World coronavirus dispatch: Will economy bear lingering scars of pandemic?

Covid-19 patients lie on beds in a field hospital built inside a gym in Santo Andre, on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: AP/PTI
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said the global economy is recovering more slowly than expected and will bear “lingering scars” from the coronavirus pandemic. The agency would release economic growth projections on 24 June that “will be, very likely, worse than what we had” in April, even as there remained “profound uncertainty” around the forecasts, said IMF Chief Economist Gita Gopinath. Earlier, the IMF had forecast a 3 per cent contraction in global economy for the current year. Read more here

Let’s look at the global statistics
  • Total confirmed cases: 7,514,559
  • Change over previous day: 154,320
  • Total deaths: 421,458
  • Total recovered: 3,540,696
  • Nations hit with most cases: The US (2,023,347), Brazil (802,828), Russia (501,800), India (297,535) and the UK (292,860).
Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Covid-19 infections are rising in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan: With some 350,000 confirmed cases and fewer than 9,000 deaths so far, the combined toll of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh looks relatively modest. Yet, these numbers might disguise both undercounting and a frightening rate of growth even before restrictions were lifted. Read more here

Twitter removes China-linked accounts spreading coronavirus misinformation: China had stepped up its effort to spread misinformation on Twitter, creating tens of thousands of fake accounts that discussed protests in Hong Kong and the Communist Party’s response to the coronavirus, Twitter said. It discovered and removed 23,750 accounts that were “highly engaged” in a coordinated effort to spread misinformation, and took down another 150,000 accounts that were amplifying these messages. Read more here

Japan announces $298-billion stimulus package: Japan’s parliament passed a record 31.9-trillion-yen ($298-billion) extra budget on Friday in an effort to shore up the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. The new spending provides financing help for struggling companies, payroll subsidies and aid to the medical system. Read more here

UK economy shrank 20.4% in April: After a 5.8 per cent drop in March, the UK economy contracted 20.4 per cent in April. This might prompt louder calls for the government to press ahead with plans to ease restrictions on industries struggling to survive the recession. On a three-month basis, economic output shrank 10.4 per cent. Read more here

Moderna’s Covid-19 drug-hopeful enters Phase-III trial: Biotech company Moderna has finalised plans for Phase-III testing of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate which will include 30,000 participants and is expected to begin in July. Read all about the drug here. Read more

Specials

Second real estate crash in Spain imminent: Spain’s $6-trillion home market looks headed for another crash, according to economists studying the impact of Europe’s strictest pandemic lockdown on property demand. While it’s too early to estimate the full dimensions of the blow to demand, experts looking at the Spanish market say the hit to housing prices in 2020 could range from 6.5 per cent to 15 per cent. Read more here

Glass vial makers prepare for Covid-19 vaccine: Drugmakers are warning of a potential shortage of vials to bottle future Covid-19 vaccines, but their rush to secure supplies risks making the matters worse, some major medical equipment manufacturers warn. Players like Pfizer, AstraZeneca and the GAVI vaccine alliance are pushing to mass-produce even before they are shown to work in trials. Read more here

Why UK’s recovery lags behind European peers: Economy activity in the UK has been growing from a low in April, with higher retail and consumer spending, improved demand for housing, increased mobility and more businesses reopening. But the improvement has been gradual, with the UK lagging behind other main European economies, especially Germany. The difference largely reflects the fact that restaurants and non-essential shops have been open for some time in most European economies, with restaurant bookings returning to normal levels in Germany in early June. In the UK, these sectors will not be fully open until late June at the earliest. Read more here
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