World Coronavirus Dispatch: Poland President Andrzej Duda tests positive

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than a million people across the globe and countless more lives have been devastated by its impact
Covid surge hangs over US election in closing days: US states were grappling with a surge in Covid-19 cases and a senior aide to Mike Pence, the vice-president, reportedly tested positive for the virus, as Donald Trump and Joe Biden staged a series of campaign rallies on Saturday. The campaign events were held as several US states reported a sharp uptick in infections and Marc Short, chief of staff to Pence, tested positive for coronavirus, adding that the vice-president had tested negative. The US reported 82,668 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, down from a record one-day high of 83,010 on Friday. Read more here


 Let’s look at the global statistics:


Total Confirmed Cases: 42,624,910

Change Over Yesterday: 427,534

Total Deaths: 1,149,928

Total Recovered: 28,768,667


Nations hit with most cases: US (8,576,725), India (7,864,811), Brazil (5,380,635), Russia (1,487,260) and France (1,084,659)


Research Center


 Singapore to try quicker testing method for migrant workers: For a period of four weeks, a group of 1,000 migrant workers will undergo antigen rapid testing every seven days, the Ministry of Manpower said. That’s in addition to the polymerase chain reaction test that they receive every 2 weeks. The new method potentially allows infected workers to be isolated more quickly, reducing the risk of the virus spreading to other residents in dormitories. Read more here


Poland President Duda tests positive for virus: Andrzej Duda has has contracted Covid-19 but is feeling "good", he says. Duda, 48, was tested on Friday and found to be positive, but it is not clear when he contracted the virus. He joins a handful of world leaders who have been ill with Covid-19, among them US President Donald Trump and UK PM Boris Johnson. Read more here


Greek Covid-19 cases hit record as new curbs kick in: Greece reported 935 new infections of Covid-19 on Saturday, a fresh daily record, as further restrictions to deal with a new wave kicked in for high-risk regions. In Athens, home to half the population, people were largely complying with new rules from Saturday for worst-hit areas, including mandatory mask-wearing in outdoors spaces and no movement from 12.30 am-5 am. Read more here


Britain records 23,012 new cases on Saturday, up from Friday: Britain recorded 23,012 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, up from 20,530 on Friday, government data showed. There were 174 deaths within 28 days of a positive test, down from 224 on Friday. Read more here


France reports record of over 45,000 new coronavirus cases in a day: 138 people had died from coronavirus infection in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 34,645. The total number of confirmed cases rose to 1,086,497, after breaking above the 1 million mark for the first time on Friday. The nation said that 16 percent of all coronavirus tests were positive, a new high and more than double the level of a month ago. Read more here




Japan Inc finds new business case for robotics during Covid-19


Shares in Japan’s office, medical and industrial goods suppliers including Askul, MonotaRo and As One have soared as heavy investments in robots helped these companies to handle a jump in online orders during the pandemic. Coronavirus has boosted an existing trend in which Japanese ecommerce groups have turned to automation to counter a chronic labour shortage in a country that already makes half the world’s industrial robots. But robots installed in warehouses and distribution centres have also allowed these companies to reap the benefit of bumper online sales during lockdowns, while maintaining social distancing by minimising interactions between human workers. Read more here


College-age Americans face permanent hit with few job prospects


America’s youngest workers started the year with a rare opportunity to slingshot their careers in the hottest job market in decades. They’ll end 2020 facing some of the nation’s bleakest employment prospects and the most volatile job market ever for recent college graduates.

The unemployment rate for young people age 20 to 24 was 12.5 percent in September, the highest among adults. Joblessness for them peaked at nearly 26 percent at the height of the pandemic in April -- quadruple the level two months earlier -- a bigger jump than in any previous recession back to the 1940. Economists say the longer that young people are forced to delay their careers, the worse their prospects will be in the future to hold a job, accumulate wealth, or even get married or start a family. Read more here


Covid 19 and pollution


A Harvard University study shows that an increase of only one microgram per cubic metre in PM 2.5 - dangerous tiny pollutants in the air - is associated with an 8 percent increase in the Covid-19 death rate. Another study by scientists at the UK's University of Cambridge also found a link between the severity of Covid-19 infection and long-term exposure to air pollutants, including nitrogen oxides and ground-level ozone from car exhaust fumes or burning of fossil fuels. "Such pollutants can also cause a persistent inflammatory response and increase the risk of infection by viruses that target the respiratory tract," Marco Travaglio, one of the co-authors of the study, told the BBC. PM2.5 levels in Delhi have averaged around 180-300 micrograms per cubic metre in recent weeks - 12 times higher than the WHO's safe limits. Read more here


Six-part FT investigation on what went wrong as Covid-19 spread across the world

The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than a million people across the globe and countless more lives have been devastated by its impact. But could the world have been spared such a disaster if it had responded differently? Read here


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