World Coronavirus Dispatch: Infection spike in Asia spurs warnings

Health workers perform the burial of a person who died of COVID-19 at a graveyard, during rain, in Ajmer
Virus spikes in Asia spur warnings: Spikes in novel coronavirus infections in Asia have dispelled any notion the region may be over the worst, with Australia, India and Hong Kong reporting record daily cases, Vietnam testing thousands and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian governments had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the virus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. Read here to know what their governments are saying

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total Confirmed Cases: 17,039,160

Change Over Yesterday: 498,111

Total Deaths: 667,218

Total Recovered: 9,964,678

Nations hit with most cases: US (4,326,982), Brazil (2,552,265), India (1,581,963), Russia (832,993) and South Africa (471,123)

China orders regular coronavirus tests at wholesale markets: China has asked local authorities to carry out regular coronavirus tests at wholesale markets, the country's health authority said on Thursday, part of an all-out effort to control the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic. Read more here

J&J vaccine protects monkeys from Covid with single shot: J&J's experimental coronavirus vaccine protected a handful of primates with a single shot in an early study, prompting it to start trials in humans this month. All of the animals that were exposed to the pandemic-causing pathogen six weeks after the injection were immune except one, according to a study published in the medical journal Nature. Read more here

California Pizza Kitchen files for bankruptcy protection: California Pizza Kitchen filed or Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Houston on Wednesday, becoming the latest restaurant chain to try to cut debt as it grapples with the pandemic. The company, which operates more than 200 restaurants in the US and abroad, has reached an agreement with creditors on a restructuring plan. Read more here

Covid weighs on two of Hong Kong’s biggest retail landlords: Losses at Wharf Real Estate Investment Co. sank to HK$4.45 billion ($574 million) for the six months ended June 30 from a HK$7 billion profit, while Hang Lung Properties posted a loss of HK$2.54 billion versus a HK$3.52 billion gain a year earlier. Wharf owns Hong Kong’s largest shopping center Harbour City as well as the iconic Times Square in Causeway Bay. Read more here

Some Australian states makes masks compulsory as Covid-19 spreads: Australia’s hot spot, Victoria, will make masks compulsory state-wide after reporting a record 723 new cases. Masks are already mandatory in the state capital, Melbourne. Residents around Geelong will not be allowed to have visitors in their homes in a measure aimed at slowing the spread of the virus from the city. Read more here

Nestle more upbeat than rivals as certain product sales outperform: Nestle struck a more optimistic note than peers on Thursday, forecasting 2-3 per cent underlying sales growth this year as demand for high-end pet food and health products helped it eke out growth in the second quarter. Rivals Danone and Unilever posted a fall in quarterly sales and gave no outlook for the year. Read more here


Can coronavirus spread through the air? 
The World Health Organization recently acknowledged the possibility that Covid-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions. Recent Covid-19 outbreaks in crowded indoor settings — restaurants, nightclubs and choir practices — suggest the virus can hang around in the air long enough to potentially infect others if social distancing measures are not strictly enforced. Read this and more viral questions answered here

Almost 30 million Americans didn’t have enough to eat last week 
Food insecurity for US households last week reached its highest reported level since the Census Bureau started tracking the data in May, with almost 30 million Americans reporting that they’d not had enough to eat at some point in the seven days through July 21. In the bureau’s weekly Household Pulse Survey, roughly 23.9 million of 249 million respondents indicated they had “sometimes not enough to eat” for the week ended July 21, while about 5.42 million indicated they had “often not enough to eat.” The survey, which began with the week ended May 5, was published Wednesday. Read more here

Opinion: Ian Bremmer, a renowned political risk commentator, on Vaccine Nationalism
He writes that with 165 vaccine candidates around the world, competition for the most promising ones is increasing as countries seek an advantage. This is resulting in a diplomatic race where countries are first trying to secure a vaccine for their people, even as companies are not willing to forgo potential profits. Read the column to understand what is likely to happen

In pictures: Socially distant Hajj pilgrimage begins: Amidst efforts to curb Covid-19, the haj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca has been limited to about 1,000 Muslim faithful from within Saudi Arabia. See here

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