As many as 106,000 new coronavirus cases were added to the world total in just 24 hours on Thursday, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) — the most in a single day since the outbreak. Almost two-thirds of these cases were reported in just four countries. The surge in global Covid-19 infections — past the 5-million mark now — suggests the pandemic is still a long way from getting over. Experts warn that the true number of infections might be far higher but unreported because of low testing rates in many countries. Read more here.
Let’s look at the global statistics
Total confirmed cases: 4,999,981
Change over previous day: 283,468
Total deaths: 328,169
Total recovered: 1,899,285
Nations hit with most cases: The US (1,551,853), Russia (308,705), Brazil (291,579), the UK (249,619) and Spain (232,555).
Trump’s offensive against China: US President Donald Trump has escalated his rhetoric against China, suggesting Chinese leader Xi Jinping is behind a “disinformation and propaganda attack on the United States and Europe”. Over the weeks, Trump has made several remarks pulling up China for perceived lapses in handling the coronavirus situation. Read more here.
Australian central bank chief says recovery depends on vaccine: Philip Lowe, chief of the Australian central bank, has warned that economic recovery would likely to be “quite slow” without a Covid-19 vaccine. He has further said that the economic stimuli the central bank has implemented are working. In mid-March, the bank cut the cash rate to 0.25 per cent, announced a bond-buying programme and a $59-billion lending facility. Read more here.
Samsung invests in business despite pandemic scare: Samsung Electronics will forge ahead with billions of dollars of new investments in computer-chip production, despite uncertainties caused by the coronavirus pandemic and US-China trade war. The South Korean technology group will construct a $8-billion production line in its home country to produce high-end processor chips. Read more here.
World Bank’s new chief — A Crisis expert: Carmen Reinhart, a Harvard University professor who specialises in international financial crises and economic meltdowns, is to be the World Bank’s new chief economist. Reinhart, 64, will replace Penny Goldberg, who left the post in March after just 15 months in the job. Read more here.
Mexico City to re-open: Even as Mexico saw its largest one-day death toll, Mexico City, the capital, is to begin a gradual reopening from June 1. The reopening plan includes some of the industries whose return to work the government has already approved, such as construction, besides bicycle sales and beer production. Read more here.
'World’s best restaurant’ reopens as a cheeseburger joint: Noma, in Copenhagen, Denmark, won the title of world's best restaurant multiple times — now it's becoming a cheeseburger joint for the Covid-19 era. That’s because intimate dining in close quarters is a thing of the past. A burger joint sends the message that the place is open to everyone. Moreover, burger is great for takeaways. Read more here.
The Vaccine tracker: Moderna’s vaccine has passed a crucial early safety test, and there's a push for progress with vaccines from the UK and China. Gilead Sciences is ramping up output of its drug remdesivir after the US issued an emergency use authorisation. With more than 100 vaccines under development and at least as many drugs being examined, here’s a real-time tracker of all potential drugs in various phases of trials.
No more need for offices? According to London-based property consultancy Knight Frank, 73 per cent of major Asia-Pacific office markets have recorded declines in leasing activity in the four weeks to April 14, including Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Jakarta. Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Manila were the only four markets that registered stable leasing activity. In a survey of 150 companies in China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand, Knight Frank said 28 per cent of respondents expected to reduce the amount of office space taken up. Read more here.