News Headlines - 11 April 2020

Taiwan Rejects WHO Claim of Racist Campaign Against Tedros - Bloomberg

Taiwan hit back at the head of the World Health Organization as a dispute over the self-ruled island’s exclusion from the body threatened to overshadow efforts to rein in the spread of the coronavirus.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry demanded an apology for what it called unnecessary and slanderous comments from WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Tedros, who is Ethiopian, had earlier accused Taiwan of being behind a racist campaign against him and Africans in general.

Mast fire probe amid 5G coronavirus claims - BBC News

Mobile phone mast fires are being investigated amid conspiracy theories claiming a link between 5G and coronavirus.
There have been fires at masts in Birmingham, Liverpool and Melling in Merseyside.
A video, allegedly of the blaze in Aigburth, was shared on YouTube and Facebook, claiming a link between the mobile technology and Covid-19.

Coronavirus Contact Tracing: Apple and Google Team Up to Enable Virus Tracking - The New York Times

In one of the most far-ranging attempts to halt the spread of the coronavirus, Apple and Google said they were building software into smartphones that would tell people if they were recently in contact with someone who was infected with it.
The technology giants said they were teaming up to release the tool within several months, building it into the operating systems of the billions of iPhones and Android devices around the world. That would enable the smartphones to constantly log other devices they come near, enabling what is known as “contact tracing” of the disease. People would opt in to use the tool and voluntarily report if they became infected.
The unlikely partnership between Google and Apple, fierce rivals who rarely pass up an opportunity to criticize each other, underscores the seriousness of the health crisis and the power of the two companies whose software runs almost every smartphone in the world. Apple and Google said their joint effort came together in just the last two weeks.

Coronavirus is the greatest global science policy failure in a generation | The Guardian

We knew this was coming. In her 1994 warning to the world, The Coming Plague, Laurie Garrett concluded: “While the human race battles itself, fighting over ever more crowded turf and scarcer resources, the advantage moves to the microbes’ court. They are our predators and they will be victorious if we, Homo sapiens, do not learn how to live in a rational global village that affords the microbes few opportunities.”
If you think her language hyperbolic, consider the more sober analysis from the US Institute of Medicine in 2004. It evaluated the lessons of the 2003 Sars outbreak, quoting Goethe: “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” It concluded that “the rapid containment of Sars is a success in public health, but also a warning … If Sars reoccurs … health systems worldwide will be put under extreme pressure … Continued vigilance is vital.”
Ian Boyd, a former chief scientific adviser to the UK government between 2012 and 2019, recently recalled “a practice run for an influenza pandemic in which about 200,000 people died. It left me shattered.” But did the experience trigger government action? “We learnt what would help, but did not necessarily implement those lessons,” Boyd said.

EU finance chiefs agree on €540 billion virus rescue package | The Japan Times

European Union finance ministers agreed on a €540 billion ($590 billion) package of measures to combat the economic fallout of the global pandemic.
In an emergency teleconference on Thursday, they approved a plan to stave off what’s expected to be a recession of unprecedented size, drawing a round of applause from the participating officials.
It includes a joint employment insurance fund worth €100 billion, a European Investment Bank instrument intended to supply €200 billion of liquidity to companies, as well as credit lines of up to €240 billion from the European Stability Mechanism — the euro area’s bailout fund — to backstop states as they go on a spending spree to help economies back on their feet.







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