World Coronavirus Dispatch: EU relief package closer to finalisation

Scores of members of Russia’s business and political elite were given experimental vaccine against Covid-19 developed by state-run Gamaleya Institute in Moscow as early as April.
EU relief package closer to getting finalised: The four EU governments that have been holding up negotiations over a massive stimulus package, estimated at $856 billion, are ready to agree on a key plank of the deal. Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Sweden are satisfied with $450 billion of the fund being made available as grants with the rest coming as low-interest loans.

The overall package under discussion is worth about 1.8 trillion euros. More than 1 trillion euros will be distributed in grants from the bloc’s regular budget with another 750 billion euros lined up for the emergency stimulus package. Germany contributes the lion’s share to the bloc’s budget. 
Read more here 

Let’s look at the global statistics

Total Confirmed Cases: 14,507,491

Change Over Yesterday: 215,486

Total Deaths: 606,173

Total Recovered: 8,133,663

Nations hit with most cases: US (3,773,260), Brazil (2,098,389), India (1,118,206), Russia (770,311) and South Africa (364,328)

Russian elite got experimental vaccine in April: Scores of members of Russia’s business and political elite were given experimental vaccine against Covid-19 developed by state-run Gamaleya Institute in Moscow as early as April. The Gamaleya vaccine last week completed a phase 1 trial involving Russian military personnel. Read more here

UK first to sign up for potential German vaccine: Britain has become the first country to secure supply of a potential Covid-19 vaccine developed by Germany’s BioNTech and US pharma giant Pfizer, signing an agreement for 30 million doses to be delivered over the next two years. The companies’ coronavirus vaccine is one of 23 currently being evaluated in clinical trials. Read more here

Dubai’s biggest bank, Emirates NBD, sees profit slump: Emirates NBD PJSC first-half profit slumped 45 percent after it set aside $1.1 billion in provisions to cover an expected spike in bad loans brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The crisis is also prompting a new wave of consolidation talk among banks in the Middle East. Read more here

UN sets up coronavirus care facility in Nairobi: The United Nations entered a partnership with Kenya’s largest private hospital to set up a coronavirus treatment facility in Nairobi to cater to the global organization’s workers and family members in Africa. It comes in amid anxiety over a surge in Covid-19 infections in a region where clinical capacity is very low. Read more here

Bangladesh allows late-stage trial of China's Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine: Bangladesh has approved the third-phase trial of a potential Covid-19 vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech, as infections continue to rise in the densely-populated South Asian country. Sinovac has been looking for volunteers outside of China as the number of coronavirus cases there has dwindled. Read more here

Specials

A music festival might have the secret to safe, live performance: 
As dozens of events get cancelled due to Covid-19, Salzburg Festival, the 100 year-old Austrian institution, has come up with an alternative. The organisers have decided to hold an abbreviated program, with 30 performances spread over 90 days. Crowd will naturally split up and attend only on days they pick. Further, seating will be arranged in a chessboard pattern, to prevent potential spread. This means that even couples won’t be able to sit next to one another. Tickets will be non-transferable and names will be checked before entry; should an infection occur, authorities can conduct speedy contact tracing. This is the template Salzburg is putting out. Read more here

When the US sneezes, the world catches a cold. What happens when it has severe Covid-19?
“The risk ahead is that a large share of the US population will have to contend with an important deterioration of living standards and significant economic hardship for several years. This, in turn, can further weaken demand and exacerbate longer-term headwinds to growth,” said the IMF in a recent review. The US economy accounts for about a quarter of world GDP. More job losses would mean lower consumer spending leading to fewer imports; weak business conditions leading to less investment in the equipment or supplies. Read more here

Refresher: Can you catch Covid-19 twice?

 
Coronavirus is a completely new infection in people. Nobody had immunity to the virus at the start of the pandemic, but immunity is the key to getting life back to normal. There were early reports of people appearing to have multiple coronavirus infections in a short space of time. But the scientific consensus is that testing was the issue, with patients being incorrectly told they were free of the virus. They were infected twice, once to build up an immune response and then a second time three weeks later. Those very limited experiments showed they did not develop symptoms again after such a quick reinfection. Read more here

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