World coronavirus dispatch: Work on vaccine globalised like never before

Topics Coronavirus | Vaccine | Lockdown

The scientific work to understand the virus and develop a vaccine has been globalised on an unprecedented scale. Photo: Reuters
The number of people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus worldwide has surpassed the 7-million mark. Policy response to the crisis has been ‘every-country-for-itself’ and — in the case of the US and China — tinged with geopolitical rivalry. But the scientific work to understand the virus and develop a vaccine has been globalised on an unprecedented scale. Read more here

Let’s look at the global statistics
  • Total confirmed cases: 7,015,079
  • Change over previous day: 116,466
  • Total deaths: 402,852
  • Total recovered: 3,142,453
  • Nations hit with most cases: The US (1,942,363), Brazil (691,758), Russia (467,073), the UK (287,621) and India (257,486).
Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Japan's GDP contracted 2.2% in first quarter: Japan's economy shrank 2.2 per cent at an annualised pace in January-March, according to official figures, a milder decline than the estimated 3.4 per cent. Read more here

Travel rules eased in Ireland, shops reopen: The Republic of Ireland is beginning the second phase of relaxing its Covid-19 lockdown measures. All street shops can now resume their business while enforcing social distancing. But opening times will be staggered to avoid unnecessary crowds. Read more here

No active cases in New Zealand: The island nation of New Zealand on Monday said it had no active cases of Covid-19, for the first time since the novel coronavirus arrived in the country. It also said there had been no new cases for 17 consecutive days. Read more here

Americans want meat-free takeaways: A new survey has found that half of Americans think the food industry should focus more on meat-free foods. The survey also found that half of respondents don’t think the meat industry cares about the health of its workers, and 65 per cent don’t think it cares about the treatment of animals. Read more here

Demonstrations in Brazil against handling of pandemic: Anti-government demonstrations broke out in several Brazilian cities on Sunday as President Jair Bolsonaro suffered growing backlash against his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Brazil has become a global hotspot for the virus, with 0.7 million cases. Read more here

Singapore may shun globalisation ethos: Singapore won’t return to the open and connected global economy that existed before the island nation went into a partial lockdown, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said. The city state has benefited from an open global economy, serving as a hub for trade, but with rising unemployment and risks of virus resurgence, it will work towards safeguarding interests of its own people. Read more here

Singapore Airlines secures $1 billion credit: Singapore Airlines on Monday said that it had secured about $1 billion in credit facilities, in addition to the $6.32 billion it recently raised from a rights issue, to weather the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more here


How the coronavirus devastated the diamond world: Miners have refused to cut prices and have instead allowed buyers unprecedented freedom to renege on contracts to buy stones. They’ve also reduced production in an effort to control stock levels. Yet, diamonds keep piling up. According to Gemdax, a specialist advisory firm, five of the biggest producers are probably sitting on excess inventories worth about $3.5 billion. Read more here

Revamp work from home routine to avoid burnout: “You want to mitigate the effects of this collective trauma,” says Joyce Dorado, a psychiatry professor at the University of California at San Francisco. “That chronic, long-term stress of a looming threat can wear down our brains and our bodies, and we need to address it.” Translation: Your usual cocktail of busyness, overwork, and denial won’t cut it. Read here to find out some simple new formulae to combat lockdown-work fatigue. Read more

How the lockdown has changed human behaviour: It’s too early to be definitive on how all this will fundamentally change behaviour, but some signs are emerging. People are investing more in their homes. Online shopping is mainstream. Also, most people are so comfortable and realise the internet’s benefits, like saving time, that it’s hard to see the masses returning to pre-virus behaviour. Read it here

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