• This daily round-up 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 headlines: Employment in Spain grows for the first time during COVID-19; Brazil forecast to reach 1 million cases in next few weeks: study; One-third of small businesses surveyed in India are say they're shutting their doors.

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 affecting the globe

Number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in the last seven days by country, territory or area, 27 May to 02 June*
Number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in the last seven days by country, territory or area, 27 May to 02 June*
Image: World Health Organization

A cyber pandemic is as inevitable as a future disease pandemic, writes Nicholas Davis, a professor at the Thunderbird School of Global Management and Visiting Professor in Cybersecurity. The vulnerabilities are varied and businesses and workers should keep the following in mind:

  • A cyberattack with characteristics similar to the coronavirus would spread faster and further than any biological virus.
  • The economic impact of a widespread digital shutdown would be of the same magnitude – or greater – than what we’re currently seeing.
  • Recovery from the widespread destruction of digital systems would be extremely challenging. [Replacing 5% of the world’s connected devices would require around 71 million new devices.]

A new analysis from the Lancet explains that two-metre social distancing can halve the risk of infection from coronavirus. Researchers reviewed studies in more than 170 countries and leveraged statistical analysis and modeling to better understand the potential risk to infection. According to the review, infection risk can rise around 3% when people are one meter away from each other and around 13% when people stand closer than one meter. The insights help to give clarity regarding distance guidelines, which currently vary by country and agency.

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, shared the company’s plan to return its workforce to its offices, reported Tech Crunch this week.

Some offices will open 6 July and a small number of staffers who need a physical workspace will have “the opportunity to return on a limited, rotating basis.” Employees will rotate in and out to ensure facilities are only around 10% occupancy.

If these efforts are successful, the share of workers in offices could increase to 30% by September, wrote Pichai in a blog post.

A special workbook released this week can help you help yourself and others during COVID-19. The free booklet - Basic Psychosocial Skills: A Guide for COVID-19 Responders - is packed with tips, worksheets and things to say during difficult moments and links to other resources, and was informed by more 200 recovered patients as well as emergency responders in 24 countries. While designed for a range of workers, the tips can help anyone look after their own well-being and that of others. Here are a few resources listed in the book:

This unique guide was developed by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Reference Group, a unique collaboration of United Nations agencies
This unique guide was developed by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Reference Group, a unique collaboration of United Nations agencies
Image: This