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World Coronavirus Dispatch: Pandemic-related cyber-crimes soar in UK

China tightens curbs to stamp out new surges, Australian central bank cuts rates, Liverpool to be first UK city to hold mass testing and other pandemic-related news across the globe

Coronavirus Vaccine | Coronavirus Tests

Yuvraj Malik  |  New Delhi 

A cleaner in Amman works during a Covid-19 induced nationwide lockdown in Jordan. Photo: Reuters

Pandemic-related cyber-crimes spike in the UK: A state security agency has stepped in to help Britain’s National Health Service repel a surge in cyber-crime linked to the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19 forced millions to work from home and fuelled anxieties about the virus, presenting a tempting target for cyber criminals. A division of GCHQ, Britain’s signals intelligence agency, the NCSC said that since March it had taken down 15,354 campaigns using coronavirus to lure people into clicking links which could have led to phishing and malware. Many of the 22,000 malicious web addresses it tackled hosted scams playing on Covid-19 fears like pretending to sell personal protection equipment. Read more here

Let’s look at the global statistics: 

Total Confirmed Cases: 46,884,703

Change Over Yesterday: 384,646

Total Deaths: 1,200,310

Total Recovered: 31,078,655

Nations hit with most cases: US (9,292,514), India (8,267,623), Brazil (5,554,206), Russia (1,624,665) and France (1,460,745)

Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

China tightens Covid-19 restrictions to stamp out new surges: Facing fresh coronavirus outbreaks in Xinjiang and Qingdao, China has intensified efforts to contain infections through widespread testing and travel restrictions. A factory worker in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region tested positive in a polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, screening on Saturday. Follow-up tests among the patient's close contacts uncovered 137 new cases, and the area surrounding the factory has been locked down. Read more here

Australian central bank cuts interest rates: Australia’s central bank cut interest rates and announced purchases of longer-dated bonds to complement its yield curve control program for shorter-length maturities. The Reserve Bank of Australia lowered its key interest rate, yield-curve target and bank lending facility rate to 0.10 percent from 0.25 percent, as forecast by an overwhelming majority of economists. It said it plans to buy $70.4 billion of government bonds. Read more here

Six Asean Nations start single transit regime for goods movement: Six Southeast Asian nations including Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia have started a single cross-border transit regime for smoother movement of goods by land within the region. The system aims to bolster supply chain connectivity across the region, simplifying customs, saving time and reducing costs. Read more here

Liverpool to be first UK city to hold trial of mass testing for Covid-19: Liverpool will be the first city in the UK to conduct a trial of mass testing for Covid-19, with everyone living or working there eligible for a test, the UK government announced on Tuesday. Using a new breed of tests that can give results within an hour, the government aims to control the spread of the virus and gain more data on the number of cases across the city of 500,000. Read more here


Kids are participating in Covid-19 vaccine trials. Here's what their parents think

Katelyn Evans, 16, has never met Randy Kerr—and there’s no reason she should have. It was 66 years ago that Kerr, then 6, became briefly famous, receiving the first injection of Jonas Salk’s experimental polio vaccine during the massive field trial of hundreds of thousands of children in the spring of 1954. History notes that the vaccine worked, and the children who stepped forward to receive either the actual shot or a placebo were heroically dubbed the Polio Pioneers. Evans is a pioneer of the modern age, one of an eventual group of 600 children in the 16-to-17 year-old age group (along with 2,000 more between 12 and 15) to volunteer to be part of a Phase 3 trial to test an experimental COVID-19 vaccine made by the multinational pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. The company had already enrolled 42,113 adult volunteers in its Phase 2 and 3 trials, but only recently did the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) give approval to include children. And Evans, a high school junior in Cincinnati, was among the earliest, receiving her first of two injections on 14 October, at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Read more here

China’s race for Covid-19 vaccine raises safety questions

The lack of clarity over the standards and safeguards used by Chinese developers is drawing concern because some of their vaccines are being distributed in China under an emergency use program before full regulatory approval. In the U.S., President Donald Trump repeatedly claimed a working shot would be available there ahead of the Nov. 3 election. There are potentially far-reaching implications for the way China goes about its vaccines. The Asian country has the largest number of candidates in late-stage trials, and Chinese shots could be used by millions worldwide because President Xi Jinping has pledged to share successful ones overseas. The U.K.’s AstraZeneca Plc and U.S.-based Johnson & Johnson temporarily halted testing earlier this year after a single participant in each trial got sick, in order to examine the cause. In contrast, China’s science ministry has said its companies have inoculated about 60,000 volunteers in final-stage trials, but there have been no reports of serious adverse events. Read more here

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First Published: Tue, November 03 2020. 15:36 IST