World Coronavirus Dispatch: EU states to pilot Covid-tracing apps

Photo: Bloomberg
A group of EU member states including Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic will today start piloting a technical system to connect their national Covid-19 tracing apps in an effort to contain the spread of the virus as people travel across borders. The system, due to be fully operational in October, arrives as cases are again on the rise across the bloc. 

The move underscores the need to sync Covid-19 tracing systems with those of neighbourhood regions as, fortunately or unfortunately, people start moving around more. Read more here

Total Confirmed Cases: 29,006,033

Change Over Yesterday: 245,860

Total Deaths: 924,105

Total Recovered: 19,625,959

Nations hit with most cases: US (6,519,979), India (4,846,427), Brazil (4,330,455), Russia (1,059,024) and Peru (722,832)

Israel is heading back into a nationwide lockdown: Israel said Sunday it will reimpose a national lockdown after coronavirus cases soared. It announced a three-week lockdown, which will hold people to within 500 meters of their homes. The country is second only to Bahrain for the world’s highest coronavirus infection rate by population. Read more here

UK sets new cap on social gatherings as virus cases spike: A new restriction on gatherings to no more than six people both indoors and outdoors starts in the UK on Monday as coronavirus cases rise sharply.  In the three days through Sunday the UK added more than 10,000 new Covid-19 cases, a pace not seen since May. Read more here

Refugee camp in Greece burned to the ground: When the authorities tried to quarantine the residents to contain the outbreak, a small group of asylum seekers, angry that their living situations were about to get even worse, began setting blazes. Now with the camp destroyed, some 8,000 adults and 4,000 children, are stranded without shelter or sanitation. Read more here

New Zealand to lift coronavirus restrictions on September 21: New Zealand will lift coronavirus restrictions across the country on Sept. 21 except in Auckland, its biggest city and the epicenter of a second wave of infections. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said restrictions on Auckland – which include a 10-person limit on social gatherings – would remain in place for a further week. Read more here

Seoul eases social distancing for 2 weeks ahead of major holiday: South Korea has lifted a ban on on-site dining after 9 pm though still requires restaurants and cafes to record patrons' names and contact details. Leisure facilities such as gyms and internet cafes are also allowed to reopen, while indoor gatherings are limited to 50 people and outdoor gatherings to 100. Read more here

Amazon seeks to hire 33,000 people: Amazon said it was seeking to bring aboard 33,000 people for corporate and tech roles in the next few months. It said the hiring is not related to the jobs it typically offers ahead of the busy holiday shopping season. The pandemic has helped Amazon report record revenue and profit in the June quarter. Read more here


Vaccine makers keep safety details quiet, alarming scientists: AstraZeneca said that an outside panel had cleared its trial in Britain to begin again, but the company still has not given any details about the patient’s medical condition, nor has it released a transcript of Mr. Soriot’s remarks to investors. Another front-runner in the vaccine race, Pfizer, made a similarly terse announcement: The company is proposing to expand its clinical trial to include thousands more participants, but it gave few other details about its plan, including how it would determine the effectiveness of the vaccine in its larger study. It’s standard for drug companies to withhold details of clinical trials until after they are completed, tenaciously guarding their intellectual property and competitive edge. But these are extraordinary times, and now there is a growing outcry among independent scientists and public health experts who are pushing the companies to be far more open with the public. Read more here

Growing distrust of China brings $38 billion Taiwan windfall

Taiwan sits squarely in the middle of the worsening dispute between Beijing and Washington, with many of its companies operating factories in China manufacturing for American companies. Those tensions are pushing Taiwanese companies to relocate some production back home and also redirect money to factories on their side of the strait. Taiwan’s government has helped with tax breaks and other support, and that investment has cushioned some of the blow from the Covid-19 pandemic. Since January 2019, more than $38-billion of Taiwanese investment has come back. Supply chains for electric vehicle manufacturers including Tesla, which has a factory in Shanghai, are also moving to set up in Taiwan. Read more here

Building public places for a Covid world

NYT asked several architects and landscape architects to share what they are brainstorming with their colleagues, and how they are dreaming outside the six-foot bubble that now guides our movements and interactions. For example, Open Streets, the city initiative that temporarily privileges people over cars, relegates vehicles to secondary status, permitting much richer — and socially distanced — uses to proliferate, from curb-lane dining to skateboard choreography. This expansion of sidewalks has heightened the awareness that “public-space design is a critical piece of maintaining democracy and cosmopolitan city life.” Read more here

At home: How to tell if distance learning is working for your kid

The short answer: Focus on the outcomes. “Learning Outcomes” (which are sometimes called “goals” or even “standards”) are a set of skills a student should master by the end of a school year. For example, a typical outcome for a third-grade student in language arts might be, “Student can use transition words to vary sentence structure,” or in mathematics, “Student can estimate and measure perimeter,” or in arts and dance, “Student can demonstrate simple dance sequences.” Outcomes are a clear and measurable list of skills. Read more here

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