Virus wreaks economic havoc, cases top 17 million

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The scale of economic devastation from the pandemic was laid bare on Thursday as Western economies recorded historic slumps, just as resurgent caseloads forced many countries into agonizing new trade-offs between health and financial stability.

Six months after the World Health Organization declared a global emergency, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 17 million people worldwide.

The WHO warned Thursday that young people are “not invincible” and were helping to drive resurgences in many places that had largely curbed the disease.

“Spikes of cases in some countries are being driven in part by younger people letting down their guard during the northern hemisphere summer,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

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Source: Asia Times

EU tries to save aid plan as global deaths surge

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EU leaders will resume their fractious summit on Monday to save an US$860 billion coronavirus aid plan, hoping to offset some of the economic destruction unleashed worldwide by the pandemic.

The disease has killed more than 600,000 people globally out of nearly 14.5 million known infections, and with new clusters across the planet, alarm is growing about the virus spreading out of control.

Europe remains the worst-hit continent, with more than 200,000 deaths, but there is bitter dispute among European Union leaders on how to help its worst-hit – and most indebted – members such as Italy and Spain.

“Are the 27 leaders, responsible for the people of Europe, capable of building European unity and trust?” EU Council President Charles Michel asked the attending leaders, reminding them of the human cost of the crisis.

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Source: Asia Times

Risk Management Concern Rising at Ports as COVID Disruption Grows

The spread of COVID-19, and the economic and trade disruption the pandemic has caused, is prompting port managers to examine new ways to improve risk management and digital processes, according to a new survey by Remy InfoSource. TheThe 2020 iSpec Ports Industry Survey was undertaken during the height of worldwide economic lockdowns in the second quarter of 2020

It revealed that more than half (51%) of port executive respondents now identify risk management as the key area they would like to improve on in the future, up from 32% in the previous iteration of the iSpec Ports Industry Survey in 2018.

In 2018 the top two areas for improvements noted by ports and terminal executives were ‘shorter lead times’ and ‘more standardization’.

‘Risk management’ was also the leading reason pinpointed by respondents when asked to identify the most problematic issues they encounter when managing complex outsourced projects,”  said Pieter Boshoff, CEO of Remy InfoSource. ” In the 2018 iSpec Ports Industry Survey ‘tracking project compliance and delivery’ was the most problematic area identified by respondents.“I think it’s no surprise that in such an uncertain world the importance of risk management has increased dramatically.

“Disruption to supply chains has increased across the globe causing operational and investment uncertainty and, with social distancing rules, also changing the way we all conduct our business.

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Source: Material Handling & Logistics

The extra mile: preparing a supply chain for a Covid-19 vaccine

COVID-19 has placed huge stress on the global population, both emotionally and financially. In the UK alone, official figures suggest we are approaching 50,000 deaths1 as a result of the virus. Dealing with such a tragic loss of life has been difficult for individuals and governments alike.

To effectively deal with COVID-19, much hope has been placed on creating a vaccine, which could significantly slow the spread of the virus. On average, it takes more than 10 years to bring a vaccine to the international market. However, during the times of desperate need we find ourselves in now, the process can be accelerated to a matter of months.2 In the UK, there have been suggestions that a vaccine could be ready for 30 million Britons by September.3

However, while the creation of a vaccine will clearly be momentous, it is not the final step. While AstraZeneca says it will be able to supply two billion doses4 of the vaccine when it is ready, providing a vaccine both nationally and internationally presents a whole other challenge in itself. It is, however, a challenge we can prepare for.

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Source: EPR

WHO says the virus is still ‘accelerating’

Global coronavirus infections topped nine million as the World Health Organization warned the pandemic was accelerating and Saudi Arabia announced it would scale back the hajj Islamic pilgrimage next month.

Europe has steadily eased its travel lockdowns in recent weeks, and France on Monday took its biggest step back to normality by allowing millions of children to return to school.

But many parts of the world, including Latin America and South Asia, are only beginning to feel the full force of the pandemic, while other regions are being hit with second waves.

“The pandemic is still accelerating,” the WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual health forum organized in the United Arab Emirates.

Tedros said the greatest threat was not the virus itself, which has now killed more than 470,000 people, but “the lack of global solidarity and global leadership.”

“We cannot defeat this pandemic with a divided world,” he said. “The politicization of the pandemic has exacerbated it.”

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is one of the leaders to have repeatedly played down the threat, comparing the virus to a “little flu” and arguing the economic impact of shutdowns is worse than the virus itself.

More than 50,000 people have been confirmed to have died from the virus in Brazil, with the true number believed to be far higher.

Brazil’s official death toll is second only to the United States, which has recorded 120,000 fatalities, and President Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis has been widely criticized as erratic and chaotic.

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Source: Asia Times