World Coronavirus Dispatch: Xi Jinping honours China's citizen volunteers

Topics Xi Jinping | Coronavirus | Lockdown

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China honours citizen volunteers who helped during Covid-19: In a pomp-filled ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Xi personally conferred medals on citizens deemed to have played instrumental roles in China’s fight against the virus identified in December in Wuhan. While other nations from India to the US grapple with ever-expanding outbreaks, China hasn’t reported a domestic infection in 22 days and Xi has increasingly turned his attention to bolstering the battered economy. Read more here

Total Confirmed Cases: 27,339,132

Change Over Yesterday: 224,561

Total Deaths: 892,648

Total Recovered: 18,337,243

Nations hit with most cases: US (6,300,671), India (4,280,422), Brazil (4,147,794), Russia (1,027,334) and Peru (689,977)

China says Wuhan is 'safe' and open for foreign investment: Executives from 20 foreign companies visited Wuhan recently, invited to hear about a rebound in the city that was the original epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak back in December. "Wuhan is a safe city," Ying Yong, the Communist Party secretary of Hubei Province, told the representatives from businesses such as Citibank and UK’s AstraZeneca as well as foreign media based in China. Read more here

Spain’s coronavirus case total passes half a million: Spain reported 5,25,549 total cases on Monday, making it the only country in western Europe to exceed the half-million mark. But the second wave seems less terrifying, with a mortality rate roughly half that at the height of the crisis, falling to 6.6 percent from the 12 percent peak in May. Read more here

UK carrier EasyJet cuts capacity, drops guidance: Britain’s biggest discount airline, which had been planning to fly at 40 percent capacity in the fourth quarter, now expects to operate at slightly less than that. EasyJet also dropped a forecast for a smaller loss this period than in the third quarter through June, when it had a shortfall of 324 million pounds ($426 million). Read more here

Oxford’s Covid vaccine begins trial in Australia: A new experimental Covid-19 vaccine originating from the University of Oxford has begun human trials in Australia in partnership with the Serum Institute of India. The shot was devised by SpyBiotech, a UK company spun out of Oxford in 2017. The institute has one of the most advanced Covid-19 shots currently in final-stage trials in partnership with AstraZeneca. Read more here

Trump vows to sharply scale back US economic ties with china: “We’ll manufacture our critical manufacturing supplies in the United States, we’ll create ‘made in America’ tax credits and bring our jobs back to the United States and we’ll impose tariffs on companies that desert America to create jobs in China and other countries,” Trump said at a White House news conference on Monday. Read more here


Alibaba and Tencent climb ranks of top Asian earners during pandemic

Major Asian tech companies have thrived in recent months despite the coronavirus pandemic, as stay-at-home demand reshuffles the ranks of the region's top earners in favour of companies such as e-tailers and chipmakers. Chinese companies occupy seven of the top 10 spots in a recent Nikkei ranking, with Alibaba Group Holding and others placing significantly higher than last year. Fellow e-tailer was among those to ascend past hundreds or even thousands of businesses on the list. Alibaba earned $6.7 billion in quarterly profit, propelling the e-commerce group to fourth place in the just-ended quarter from 13th. Tencent Holdings climbed to seventh place from 11th, while fellow gaming developer. Read more here

Bank of England Chief Economist against extending UK job support program

Continuing with state support for jobs threatened by the pandemic risks preventing a “necessary process of adjustment,” Chief Economist Andy Haldane has said. “Keeping all those jobs on life support is in some ways prolonging the inevitable in a way that actually doesn’t help either the individual or the business,” he said. “Our job as policy makers is to make that process of adjustment as seamless and as painless as possible.” With Germany extending its equivalent program until the end of 2021, and France also considering an extension, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has come under pressure to continue subsidizing wages beyond October 31, when the job support program is scheduled to end. Read more here

Why Russia’s economy is doing better in pandemic than others

Though Russia last week became only the fourth country to report more than 1 million cases of Covid-19, its economy is coming through the pandemic better than most other big emerging markets. Analysts say the outlook could yet improve. “When the pandemic broke out, Russia was in pretty good shape: low inflation, low unemployment, stable banking sector and huge reserves,” Renaissance Capital Chief Economist Sofya Donets said. “If there are no additional shocks, there will be a wave of forecast upgrades for Russia’s economy this year.” Kremlin is already touting the performance saying key indicators like employment will be back up to pre-crisis levels next year. Russia will even meet a long-sought Kremlin goal of reaching number five among world economies this year, measured by purchasing power parity. Read more here

Scientists warn we are entering the sixth mass extinction

Scientists have calculated how many mammals might be lost this century, based on fossil evidence of past extinctions. Their predictions suggest at least 550 species will follow in the footsteps of the mammoth and sabre-toothed cat. With every "lost species" we lose part of the Earth's natural history, they say. Yet, despite these "grim" projections, we can save hundreds of species by stepping up conservation efforts. The new research, published in the journal Science Advances, suggests that humans are almost entirely responsible for extinctions of mammals in past decades. And rates will escalate in the future if we don't take action now. Read more here

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