
- Goldman Sachs reopens eight European offices with rigid staff checks (Bloomberg Law)
- Harley-Davidson slowly restarts manufacturing at its facilities this week (Business Journal of Milwaukee)
- International Paper donates two million corrugated boxes to food banks (Pulp & Paper Canada)
- Latam Airlines will gradually resume operations from June (La Tercera)
- Lufthansa closes in on $10 billion state rescue deal (Reuters: Business News)
- Macquarie Bank raises $500 mln in subordinated bonds (Reuters)
- M&S to review all operations as profits slide (IrishExaminer.com)
- MGM to reopen its first US properties on Memorial Day (Travel Pulse)
- Mastercard will not send staff back to offices without coronavirus vaccine, executive says (Reuters)
- Motorola Solutions Delivers V300 Body-Worn Cameras to Support COVID-19 Response (Business Wire)
- Naspers Foundry South Africa invests R100m in agritech business Aerobotics (IOL)
- Panasonic pledges 200 million yen for research, development of therapies and vaccines for COVID-19 (Ani News)
- Turkish Airlines to resume flights from 10 June (ABC.az)
- United Airlines partners with clorox to enhance inflight hygiene (Simple Flying)
- Wagamama to reopen 67 more restaurants for delivery by end of June (London Evening Standard)
- Whitbread to raise $1.2 bln to weather COVID-19 crisis as profit drops (Nasdaq)
Second Wave Risk & Mitigation
- Canada – B.C.’s top doctor Bonnie Henry says 2nd wave of COVID-19 inevitable, but current lessons will guide response (CBC)
- China – Coronavirus behaving differently in China’s northeast clusters, expert says (Yahoo! News)
- EU coronavirus body: Unclear when and how large will second wave be (Baltic News Network)
- Europe risks it all to restart international travel (Huffington Post Australia)
- France – no signs of second wave but authorities confirm virus still active and circulating (Le Monde.fr) and (Talking Points Memo)
- Ireland ready to control a second wave of Covid-19, if it occurs (JOE.ie)
- Mexico’s Covid-19 deaths rise by record as economy restarts (Bloomberg-Quint)
- Philippines – PPE stockpile for frontliners now at 600,000 – Galvez (Business Mirror)
- UK – launch test and trace or risk second wave, NHS leaders warn (The Guardian)
- UK – 50 millionth PPE mask flown in to Prestwick Airport (The Scotsman)
- US – Ford forced to halt production at two plants after employees test positive for Covid-19 (CNN)
- World – Global cases near 5m as EU health chief warns of second wave (The Guardian)
Drugs, Treatments & Vaccines
A Canadian study has claimed that CBD opens a new avenue toward treating COVID-19 by preventing the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to bind with human cells.
The Brazilian Ministry of Health today released a protocol that authorizes the administration of chloroquine even for the treatment of mild cases of Covid-19 in the public health system.
The Biomedical Pioneering Innovation Centre at Peking University has become one of the first to start human trials of neutralising antibodies and believes a drug could be ready before the end of the year.
Researchers took the DNA of one of the coronavirus’ proteins and inserted it into plasmid DNA vaccines. Eight of the monkeys who were exposed to the virus had no detectable trace of it, while the rest had very low levels of it.
Healthcare workers from Brighton and Oxford, who are all in contact with Covid-19 patients, will be part of a global trial to test the effects of the drug.
Parallelling what has been reported in influenza patients, we designed this prospective observational study to investigate IPA risk in critically ill patients with COVID-19.
The government today presented a vaccine strategy in three parts. It includes, among other things, that Sweden will continue to cooperate within the EU and WHO to ensure that a future vaccine is distributed jointly between countries.
Societal and Economic Impact
The WHO said 106,000 new cases had been reported to them in the last 24 hours. Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has expressed particular concern about rising infections in low and middle-income nations.
There will be “huge challenges” for Northern Ireland’s economy in the future because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Arlene Foster has warned. The first minister cited recent unemployment figures in NI, which rose by almost 90% in April.
Time is running out to finalise a track and trace strategy that would avoid a potential second surge in coronavirus cases, NHS leaders have said. The NHS Confederation warned of “severe” consequences to staff and patients if the right system was not established quickly.
Dozens of cars lined the street honking near the White House, while protesters lined body bags in the park. Some protesters held signs criticizing President Trump, including one sign reading “How many graves can one President dig?”
Across the country, African Americans have died at a rate of 50.3 per 100,000 people, compared with 20.7 for whites, 22.9 for Latinos and 22.7 for Asian Americans. More than 20,000 African Americans – about one in 2,000 of the entire black population in the US – have died from the disease.
Whilst the anti-lockdown protests that have taken place in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Carolina, Utah, and elsewhere certainly have a distinctly American flavor, they are far from unique to America. Similar protests have taken place almost everywhere you look around the world.
A new report has found at least 186 healthcare workers have died from COVID-19 in Russia, making it proportionally one of the worst-hit medical sectors in the world, if official figures are accurate. This was 16 times worse than a half-dozen countries with comparable numbers of COVID-19 cases, according to Mediazona.
The local administration in the Chinese city said on Wednesday that along with the consumption ban, Wuhan would become a “wildlife sanctuary” where virtually all hunting of wild animals was banned with the exception of measures for ”scientific research, population regulation, monitoring of epidemic diseases and other special circumstances”.
With Connecticut’s decision today to allow some businesses to operate, all U.S. states will be in a certain step of reopening in the midst of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
Last week, the European Union unveiled an action plan to get its internal borders reopening, safely fire up its hospitality sector and to revive rail, road, air and sea connections that have been strangled during the pandemic.
In a statement during the assembly, the delegation said WHO member states should be “wary” of countries that are trying to use the “catastrophe for their impure political purposes.” The North Koreans didn’t mention any country by name but said it was an “expression of irresponsibility” to blame the WHO or one of the member states for the outbreak if a country ignored “the warnings of WHO with no proper action.”
CDC officials told CNN that the agency’s plans to combat the coronavirus pandemic were crippled by the White House, which they said prioritized politics over science. “We’ve been muzzled,” a current CDC official told the network. “What’s tough is that if we would have acted earlier on what we knew and recommended, we would have saved lives and money.”
The US Federal Trade Commission has warned of spam text messages informing users they have been in contact with an individual that tested positive for COVID-19. The message includes a link that supposedly has more information. The FTC stated that the health department will only send text messages informing users of a forthcoming call and such messages never contain a link.
Researchers have reported on an email campaign that targeted between 15,000 and 50,000 mailboxes in an attempt to get payroll and accounting staff to transfer money to the attacker.
The threat actor, posing as a high-level accounting employee from a known vendor, states that there is an overdue invoice. The attacker provides the target with new payment details which they claim are updated due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned that threat actors are utilising the coronavirus pandemic to carry out a variety of malicious activity. This includes phishing for personal details, posing as charities, delivering malware, and selling counterfeit equipment and treatments.
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