Coronavirus measures reset from Spain to Israel; scientists warn of airborne spread


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In top stories today:

  • Authorities in countries including Spain, Australia, and Israel restarted or extended restrictions to halt an uptick in coronavirus cases. India overtook Russia on infections, while more than two hundred scientists urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to take the airborne spread of the virus more seriously.
  • Coronavirus cases worldwide rose at a record daily rate, increasing by 212,326 in twenty-four hours, CNBC reported on July 4, citing the WHO. North and South America led the increase with 129,772 of the cases tally, CNBC added. India and Bangladesh were hot spots in Southeast Asia, while Saudi Arabia and Pakistan were the hardest hit in the Eastern Mediterranean, CNBC said.
  • QUOTE: “[T]his virus [is] spreading across the states like a wildfire,” said Joshua Barocas, an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University and an infectious diseases physician at the Boston Medical Center, CNBC reported in a separate article. “We need people at all levels of government and society backing up one strategy.”
  • India overtook Russia to become the country with the third-highest level of coronavirus cases, behind the United States and Brazil, Reuters reported. In Switzerland, travelers on public transport must wear a mask from July 6. Infections topped 200,000 in Saudi Arabia and 50,000 in neighboring United Arab Emirates after the Arab world’s two largest economies lifted restrictions, the newswire added.
  • The border between New South Wales and Victoria, regions which include the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne respectively, will close from midnight on July 7 after Melbourne recorded two deaths and a record daily increase in coronavirus cases on July 6, The Associated Press reported.
  • QUOTE: “What is occurring in Victoria has not yet occurred anywhere else in Australia,” said New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian, The Associated Press reported. “It’s a new part of the pandemic and, as such, it requires a new type of response.”


  • Spain’s north-western region of Galicia re-imposed restrictions on the coastal district of A Marina after a local outbreak of coronavirus, the BBC reported. Only those traveling for work will be allowed in or out of the area of 70,000 people for five days from midnight on July 5, the BBC added. Meanwhile in Catalonia, the autonomous region that includes Barcelona, no-one can enter or leave Segrià, an area of 210,000 residents west of Barcelona that includes the city of Lleida, the broadcaster reported.
  • Israel decided to close bars, nightclubs, gyms, and event halls immediately so as to avoid re-imposing a wider lockdown following a spike in coronavirus infections, Reuters said, citing Israel Radio.
  • The coronavirus pandemic will scar the United States for years to come, The Washington Post reported, citing two studies. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis finds that people and businesses may not spend and invest as before, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development contends that people who experience a pandemic as young adults tend to be more distrustful of government for the rest of their lives, hampering efforts to respond to future pandemics, the newspaper said.
  • QUOTE: “The [US] federal government has failed to articulate a unified message for the country, as state governors have taken conflicting decisions on the length and strictness of their lockdowns,” Ferdinando Giugliano wrote on Bloomberg. “Meanwhile, in most European countries, the situation appears under control… The sacrifices of months of lockdown appear to be paying off for now.”


  • “World Economy That Took Elevator Down Faces Steep Stairs Back Up.” That’s a Bloomberg headline on fading hopes for a so-called V-shaped economic recovery as the world enters the second half of the year. Despite some improvement in manufacturing and retail sales in major economies, and as temporary jobs become permanent while a reopening of businesses is shaky at best, the world is still contending with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the newswire reported.  
  • Households’ increased savings levels built up during coronavirus lockdowns pose a dilemma to central bankers worldwide as they mull how much stimulus is necessary to encourage a return to growth, the Financial Times reported. It’s unclear whether the cash stash, as the newspaper puts it, shows pent-up demand to spend as restrictions are eased or a safety net to safeguard against uncertain times to come, the article added.
  • Bloomberg has a more optimistic take on the impact of consumers’ cash thanks to government support. Households in Europe will probably propel an economic rebound in the second half of the year as they spend money at shops, restaurants, and bars, so long as the region can avoid a second wave of coronavirus infections, the newswire reported. Italy may be the exception as a delay meant that most people who needed help didn’t get government support until June, and that may deter consumption this year, Bloomberg added.
  • Migrant workers are no longer able to send remittances home, billions of dollars that are key to developing countries’ economies, because of job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reported. From Polish farmhands in France to Filipino cruise-ship workers in the Caribbean, millions of workers sent a record $554 billion home last year; but that may decline by 20 percent this year according to the World Bank, the newspaper said.
  • UK food-to-go stores Pret A Manger plans to cut one thousand or more jobs and close thirty outlets as it contends with a steep drop in sales, the Financial Times reported. Sales are about 25 percent of pre-coronavirus levels and the company is using up about £20 million of cash each month, the newspaper said.
  • QUOTE: “The onset of lockdown forced companies to take quick decisions and accelerate pending changes,” Andrew Hill wrote in the Financial Times. “In the same way, as businesses enter a lengthier, but no less brutal, period of uncertainty, their owners, directors, and executives are unlocking strategic changes that might otherwise have become bogged down by sentiment or inertia.”
  • READ MORE: “The specific events of the year’s first six months might have taken us by surprise⁠—but the political-economic dynamics that have shaped South Asia’s response to these new challenges did not,” writes the Atlantic Council’s Irfan Nooruddin.Across the region democracy and freedom of expression are challenged, and protectionist impulses are indulged in flailing response to calamitous economic strife.”


  • Over two hundred scientists from more than thirty countries have urged WHO to take the possible airborne spread of coronavirus more seriously as cases rise worldwide, including a surge in the United States, The Washington Post reported. The 239 scientists that are signatories to the paper, “It is Time to Address Airborne Transmission of Covid-19,” cite growing evidence that the virus can spread indoors via aerosols that linger in the air, the newspaper added.
  • A gigantic scientific effort since January to design 1,200 clinical trials to test the treatment and prevention of coronavirus has been marked by disorganization and disorder, leading to a huge waste of money, news service Stat reported in analysis carried out in partnership with Applied XL, a Newlab Venture Studio company. One in six trials focused on malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, since found to provide no benefit to hospitalized patients, Stat said.
  • European Union Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides is scheduled to hold talks with Gilead Sciences on July 6 to reach an agreement on access to its antiviral drug remdesivir to treat coronavirus, Bloomberg reported, citing an unidentified person with knowledge of the plan. That follows a US deal last week to buy almost all of Gilead’s supply of the drug in the coming months, the newswire added.
  • The Indian Academy of Sciences has said that a deadline of August 15, India’s Independence Day, for the launch of a coronavirus vaccine is unrealistic, the BBC reported. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had said it “envisaged” the shot to be ready by that date but has since added that mid-August was not a deadline, the broadcaster added.
  • QUOTE: “[A]ny hasty solution… may compromise rigorous scientific processes and standards,” the BBC quoted the Indian Academy of Sciences warned against as saying.


  • The strain of coronavirus spreading in South Korea probably originated in Europe and the United States rather than China, The Washington Post reported, citing the Korea Herald. A strain linked to outbreaks in Europe and the Americas was more contagious than the one at the center of the outbreak in East Asia, researchers have speculated since at least May, the newspaper added.
  • QUOTE: “We had many arrivals from Europe and the US in March and April, and the virus imported then is now driving community transmissions,” Jeong Eun-Kyeong, head of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters, The Washington Post said.
  • Scientists in the United Kingdom, Germany, China, and the United States are pushing a promising but unproven generation of vaccine technologies in the urgent search for a coronavirus vaccine, The Washington Post reported. Never approved for use, the approach uses a tiny amount of genetic code called messenger RNA to trigger the immune system, prompting some researchers to plan to prepare tens of millions of doses by the end of this year, the newspaper said.
  • Security agencies in Egypt have tried to stifle criticism of the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak there, The Associated Press reported, citing rights groups. At least ten doctors and six journalists have been arrested since the outbreak started in February, the news service said. One foreign correspondent has left Egypt and two more have been reprimanded, The Associated Press added.
  • Tony-nominated Broadway star Nick Cordero has died from coronavirus aged 41, The Washington Post reported. The Canadian actor reportedly had no underlying health issues but he developed blood clots after being put on a ventilator, and then doctors had to amputate his right leg, the newspaper said. Cordero went into hospital in late March and spent six weeks in a medically-induced coma, the Post said.