Brazil, India, and US cases rise; silver mist on subways may deter virus in Tokyo


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In top stories today:

  • Coronavirus cases continued to increase in Brazil, India, and the United States, as cases worldwide now top 12 million. Authorities worldwide took measures from face-mask orders to the mandatory spraying of Tokyo subway trains with a fine mist of virus-deterring silver and limits to students’ return to school.
  • Record spikes in new coronavirus cases in Hong Kong and China are fueling concerns about a possible second wave of infections in Asia, coming just days after Australian city Melbourne had to impose a second citywide lockdown, Bloomberg reported. Still, Beijing recorded no new cases for the third day in a row as the Chinese capital curbs the spread of the disease, reported Reuters.
  • As the outbreak worsens in the United States, New Jersey set a tough order on coronavirus face masks and New York City plans to allow students back to public schools for just two or three days a week, Reuters reported. New cases in the United States reached a daily global record, led by states in the south and west, the news agency reported.
  • QUOTE: “This community has got to do something to change the direction of the virus,” said David Persse, Houston’s chief public health doctor, The Washington Post reported. “Despite all the good work of the hospitals, they’re going to get overrun if we don’t do something to slow down the virus.”
  • Catalonia, the autonomous region of Spain that includes Barcelona, has made wearing masks compulsory for those over the age of five after a surge in new cases of coronavirus, the BBC said. Those caught without a mask, even if social distancing is possible, will be fined one hundred euros, the BBC added.
  • QUOTE: “Abandonment of common sense during the pandemic has damaged the US and UK national brands,” Edward Luce wrote in the Financial Times. “America and Britain’s poor response to Covid-19 can partly be traced to post-cold war self-congratulation—the belief that neither had much to learn from the rest of the world.”
  • READ MORE: “If Germany achieves a breakthrough on even one of the big-ticket items of its presidency [of the European Union], it is despite the chancellor and its political elites’ legacy of European policy over the last decade,” writes the Atlantic Council’s Jörn Fleck. “Those betting wisely would do best to lower expectations for a Germany that has yet to have a moment of truth with itself about its role in Europe and the world.”


  • The UK government set out as much as $38 billion of measures in a second phase of stimulus measures as the country eases lockdown restrictions, a move that other rich economies are also mulling as they try to stem the economic impact of the pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reported. Millions of jobs in some of the country’s most affected sectors are still at risk, the Financial Times cited business leaders and labor unions as saying.
  • QUOTE: “We need people feeling confident,” Rishi Sunak, the UK’s finance minister, told lawmakers on July 8, the Journal reported. “That will drive growth,” he said. “That will create jobs.”
  • UK pharmacy chain Boots and department-store operator John Lewis are cutting more than 5,000 jobs, the latest hit to the retail sector amid the coronavirus pandemic, Sky News reported. Boots plans to cut 4,000 workers, about 7 percent of total headcount, and John Lewis will close eight of its stores permanently, putting 1,300 posts at risk, Sky added.
  • QUOTE: “I have been to five or six interviews in person during the last two months, but it is more like a casting because there are so many people,” said Dunia Skaunicova, 24, who speaks Czech, English, and French and is looking for a job as a marketing manager having graduated in media marketing from Metropolitan University Prague, Reuters reported.
  • US universities Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are suing the Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) over a decision to pull visas from overseas students whose courses have moved fully online during the coronavirus outbreak, the BBC reported.
  • QUOTE: “We believe that the ICE order is bad public policy, and we believe that it is illegal,” said Harvard President Lawrence Bacow, the BBC reported.
  • “Covid-19 Is Bankrupting American Companies at a Relentless Pace” runs a headline on Bloomberg, which cites examples from retailers to airlines and restaurants, with most of those affected being small- and medium-sized companies. More than 110 companies have declared bankruptcy in the United States so far this year, blaming the pandemic in part, the newswire added.


  • “Bolsonaro bets ‘miraculous cure’ for COVID-19 can save Brazil—and his life” runs the headline to a special report by Reuters. Bolsonaro, who this week tested positive, has pushed his government to make hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug he’s taking as a treatment, widely available to Brazilians as a preventative measure too, the news agency said. His illness, Reuters said, is a powerful symbol of his administration’s botched efforts at controlling the outbreak, which has claimed 68,000 lives in Brazil.
  • QUOTE: “I trust hydroxychloroquine,” Bolsonaro said, smiling, in a video of himself taking what he said was his third dose, reported The Associated Press, describing the treatment as dubious. “And you?”
  • Tokyo Metro, the Japanese capital’s main subway operator, has started spraying its nearly 3,000 cars with a very fine layer of a silver-based compound, taking advantage of the metal’s anti-antimicrobial properties to repel the virus from surfaces on the world’s busiest subway, Reuters reported.
  • United Airlines is warning about 36,000 frontline staff, more than a third of the carrier’s headcount, about possible furloughs as the pandemic continues to roil travel demand, CNBC said. Airlines cannot furlough or lay off workers before October 1 under the terms of $24 billion in federal aid; under federal law employers need to give workers sixty days’ notice of potential furloughs or layoffs, CNBC added.
  • Greece is ready to restart public and travel restrictions next week if necessary because safety guidelines around coronavirus are often ignored, The Associated Press said, citing Stelios Petsas, the government spokesman. Authorities are “determined to protect the majority from the frivolous few,” Petsas said, the news agency reported.
  • Norwegian and Royal Caribbean, two of the world’s largest cruise-line operators, warned of a “severe blow” to their financial performance if social-distancing rules are imposed that cut the number of passengers aboard, the Financial Times reported.
  • QUOTE: “One of the hallmarks of the cruise industry is that we always sail with full ships,” said Frank Del Rio, chief executive of Norwegian Cruise Line, the Financial Times reported. “It’s one of the basic tenets of our business model.”


  • The United Kingdom hosts a virtual summit on July 9 about the plight of thousands of seafarers stuck at sea, Quartz said in its daily email to readers. Other sailors are unable to begin duty because they are not exempt as key workers under global travel restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus epidemic, Quartz said.
  • Rolls-Royce, which makes engines for Airbus 350 and Boeing 787 airliners, burned through three billion pounds in the first half of the year as the number of hours flown by its engines halved because of the pandemic, Reuters reported. The UK company expects to spend a further 1 billion pounds in the second half, the newswire added.  Flying hours fell by 75 percent in April, May, and June, Reuters said.
  • Mexico and Argentina both posted a record daily increase in coronavirus cases on July 8, rising by 6,995 and 3,604 respectively, the BBC reported. The spread is “slowing down,” insisted Mexico’s Deputy Health Minister, Hugo López-Gatell, the broadcaster added.
  • From Sierra Leone to the Ivory Coast and Kenya, doctors in Africa are pushing back against the risks they are exposed to during the pandemic, Bloomberg Businessweek reported, citing demands for “hazard pay,” calls for protective equipment, and threats of labor strikes. Meanwhile in Nigeria, authorities reversed a decision to re-open schools because the number of coronavirus cases is still rising, the BBC reported. Reuters runs a story about the risk of coronavirus infections in the continent’s crowded prisons.
  • India recorded nearly 25,000 new cases in the past 24 hours, led by the states of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, the BBC said. Testing has increased significantly in recent weeks but still lags behind the capacity of other countries, prompting concern that the real level of infections could be far higher, the BBC reported.
  • The US Departments of Justice and Homeland Security proposed a new set of rules on July 8 that would block applications from asylum seekers if they come from or pass through a country that has a large-scale contagious disease such as coronavirus, The Wall Street Journal reported.