World Coronavirus Dispatch: EU slams China over fake Covid-19 info

New coronavirus infections are rising in at least 20 states
The European Union has levelled its most forceful criticism yet of China’s role in the spread of false information about the pandemic, saying on Wednesday that the country had engaged in “targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns in the bloc”.

In a new report, the European Commission, EU’s executive arm, blamed “foreign actors and certain third countries, in particular Russia and China,” for the disinformation campaigns. The accusation has been made before against Russia, but the inclusion of China was a significant development. Read more here.

Total Confirmed Cases: 7,360,239

Change Over Yesterday: 121,471

Total Deaths: 416,201

Total Recoveries: 3,454,807

Nations hit with most cases: US (2,000,464), Brazil (772,416), Russia (493,023), UK (291,588) and India (276,583)

Despite pandemic, Alibaba, ByteDance expand in Hong Kong: TikTok owner ByteDance and Alibaba Group have signed leases to add office space in Hong Kong. The expansion comes even as the pandemic prompts some banks to consider scaling back in the world’s most expensive office market. Read more here.

New cases in Germany lowest since late Feb: Germany recorded the fewest new coronavirus cases since the end of February and the infection rate fell back below the key threshold of 1.0. There were 16 new cases in the 24 hours through Thursday morning, bringing the total to 186,522. Read more here (

Now, 2 million cases in US, first for any nation: New coronavirus infections are rising in at least 20 states. While some early hot spots such as New York state have seen a sustained drop in new cases, Covid-19 hospitalisations have swelled recently in places like Texas, Arizona, Arkansas and California. Read more here.

Tokyo weighs ending alert and allowing karaoke: The city’s government is on the verge of lifting its alert as coronavirus appears to be under control. The alert was triggered on June 2. If it is indeed lifted, Tokyo plans to further ease restrictions, allowing karaoke parlours, internet cafes, game centres. Read more here

US orders Amazon, Ebay to stop shipping unproven Covid products: US is ordering two of the largest e-commerce marketplaces in the US -- Amazon and EBay -- to stop selling unsafe disinfectants, including products falsely marketed as killing Covid-19. It has ordered selling and distributing of 70 products, including sprays, lanyards and other gear sometimes touted as “preventing epidemics.” Read more here.


Call centers are finding Work from Home doesn’t work for them

Concern about data security, power outages, and poor internet service fuels a return to offices. Globally for a lot of people, their queries about their bank accounts, mobile phone service, or e-commerce orders, has involved talking on the phone with someone in the Philippines, where English-speaking operators handle queries, complaints, and other calls. US companies outsourcing this kind of customer service benefit from lower labour costs while counting on their Philippine operators to keep customers’ confidential information safe within the walls of the call centres. Now the coronavirus is testing that arrangement. After the Philippine government imposed a strict quarantine in March, call centers had permission to keep skeleton crews at their offices, but they had to send thousands of other employees to work from home. Even as lockdowns end in the island nation, social distancing rules remain in effect. Many staffers won’t be returning to call centers. Read more here.

Indonesia is worried about a post-pandemic baby boom

With restrictions in place, millions stopped visiting clinics for contraceptives, says the government, which promotes family planning as part of its fight against child malnutrition. Many women couldn’t get access to contraceptives because their health care provider was closed. Others did not want to risk a visit, for fear of catching the virus. Now, officials are expecting a wave of unplanned births next year, many of them to poor families who were already struggling. Read more here.

Stress levels show working from home is no holiday

While the opportunity to work from home has been a gift for some, others say it has added to their stress by blurring the line between their personal and professional lives. A recent study by Cigna, a U.S. health services company, found anxiety levels increased among workers in Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong after governments closed parts of their economies and telecommuting swept the region. This is likely the case in other places too. Read more here.

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