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World Coronavirus Dispatch: Did the disease appear earlier than thought?

From taking a look at potential holiday destinations, to a possible wave of bankruptcies in Russia

Coronavirus | COVID-19 | Healthcare sector

Yuvraj Malik 

vaccine, pharma, coronavirus, medicine, drugs, medical research, covid, lab
The discovery of virus genome presence so early in Spain, if confirmed, would imply the disease may have appeared much earlier than the scientific community thought.

found in March 2019 sewage sample

Spanish virologists have found traces of the novel in a sample of Barcelona waste water collected in March 2019, nine months before the disease was identified in China, the University of Barcelona said on Friday. The discovery of virus genome presence so early in Spain, if confirmed, would imply the disease may have appeared much earlier than the scientific community thought. The University of Barcelona team, who had been testing waste water since mid-April this year to identify potential new outbreaks, decided to also run tests on older samples. They first found the virus was present in Barcelona on January 15, 2020, 41 days before the first case was officially reported there. Read more here

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total Confirmed Cases: 98,07,191

Change Over Yesterday: 3,76,807

Total Deaths: 4,94,375

Total Recovered: 49,47,786

Nations hit with most cases: US (24,67,837), Brazil (12,74,974), Russia (6,19,936), India (5,08,953) and UK (3,10,836).

Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Britain close to revealing ‘air corridor’ destinations: Under a new system laid out by the government, people will be allowed to arrive in the UK without self-isolating if they travel from “green” or “amber” countries. UK would set out the full list of countries next week, which is expected to include France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Denmark. Read more here

Slaughter houses in Europe are becoming superspreaders: The latest flurry of cases across European meat plants has confirmed their status as pandemic hotspots. More than 1,550 employees of a German slaughterhouse have tested positive for the virus this month, and at least eight plants in the UK have also found infections among workers. Read more here

IMF approves $5.2 billion stand-by arrangement for Egypt: The agreement aims to help Egypt cope with challenges posed by the pandemic by providing fund resources to meet Egypt’s balance of payments needs and to finance the budget deficit. The one-year agreement follows Egypt’s securing of $2.8 billion from the fund last month. Read more here

World Bank approves $350 million loan for Ukraine: The loan is in support of reforms that are critical to its economic recovery. Ukrainian government said earlier this month it expected to receive this loan by the end of June after securing a $5 billion loan program from the IMF on June 9. Read more here

EU may bar Americans travelling to Europe: The EU will reportedly block most Americans from traveling to the bloc, a policy that reflects the US’s failure to fully control the coronavirus pandemic. Starting July 1, European countries are loosening travel restrictions for a dozen countries — including China (if Beijing allows EU travellers too) — that meet certain criteria. Read more here

US airline Delta to furlough workers: Delta Air Lines has said it will soon send warning notices to about 2,500 pilots regarding possible furloughs at the airline, as the industry takes a huge blow after the coronavirus pandemic slashed air travel demand. It is also considering offering an early retirement plan to employees. Read more here


Russia may see a wave of bankruptcy filings: Russia’s $1.6 trillion economy is going to be dealt another blow when a moratorium is lifted on companies filing for bankruptcy. The measure helped protect healthy businesses from creditors but left those that won’t survive limping along as zombies. It expires in October. The surge in corporate failures threatens to compound an already painful year for Russia’s economy, which is heading for its worst slump in more than a decade. Read more here

Second-generation Covid-19 vaccines are built for impact over speed

Speed isn’t the only thing that matters in the quest for a vaccine to end the Covid-19 pandemic. They may not cross the finish line first, but dozens of companies and universities still see an opening for inoculations that prevent more infections, provide lasting immunity, protect older and more vulnerable people, yield massive quantities or ship easily throughout the world. Those are benefits the front-runners may not be able to deliver. Read more here

Info-graphic: Where can you travel this summer?

Here’s a complete list of travel restrictions in all major countries.

The Financial Times breaks down who can travel where, as the northern hemisphere summer and European holiday season approach their peaks. The situation is changing all the time, so it is recommended to check an official source for the latest information before making travel plans. See it here

First Published: Sat, June 27 2020. 18:10 IST