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World coronavirus dispatch: Return of virus in China a warning to the world

From Amazon preparing to resume 1- and 2-day deliveries, to bankers returning to work in Asia, and whether Covid-19 is making us more generous - read these and more in today's world dispatch

Coronavirus | China | USA

Yuvraj Malik  |  New Delhi 

Spaniards were able to go outdoors to do exercise for the first time in seven weeks since the lockdown began to battle the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: PTI
Spaniards were able to go outdoors to do exercise for the first time in seven weeks since the lockdown began to battle the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: PTI

Mainland reported seven new infections on May 12, compared with just one the previous day. Jilin might be emerging as the potential source of a new wave of infections, according to officials. also confirmed eight new asymptomatic cases. The return of the virus in is a warning to the world, as most major countries are lifting or plan to lift lockdowns. Track the rise in Chinese cases here and global cases here.

Let’s look at the global statistics:

Total confirmed cases: 4,261,955

Change over previous day: 67,629

Total deaths: 291,964

Total recovered: 1,493,414

Nations hit with most cases: The US (1,369,574), Russia (232,243), Spain (228,030), the UK (227,741) and Italy (221,216).

Source: Johns Hopkins Research Center

US virus advisors warn senators against hasty re-opening: In a senate hearing, Dr Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the US, and Dr Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, predicted dire consequences if the nation reopened its economy too soon, noting that the US lacked critical testing capacity and the ability to trace the contacts of those infected. Read more about it here and about how ‘testing’ became a flash point in the Senate hearing here.

Israeli police arrest over 300 at a mass gathering: The Israeli police said hundreds of religious Jews turned up at Mount Meron and police checkpoints on roads nearby, and some “threw stones and other objects at police officers at the scene”, despite regulations against large assemblies. Jews observed the holiday of Lag B'Omer, on which ultra-Orthodox Jews customarily gather at the tomb of a prominent rabbi in antiquity on Mount Meron. Read more here.

Russia now has second-highest virus case total: A day after President Putin eased in Russia on Tuesday, and factory and construction workers returned to work, the country became the second most affected globally by the count of positive coronavirus cases. This was even as Putin had given regions the freedom to set restrictions based on local circumstances. Despite the very high number of confirmed cases, Russia's death toll remains quite low at 2,116. Read more here.

Amazon says delivery speed returning to normal after Covid crunch: Inc has the one- and two-day delivery times shoppers had come to expect should return gradually in coming weeks as the online retailer caught up from a demand surge tied to the coronavirus outbreak. Quick delivery is central to Amazon’s customer promise, helping it attract more than 100 million people who pay monthly or yearly for Prime memberships. Read more here.

Citigroup, Morgan Stanley are returning to offices in Asia: Thousands of bankers on Monday returned to their offices across some of Asia’s biggest financial hubs. In Hong Kong, Citigroup Inc is planning to install plastic partitions in some work stations as it ramps up office staff. At Bank of China’s Beijing hub, the staff kitchen is closed, so employees have to take turns getting boxed lunches for colleagues. Morgan Stanley has recalibrated the elevator in its Hong Kong skyscraper for faster rides and fewer passengers. Read more here.

Italy sees big jump in confirmed coronavirus cases: A big jump in confirmed Covid-19 cases in Italy’s hardest-hit region led to the country reporting its highest daily increase in several days. According to official data, 1,033 cases were confirmed in Lombardy since Monday. Read more here.

WeWork dumps about fifth of co-working space in Hong Kong: US real estate firm WeWork is returning about 20 per cent of its Hong Kong premises to their owners, as start-ups, small enterprises and other short-term tenants have failed to take up its offering of shared working spaces. The withdrawal is its first in the four years since it entered the Hong Kong market. Read more here.

Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine moves to Phase-II testing: US-based Moderna Therapeutics has received fast-track approval from the US FDA for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273. Days earlier, the FDA had given the company the green light to proceed to Phase-II testing of the vaccine which is expected to begin shortly. The company plans to launch the final stage of human testing, Phase-III, this summer. Read more here.


Will the outbreak make us more generous? Some delivery apps have noticed an increase in tips since the pandemic began. The increase could partly be due to larger grocery orders — or people hoping to ensure their orders are fulfilled. But there are cases of clear altruism, too, where people have given large tips to strangers without expecting anything in return. Across the US, virtual tip jars have been set to help service staff who are out of work, with many people pledging to send a tip whenever they make themselves a drink at home. Read more here.

Researchers look to blood antibodies as weapons in virus fight: Antibodies are emerging as weapons against coronavirus, not only in tests for past exposure to the infection but also as potential treatments. They have already been given to thousands of patients worldwide in the form of blood plasma donated by people who have recovered from the illness. Biotechnology and pharmaceuticals companies are working to create more sophisticated antibody medicines — some developed in animals — as confirmed virus cases worldwide cross 4.2 million. Read more to understand how antibodies work.

How to counter insomnia during pandemic: Studies have shown that we’re more stressed when faced with uncertainty than when faced with a definite negative outcome. And the uncertainty of our times now unsettles people in profound ways. Acknowledging the challenges is the first step to recovery. This is followed by conscious efforts to remedy the situation. The writer of this piece in Time recommends meditation and writing thoughts in a journal.


Reopening UK may be slower than you think, thanks to its PM: UK PM Boris Johnson was taking the coronavirus warning lightly. As Italy, France and Spain entered national lockdowns, he was still shaking hands with coronavirus patients in hospitals, and then joking about it on national television. Then he was hospitalised with an infection — and by the time he returned, both his attitude and his approach to the crisis were transformed. Listen to this podcast to understand why the country that was most sceptical of the virus may be the slowest to reopen.

Iranian medical workers suffered as government ignored virus alarm: While it's no secret that Iran has been one of the worst-hit nations in this coronavirus pandemic, some doctors and nurses say the government leaders are at fault in the crisis. In this AP exclusive, interviews with more than 30 medical professionals and a review of documents reveal Iran's disjointed response as the virus spread. The report says the government delayed telling the public about the virus for weeks, even as hospitals filled up with people suffering from symptoms.


Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff says US is weeks from returning to office work: Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said he hoped the US to be "weeks away" from a return to office work. He cited South Korea as a model moving forward, saying it was "way ahead of us in terms of the testing infrastructure”. Watch his interview here.

First Published: Wed, May 13 2020. 13:35 IST