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World Coronavirus Dispatch: Covid boosts risk of psychiatric disorders

Ukraine President tests positive, Hungary and Portugal plan curfews as cases surge, spike in Australian business confidence and other pandemic-related news across the globe

Coronavirus Tests | Coronavirus Vaccine

Yuvraj Malik  |  New Delhi 

A heath worker prepares the injection site on a patient's arm for administration of the Sputnik V vaccine during a trial in Moscow, on Sept. 23. (Photo: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

Brazil halts Chinese vaccine trial: The final-stage trial of a Chinese frontrunner vaccine candidate has been halted in Brazil due to a serious adverse event.Testing of Sinovac Biotech’s vaccine, called Coronavac, has been halted in Brazil after an event that occurred on 29 October, said the Brazil Health Agency on Tuesday, without giving any further detail on what happened. The study is interrupted in accordance with regulations while the agency analyzes if the study should continue, it said. Sao Paulo’s Instituto Butantan, which partnered with Sinovac to produce the vaccine locally, said in a statement it was surprised by the decision and is looking into details of what happened in the study. Read more here

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total Confirmed Cases: 50,875,289

Change Over Yesterday: 428,772

Total Deaths: 1,262,622

Total Recovered: 33,236,545

Nations hit with most cases: US (10,110,922), India (8,553,657), Brazil (5,675,032), France (1,856,292) and Russia (1,781,997)

Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Covid boosts risk of psychiatric disorders, says study: Patients with Covid-19 are more likely to develop psychiatric disorders such as anxiety or depression, according to a new study that adds to the evidence of lingering health damage. Almost 20 percent of people received a psychiatric diagnosis within three months of getting Covid-19 in the study. One in five coronavirus survivors was found to have anxiety, depression, or insomnia for the first time. Read more here

Pfizer’s early data shows its vaccine is more than 90 percent effective: The drug maker announced on Monday that an early analysis of its trial suggested the vaccine was robustly effective in preventing Covid-19. Pfizer, which developed the vaccine with the German drug maker BioNTech, released only sparse details from its clinical trial, based on the first formal review of the data by an outside panel of experts. Read more here

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, tested positive for the coronavirus: Zelensky, who is 42 and not known to have any of the underlying conditions that could put him at risk of developing severe illness from the virus, said in a post in English on Twitter that he felt “good” and was taking vitamins, adding, “it’s gonna be fine!” The Ukrainian president said he intended to isolate himself but keep working. Read more here

Hungary and Portugal plan curfews and new restrictions as cases surge: Hungary and Portugal are the latest European countries to adopt new measures like curfews and limits on gatherings to curb rapid rises in new coronavirus cases. Hungary has imposed general curfew from 8 pm to 5 am. Portugal has instated a state of emergency. Read more here

UK retailers enjoyed a bit of growth before lockdown striked: The British Retail Consortium recorded an 5.2 percent increase in October compared to a year earlier on a like-for-like basis. The data includes online sales, which climbed almost 40 percent.

Shops are having a rough time as coronavirus restrictions keep Britons at home. Restaurants and non-essential stores have been forced to close again to contain the pandemic until at least 2 December, darkening the outlook further. Read more here

Australian business confidence jumps to highest since mid-2019: Australian business confidence surged to the highest level since May 2019 as firms took heart from declining Covid infections and the southeastern state of Victoria emerged from lockdown. Sentiment climbed to 5 points in October from -4 a month earlier, National Australia Bank said Tuesday in a statement. The conditions index -- which measures hiring, sales and profits -- edged up to 1 from zero in September. Read more here


Silicon Valley firm chases gulf cash as virus fans tech’s appeal
A Silicon Valley venture-capital firm is targeting cash-flush Middle Eastern investors to fund technology companies, all while scouting the Gulf for buying opportunities. Tribe Capital Partners LLC partnered with Dubai-based boutique financial and investment adviser Arrow Capital in a first-of-its-kind cooperation deal for the Gulf, according to Arjun Sethi, Tribe’s co-founder.The San Francisco-headquartered firm has invested about $450 million in companies like software developer Carta Inc. and self-driving simulator Applied Intuition Inc. since its formation about 2-1/2 years ago. The push for new avenues of financing comes as investors from the Gulf seek alternative asset classes such as private equity or venture funds to diversify away from holdings in real estate, fixed income or equity markets. Ultra high-net-worth individuals and family offices are looking to follow sovereign wealth funds making technology investments abroad. Read more here


These charts show the euphoria the vaccine news created:

Investors stampeded out of haven assets like the yen and Treasuries and rushed into securities most exposed to an economic recovery. The outsized moves reflected pent up hope that a return to normal lies in the not-so-distant future, even as experts cautioned the road to a vaccine will not be a short one. See here

WFH is old news. The "near home" office is the next big thing

The emerging markets bank says it will “push the boundaries” for half of its 85,000 staff, who work in nine of the 55 countries where it operates. From early next year, it will offer those employees the option of heading to a “near home” location, which it will rent from an office-sharing company. Workers will also have the permanent choice of working from home more. Those who find WFH too stifling might see the appeal of a satellite office in their nearest town, and it might be appropriate in countries where StanChart has big support functions such as Poland, Malaysia, China and India. Read more here

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First Published: Tue, November 10 2020. 13:50 IST