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World coronavirus dispatch: Protesters weigh Covid risks on crowded streets

The protests against police brutality and that have spread across the US have spurred fears that they could result in a resurgence of the virus. Concerns have forced people sympathetic to the movement to weigh the risks of attending demonstrations, where there is often little social distancing. Health experts know that the virus is far less likely to be spread outdoors than indoors. And masks reduce the chances of respiratory droplets containing the virus being transmitted. But yelling, shouting and singing can increase how far those droplets are projected. Crowds also increase the risk of transmission. Read more here

Let’s look at the global statistics:

  • Total confirmed cases: 6,382,951
  • Change over previous day: 112,193
  • Total deaths: 380,318
  • Total recovered: 2,731,340
  • Nations hit with most cases: The US (1,831,821), Brazil (555,383), Russia (423,186), the UK (279,392) and Spain (239,932).

Source: Johns Hopkins Research Center

South Korea announces $29 billion third stimulus: South Korea on Wednesday unveiled a 35.3-trillion-won ($28.8 billion) supplementary budget, to raise the total stimulus to 270 trillion won for the economy. The latest budget aims to direct more spending on protecting jobs, development of a vaccine, and to provide discount coupons to boost consumption. Read more here

UK plans 14-day quarantine for those coming from abroad: The UK will on Wednesday publish details of its plan to impose a 14-day quarantine on all those coming from abroad. The move is unpopular with travel companies, as it’s likely to stop any from visiting Britain and will mean few people wanting to travel abroad. Read more here

Worst may be over for Arab economies: Following a pandemic-driven plunge, non-oil private sector activity improved in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, according to IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index. The gauge in each country still remained below the threshold of 50 that separates growth from contraction. Read more here

Instant noodle maker Nissin to sell fresh vegetables: Nissin Foods, known to have invented instant noodles, plans to sell packaged freshly cut vegetables, as Asian consumers are eating more meals at home amid the pandemic. The pandemic has recast the way people shop, buy and consume, forcing companies to adapt. Read more here

Australia officially in recession: Australia’s economy contracted in the first three months of the year, setting up an end to the nearly 29-year run without a recession. The official figures showed the economy contracted 0.3 per cent in the March quarter because of the pandemic-related shutdown. Read more here

Germany to decide on new stimulus package: The fiscal stimulus fund, coming on top of an unprecedented $837-billion rescue package agreed in March, will include measures worth up to $112 billion, according to Reuters sources.

The package is meant to help companies and employees rebound more quickly from the pandemic. Read more here

New cases in Mainland China: China reported one new coronavirus case and four new asymptomatic Covid-19 cases in the mainland on June 2. Mainland China had five confirmed cases a day before. Total number of infections to date in the mainland stands at 83,021. The death toll remained unchanged at 4,634. Read more here

In US, freshly minted cadets tested positive of coronavirus: At least 15 of the graduating cadets who returned to West Point ahead of President Donald Trump’s commencement speech in June tested positive for the coronavirus and were immediately isolated, according to a US Army spokeswoman. Read more here


In US, looting devastates businesses already shaken by virus: Along with big chain stores like Target, Walgreen and Macy’s, independent retailers in neighborhoods and downtown sections were targets of vandals and looters who struck as police mobilised to contain large demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Many businesses were closed since March. Now, already facing an uncertain future amid ongoing restrictions related to the virus, owners must figure out how to rebuild or relocate their companies. Read more here

Monkeys, ferrets and other animals offer clues in the global race for Covid-19 vaccine: How much must the shots rev up someone’s immune system to really work? And could revving it the wrong way cause harm? Even as companies recruit tens of thousands of people for larger vaccine studies this summer, scientists still are testing ferrets, monkeys and other animals behind the scenes in hopes of clues to those basic questions — steps that in a pre-pandemic era would have been finished first. Read more here

Data centre stocks surge as world shelters online: The warehouses owned by US group Equinix, which together with rival Digital Realty dominates the global business of data centres, host computing and storage systems to enable the delivery of web services. Both are big winners on the stock market this year, as the Covid-19 crisis has shifted more economic activity online. The companies’ combined market value has jumped by a fifth since January, to more than $100 billion, while the S&P 500 benchmark of US blue-chips has dropped 5 per cent. Read more here

Backlash in China after front-line doctor dies: The death of a front-line doctor in central China is provoking a backlash against the authorities’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Dr Hu Weifeng passed away on June 2, after a four-month fight with Covid-19. He made headlines in March when his skin turned black “due to liver dysfunction” during his treatment. The exact cause of his death has not been made public but the news has triggered an outpouring of anger on Chinese social media sites. Read more here

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