World coronavirus dispatch: Rumours, fear and rising deaths in Pakistan

People wearing masks to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus stands in line to refill their empty oxygen cylinders in Callao, Peru. Photo: AP | PTI
Two major Covid-19 studies have been retracted from the scientific journals they appeared in. The first, published in The Lancet, had reported dismal findings about the use of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine in treatment of Covid-19 patients, leading to the suspension of some clinical trials, including by the World Health Organization (WHO). The other in The New England Journal of Medicine was a heart study that showed cardiovascular diseases increased the risk of death among Covid-19 patients. Read more here

Let’s look at the global statistics
  • Total confirmed cases: 6,639,092
  • Change over previous day: 127,396
  • Total deaths: 391,249
  • Total recovered: 2,872,731
  • Nations hit with most cases: The US (1,872,660), Brazil (614,941), Russia (440,538), the UK (283,079) and Spain (240,660).
Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Brazil surpasses Italy in coronavirus deaths: Brazil reported 1,473 deaths on Thursday, bringing its death toll to 34,021, the most after the US and the UK. It also recorded 30,925 new cases in 24 hours, pushing its total to 614,941, behind only the US. Read more here

Fiji declares itself free from coronavirus: Fiji has declared itself coronavirus-free – at least for now – after all 18 people who tested positive recovered. Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama wrote on Twitter: “And even with our testing numbers climbing by the day, it’s now been 45 days since we recorded our last case. Read more here

Singapore ramps up vaccine manufacturing capacity: Singapore is building up its vaccine manufacturing capacity in order to finish contract manufacturing services to vaccine developers. The effort is aimed at helping companies ramp up production faster. The country is investing heavily in research and development on diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics. Read more here

France looks to protect further job losses: France will beef up incentives for apprenticeships and support businesses that keep staff on payroll. The move will cost around 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion). Despite a sweeping furlough programme expected to cost around 30 billion euros in 2020 to support around 12 million staffers, jobless claims have already spiked to a record high. Read more here

Portugal sees economy shrinking 6.9%: Portugal’s economy will shrink 6.9 per cent this year after the coronavirus outbreak forced authorities to impose confinement measures and shut some businesses. Portugal, which has the third-highest debt ratio in the euro area, behind only Greece and Italy, in May started easing some lockdown measures. Read more here

Aston Martin to cut 500 jobs in restructuring: Aston Martin will slash 500 jobs, a fifth of its workforce, while dealer group Lookers announced it was shedding 1,500 roles and shuttering a dozen sites. The losses come a week after McLaren axed 1,200 roles, with the sector braced for more possible cuts in the coming days. Read more here


Covid-19 pandemic hit black voters’ incomes hardest, FT poll shows: The survey showed 74 per cent of black voters reported a financial hit compared to 58 per cent of white voters. It also found that more African-Americans had lost their jobs since the outbreak began, highlighting the growing economic inequalities at a time when Americans are protesting against the killing of George Floyd. Read more findings here

What is the status of Brexit? The latest round of talks between the EU and UK on their post-Brexit relationship looks to have made little progress, increasing the pressure on Boris Johnson and EU leaders to try to thrash out a way forward when they meet later this month. Following three days of virtual talks this week, EU and UK officials said that the two sides remained far apart on core topics, including future alignment of business regulations and access to British fishing waters. Read more here

How the pandemic hit Malaysia’s palm oil industry: The coronavirus pandemic has left Malaysia’s palm oil industry without enough workers, a shortage that could cost farmers as much as 25 per cent of their annual production – a loss worth about $2.8 billion. Malaysia’s economy relies on palm oil, its most important agricultural commodity, but it needs migrant workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh and India. Read more here

Rumours, fear and rising Covid deaths in Pakistan: Doctors in Pakistan are warning that the country's already weak healthcare system could soon be overwhelmed by coronavirus patients. So far, with fewer than 2,000 deaths, the outbreak hasn't been as deadly as some initially feared. But with the rates of new cases and new fatalities at their highest levels yet, and lockdown restrictions lifted, doctors say intensive care units are now being stretched almost to capacity in many major hospitals. Read more here

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