- This daily roundup brings you a selection of the latest news updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
- Today's top stories: US saw record layoffs in March; Track the progress toward a vaccine.
What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?
Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.
Since its launch on 11 March, the Forum’s COVID Action Platform has brought together 1,667 stakeholders from 1,106 businesses and organizations to mitigate the risk and impact of the unprecedented global health emergency that is COVID-19.
The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.
As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.
1. How COVID-19 is impacting the globe
- Confirmed coronavirus cases are at 4.54 million worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 307,000 people have died from the virus, while over 1.6 million have recovered.
- In the US, 11.4 million people were laid off in March - a record number.
- Spain extends international traveller restrictions.
- New Zealand debt could double over the next 3 years.
- Those who talk loudly could leave droplets that stay in the air for 14 minutes.
- India's cases surpass China's, but slow overall.
Iceland will reopen its borders to tourists by June 15, according to an by Insider. Travellers will receive free COVID-19 tests upon arrival at the airport. Any who test positive will be forced to self-isolate for 14 days. Those with negative test results or who can produce other health documentation will be free to continue their travels in the country.
"I believe that if everything goes well, we should see some tourists here this summer," Bjarnheiour Hallsdottir, the chair of the Icelandic Travel Industry Association, told RUV. "For those who want to come, this will be a very real possibility."
3. Track the progress toward a COVID-19 vaccine
Researchers from around the globe are racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine in record time. Health site StatNews has developed a tracker to monitor the progress of each of these efforts, as well as treatments for the disease, and help anyone understand the vast array of efforts under way.
Two nationwide surveys from China revealed new findings regarding COVID-19's impact on mental health. According to a study released this week, the pandemic's onset fueled a 74% drop in overall emotional well-being. The shift was more noticeable for those living near an outbreak epicentre or in vulnerable groups such as the elderly.
Those who believed themselves more informed about the virus reported feeling happier during the outbreak than those who felt less knowledgeable. "People's perceptions about themselves are often more potent in influencing their emotional well-being than the corresponding objective aspects," said Haiyang Yang, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and a co-author of the study.
Gaming and esports got a huge boost from the coronavirus lockdown. This week's podcast checks in with esports pioneeer Mike Sepso on how gaming's role is transforming under COVID-19 and why he thinks it could even replace some physical sports.
Find all previous episodes of World Vs Virus here.
6. Streets of London to ban cars
Cars will be banished from miles of streets in central London to encourage more walking and cycling and help public transport cope with social distancing restrictions.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said central London would become one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city.
“COVID-19 poses the biggest challenge to London’s public transport network in TfL’s (Transport for London) history,” he said.
“It will take a monumental effort from all Londoners to maintain safe social distancing on public transport as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased.”
7. Italy to reopen from 3 June
Italy - one of the worst-hit countries in Europe - will reopen shops on 18 May, and people will also be able to travel within their own regions from then. A complete lifting of the travel ban will happen on 3 June - allowing anyone to travel around, or beyond, the country.