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World coronavirus dispatch: EU finally announces $560-bn relief package

From Italy and Spain extending their lockdowns, to Yemen's first coronavirus case, and Amazon starting its own test facility - read these and more in today's world digest

Coronavirus | Lockdown

Yuvraj Malik 

File photo: South Korea dials up testing with hospital 'phone booth'

Europe, the most affected by the pandemic globally at present, has finally agreed upon a relief package totalling 500 billion euros ($560 billion). This marks the end of a long deadlock — mostly on a video conference — among finance representatives of European nations.

The main component of the rescue plan is 240 billion euros worth of credit lines to indebted countries hit by Covid-19. A part of the money will also go to European Investment Bank, which has been asked to increase lending to recovery initiatives.

And finally, 100 billion euros will be set aside for a new unemployment insurance scheme. Read full details here.

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total confirmed cases: 1,612,646

Change over the previous day: 121,856

Total deaths: 96,787

Total recovered: 361, 377

Nations hit with most cases: US (466,299), Spain (157,022), Italy (143,626), France (118,785), and Germany (118,235).

Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Longer lockdowns in Italy and Spain: Spain is poised to extend its nationwide and Italy is moving towards doing the same, as Europe’s rising infection rate has complicated earlier plans. Leaders in the two countries, as well as in Germany, are holding consultations and will come out with announcements soon. Read more here.

16.8 million Americans out of work: US jobless claims are mounting. Data show that more than 10 in every 100 workers have lost their jobs in the past three weeks. The figures collectively constitute the largest and fastest string of job losses in records dating to 1948. Read more here.

Yemen’s first case: War-torn Yemen has announced its first confirmed case of coronavirus, stoking fears that an outbreak could devastate its already crippled health care system. The country is a uniquely dangerous place for Covid-19 to spread. Repeated bombings and ground fighting over five years of war have destroyed or closed more than half the country’s health facilities. Read more here.

China will keep testing residents in Wuhan: Wuhan, where the global outbreak began, is still testing residents regularly, despite having relaxed its tough of more than two months, as concerns remain over an influx of infected patients from abroad, as well as China’s ability to detect asymptomatic patients. Read more here.

Facebook usage soars, but online advertising plunges: Facebook has said that total messaging across its services has increased 50 per cent in countries hit hard by the virus outbreak, with video messaging more than doubling. But it has warned that increased activity wouldn’t shield the company from the online-advertising pullback. Read more here.

Amazon is building its own Covid-19 testing lab: E-commerce major Amazon is building its own Covid-19 testing capabilities so that it can monitor the health of its employees. More than 50 Amazon-owned facilities have confirmed cases in the US. The company said it had begun assembling the equipment to build its first lab and hoped to start testing on frontline workers with a view to scaling it across the company.


The howling: From California to New York, Americans are taking a moment each night at 8 pm to howl in a quickly spreading ritual that has become a wrenching response of a society cut off from one another by the pandemic. The mental impact of the stringent lockdowns is just coming out to the fore. Read more here.

In US, dealmakers turning to drones to complete transactions: For a lot of deals in the consumer sector to chemicals and mining, on-site visits to factories, plants and pits are crucial for bidders to assess the assets. And deal advisors globally are now forced to get creative to keep processes going during the crisis. Read more here.

Coronavirus ‘reactivates’ in cured patients: About 51 patients classed as having been cured in South Korea have tested positive again. Rather than being infected again, the virus may have been reactivated in these people, given that they tested positive again shortly after being released from quarantine. Read more here.

Earliest outbreaks traced to religious services or pilgrimages: South Korea’s outbreak intensified from a secretive church in Daegu, Israel’s virus hotspot is Bnei Brak, home to ultra-Orthodox, Iran’s outbreak epicentre was the holy city Qom, cases in India shot up from a meeting of Tablighi Jamaat. More instances compiled here.

3D Printers recast virus-weary supply chains: With all the manufacturing challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak — from factory closures to transportation snarls and a worldwide dearth of vital protective gear and medical equipment — one solution keeps popping up: 3D printing. Several companies from Boeing to Ford are pushing the peddle of 3D, wherever it makes sense. Read more here.


What the next phase of the virus may look like: People will be impatient to return to their old lives. But here is the cruel reality: The places that return too quickly — and cause new outbreaks — will be the ones that end up suffering the longest periods of social distancing in the end. Read it here.


How the Virus Got Out: NYT analyses the movements of hundreds of millions of people, as dots moving around on the map, to present how coronavirus spread out of China. Experience it here.

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First Published: Sat, April 11 2020. 07:01 IST